Boy Underwater

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Review

Cymbeline is an unusually named 9 year old, who has never been swimming. He’s extremely good at other sports, however, so he’s sure it can’t be difficult. When his school announces that his year will be starting swimming lessons, he boasts to the class bully that he is an epic swimmer. His overconfidence is rewarded with an accident – and an embarrassing one at that. However, worse than this, his mother appears to experience some form of breakdown as a result. What is wrong with her? Why has she never taken Cym swimming? And how is this all linked?

The book gradually reveals the answers, as Cym uncovers some dark secrets hidden in his family’s past, which involve the father he’s always known to have died. The book highlights the immense flaws of grown-ups, for example when they try to conceal important truths from young people. It also underlines the potential potency of post-traumatic stress disorder. All this is wrapped up in a surprisingly light-hearted and readable package, with a humorous young narrator.

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