Saturday 22 March 2014


Surfacing by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781406347937
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Maggie is different. She unwillingly attracts people who have secrets to tell. But they all withdraw from her after their confession. She also keeps a secret about what happened on the day her sister Leah drowned. Her parents have been at each other’s throats since their daughter’s death, and life at home is unbearable for the teenage Maggie.

Maggie has strange ways of dealing with her traumas although she has her competitive swimming to escape into. Her favourite escape is into lucid dreaming. This leads to the loss of true love and the further damaging of her teenage life. This last is greatly juxtaposed with the fact that her sister died while swimming.

Maggie must wade through all her guilt and surface to start life again. Can she find her way up?

This is a poignant and moving coming of age story about loss and facing life’s blows. It is told intermittently in the voice of Leah, but mainly in third person narrative. The prose, poetic and strong, moves up and down like water in a pool, then surfaces like the book’s title.

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