Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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Breathing Underwater by Sarah Allen - Book Tour + Giveaway

Breathing Underwater
Sarah Allen
(Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR))
Publication date: March 31st 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Middle-Grade

Breathing Underwater is a sparkly, moving middle grade novel from Sarah Allen, and a big-hearted exploration of sisterhood, dreams, and what it means to be there for someone you love.

Olivia is on the road trip of her dreams, with her trusty camera and her big sister Ruth by her side. Three years ago, before their family moved from California to Tennessee, Olivia and Ruth buried a time capsule on their favorite beach. Now, they’re taking an RV back across the country to uncover the memories they left behind. But Ruth’s depression has been getting worse, so Olivia has created a plan to help her remember how life used to be: a makeshift scavenger hunt across the country, like pirates hunting for treasure, taking pictures and making memories along the way.

All she wants is to take the picture that makes her sister smile. But what if things can never go back to how they used to be? What if they never find the treasure they’re seeking? Through all the questions, loving her sister, not changing her, is all Olivia can do—and maybe it’s enough.

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Excerpt
My sister’s bladder is the size of a pea. Or something, because we’ve only been on the road for a couple hours, but she’s already been in the tiny RV bathroom for almost twenty minutes.

I’m starting to get worried. I always get nervous when she spends too much time cooped up like that. Alone. It’s not usually a good sign. 

Finally Ruth steps out of the tiny bathroom and the door claps shut behind her. She tosses her phone onto her bed like she’s mad at it and then collapses onto the bed herself and pulls out her notebook and pen.

I’ve stayed curled up in my loft. I watch my sister from behind the cover of one of my National Geographic magazines. My stomach churns and clenches like it always does when Ruth is mad.

Mad, though, is sometimes better than the alternative. Mad at least means she’s there inside, that she’s feeling things and functioning okay, and that her medication is allowing her to process feelings, feelings like anger or frustration. Without the medication, it becomes too much.

I know Ruth packed the medication she takes for her depression, because I checked when she wasn’t looking. Not that I expected her to leave it behind, accidentally or on purpose. But you just can’t be too careful. 

One of the worst parts about depression is that it’s not like an outside illness, where you can see the broken bone or the red swollen nose. It’s an inside illness where you have to know the subtle signs.

Which is why I’m not super-thrilled about her spending so much time alone in the bathroom. I clutch my stuffed whale to me. I’ve learned to pay close attention to any of Ruth’s signs that I can see because the last thing I want to be is clueless. If I don’t pay attention, I might hurt Ruth in a way I don’t mean to. 

Maybe a distraction will help. “It is absolutely the most perfect summer day!” I call down.

“Shut up,” Ruth says.

“Hey,” Eddie calls from the driver’s seat. “Let’s everybody be nice. 

Ruth grips the sleeve of her hoodie in one hand and rolls her eyes. She plugs in her earbuds and twirls her finger around her iPod.

Even though it’s the first day of what should be the most incredible trip ever, today is turning into one of Ruth’s bad days. There are normal bad days, and then there are really bad days. The really bad days are when Ruth falls into what I call The Pit. I know the difference between a normal bad day and The Pit. I know the difference, because I know the signs. At least, some of the visible ones, I hope.

 

Author Bio:

Sarah Allen has been published in The Evansville Review, Allegory, and on WritersDigest. She has an MFA from Brigham Young University. Like Libby in her novel What Stars are Made Of, Allen was born with Turner Syndrome.

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2 comments:

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