Middle Grade Reviews

Review: Boy Underwater by Adam Baron

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Synopsis:

Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming. He’s never known why, but he thinks it has something to do with his Dad. The one who died when he was small.

Then an incident during a school swimming triggers Mum’s depression and makes Cymbeline question what happened. What is the real reason he has never, ever been swimming? Together with his friends Cymbeline pieces together the clues and goes in search of the truth.

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Review:

 A heartwarming mystery about grief and honesty. This reminded me of My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece by Anabel Pitcher. Both stories are about the parents as equally as they are about the children, both are humorous and both stories feature young protagonists with captivating voices.

You will laugh as much as cry. Cymbeline (‘yes really’) tells it like it is. The story captures the child’s worldview perfectly, from the characters at school to the way he maps the local area by places he has been to for parties and clubs. I love the part where is out after dark and he realises he is the only child outside. Suddenly everybody and everything looks a bit creepy and it brings back memories of being exactly the same age.

One of the big themes is about the importance of being honest about difficult subjects. Children are born with a radar for unsaid words. Not explaining something properly leaves children to fill the gaps for themselves, and this can be more frightening than knowing the truth. The story shows how children pick up on the smallest clues.  

The other storyline I loved was about Cym’s aunt and uncle. They have more money than Cym’s Mum, and they beahve as if they are in a different league to other people. The books pokes gentle fun at them while showing that they aren’t particularly happy. The story concludes that making money is well and good, but treating other people with courtesy is more important. 

A lovely book for raising empathy, for PTSD-awareness and for thinking about how we relate to other people. Cym is the sort of character who stays in your head. I have a sneaking suspicion I will read this one again.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour –

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Thanks to Laura Smythe PR for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Opinions my own.

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