Book Review– Surfacing by Nora Raleigh Baskin


This is the fourteenth book from my 200 Book Reading Challenge.

Picture Source:
Picture Source:

Surfacing by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Published March 12, 2013

A lyrical and deeply moving portrait of grief, blame, and forgiveness, and of finding the courage to confront your ghosts — one truth at a time.

As soon as she was under, Maggie heard the quiet, though every sound was amplified in her ears and in her brain . . . Sound, like shame, travels four times faster under the water.

Though only a sophomore, Maggie Paris is a star on the varsity swim team, but she also has an uncanny, almost magical ability to draw out people’s deepest truths, even when they don’t intend to share them. It’s reached a point where most of her classmates, all but her steadfast best friend, now avoid her, and she’s taken to giving herself away every chance she gets to an unavailable — and ungrateful — popular boy from the wrestling team, just to prove she still exists. Even Maggie’s parents, who are busy avoiding each other and the secret deep at the heart of their devastated family, seem wary of her. Is there such a thing as too much truth?


***The following review may contain slight spoilers. Read with caution***

Many thanks to Candlewick Press for giving me the chance to read and review this from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Surfacing caught my eye because of the swimming aspect. See, I am deathly afraid of deep water and drowning. I just taught myself how to swim a year ago, and I’m still not 100% comfortable in the water. Yet the water still fascinates me. People who can swim without fear especially interest me.

This book had a lot of potential, but it fell short for me because of the main character. I didn’t hate her, but I also didn’t like her. I didn’t even feel like I knew her too well after the book was over. Even though Maggie has an interesting past, it felt like the author was somehow keeping me at a distance. She felt one-dimensional, which is sad because I could see the potential for this character.

I didn’t understand her motives, especially when it came to boys. I also felt a little lost about her “gift” at times and why exactly it would result in her losing friends. I did enjoy hearing about her life as a swimmer–it’s a POV I’ve always wanted to read from.

Maggie’s older sister, Leah, also makes a few appearances with her own POV chapters even though she drowned several years ago. I didn’t particularly care for these chapters, especially because they were written in first person while Maggie’s were in third. I’m still unsure of what reading from Leah’s perspective was supposed to add to the story.

I liked Maggie’s best friend and her sweet love interest, but they also didn’t feel as developed as I would have liked them to be. I was able to relate to the relationships between Maggie and her family, however. That felt very real.

The writing itself was beautiful and easy to read, but there were times where I had to re-read certain passages because I didn’t always understand what was going on.

It had potential. If the characters had been a bit more developed, I would have liked this much better.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Candlewick Press) for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.




Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s