I received a copy of Boy Underwater from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review! This was a truly wonderful book about a young boy understanding the situations around him – and proving that children can handle a lot more than adults think.
Cymbeline Igloo (yes, really!) has never once been swimming. Not ever. Not once. But how hard can it be? He’s Googled front crawl and he’s found his dad’s old pair of trunks. He’s totally ready.
What he’s not ready for is the accident at the pool – or how it leads his mum to a sudden breakdown. Now, with the help of friends old and new, Cymbeline must solve the mystery of why his mum never took him near water – and it will turn his whole life upside down…
This was such an enjoyable and realistic book. Cymbeline has an incredibly likeable voice – he’ll relate to every nine year old who reads this. He’s funny, a little rude at times, comments on things the adults do around him, and is far wiser than they give him credit for. Cym has never been swimming, and his mum will always give him an excuse against it. She’ll always seem secretive and upset too when swimming is mentioned, which Cym doesn’t understand. When he gets pushed into the pool during a school swimming trip, his mum finds out and panics which sends her into a breakdown, meaning Cym has to stay with his aunt. But he’s determined to find out why his mum gets so upset about water and swimming.
What follows is a heart-warming story about caring and understanding family situations. As Cym gets closer to the truth, he starts understanding his mums situation more, and just wants her to be well and happy again. He truly cares about her, which makes for some really lovely moments between the two characters. This book is actually quite important for parents too, as it proves that children can understand more ‘grown up’ things like grief and loss, as well as being able to process them. I think this is such an excellent read, and will make readers giggle – I did – as well as make them think too. I think it definitely stands with books like Wonder and Time Travelling With A Hamster – important and realistic children’s reads that kids will be able to relate to.
Final thought: Realistic, important peppered with humorous and relatable moments. 5/5