Hiding secrets and scars, Chelsea Walter
Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Underwater, by Helen Vivienne Fletcher, is an interesting read, but definitely not what I expected when I first found the book. This book is set from Bailey’s – the main protagonist’s – point of view and shows her experience at Pine Hills Resort. Pine Hills Resort – which is somewhere in New Zealand – is described as not being the kind of place where anyone can keep anything hidden at all. This is worrying for Bailey, because she has a lot of secrets and a lot of scars, all of which she’d like to keep hidden.
When I first read the blurb I was fascinated, I mean, who wouldn’t be when they are promised a book with a lot of secrets and sinister truths? Sadly, after reading the book, I found the plot to be less dramatic than I initially guessed. I began reading expecting a dark but interesting backstory to help show the origins of the secrets and scars; although there was a backstory, it wasn’t as descriptive as it could have been and I feel that it was a lost chance to hook readers into the book that little bit more.
Although the depth of characters wasn’t as good as it could have been, the actual characters were still very interesting and well written. I expected Clare, for example, to be the typically clichéd ex-girlfriend. However, as I read more of the story, I found that there was a lot more to Clare’s relationship. As Bailey spends longer at Pine Hills Resort, she discovers just how many problems Clare has. Sadly, I feel as if these problems were skimmed over and a lot of potential detail was missed out.
Even though I feel as if a lot more detail could’ve been added, I still found the story interesting and exciting to read. I’ll admit, it took me a little while to get hooked on the story but, after I finally got into it, I struggled to put the book down. I am amazed over the way that the story has been written and how it ended up getting me completely invested in Bailey’s life, constantly wondering about what her dark secrets are and how she got such horrific scars. I love the way Fletcher slowly revealed the answers to these questions throughout the novel, because it helped keep me hooked on the story and reading with vigour.
All in all, I found this book to be a good read and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys books with a darker, more serious tone. My one and only warning would be to not set your expectations too high when it comes to details in the backstories and general plot, as it feels as though a fair amount of potential has been lost. But that being said, I still loved the story and found a lot of the characters very easy to relate to. I would definitely not be opposed to reading this book again and would love to read more of Fletcher’s work, as I feel that I will enjoy reading them and won’t be disappointed.
Chelsea Walter is a 15-year-old from Tawa, Wellington.