Goodreads Summary:A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery of Hollow Places
In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.
That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so long.
With her signature stunning writing, Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery of Hollow Places, has crafted a story of first love and of the complex ways in which the deepest parts of us are hidden, even from ourselves.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Like Water is a tragically beautiful story about family, love and identity that is guaranteed to make you feel a multitude of emotions.
There are many things I love about this book but one of them is the fact that it’s not a story like we typically get in Young Adult literature. Savannah Espinoza isn’t like most Young Adult characters who are graduating from high school In so many books college after high school is just a given but Savannah doesn’t have that privilege and must stay behind in her home town in order to help take care of her father who has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. While she is frustrated that she must stay in a town she had always hoped to escape, and this frustration is a key plot point, i think that’s it’s important to have characters like Savannah. Characters whose future doesn’t always go according to plan, character who must choose between themselves and others. The future isn’t always simple and I loved how Like Water showed us that.
Identity plays such an important part in this book. Savanna is Mexican and throughout the book, she speaks Spanish with both her parents and one thing that I found interesting was that they didn’t provide a translation. While this may be frustrating for some readers, none of these conversations were key plot points and I think that this would mean a lot for teens who do speak Spanish and rarely see their identity represented. We also have Savanna trying to figure out her sexuality as the novel progresses and it was nice to see a character who isn’t 100% sure about their sexuality and an another important plot point for many teens.
Savanna’s relationship with Leigh is very complicated and yet another part of the story that is very realistic. At first I wasn’t a huge fan of Leigh and found her to be kind of spoiled and bratty but she really grew as a character. While I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of her decisions, I understand why she made them. The thing that I loved the most about Like Water was that it was true to life. Life and people are messy and complicated but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. We need books that don’t romanticize everything and yet still manage to show the beauty that surrounds us. We need more books like Like Water.