Title: How to Breathe Underwater Author: Julie Orringer Description: A collection of shortstories, all dealing with intense human emotions - from the death of a loved one, to being bullied, to blaming yourself for someone's death, loving someone even though it is forbidden etc. A lot of them feature children or young adults, who are all described with a rare sensitivity. Personal Rating: 5/5 What a surprise this was. I just randomly picked this up in the library - I didn't even know what it was about because the library tag was all over the back-cover where the description is. So it turned out to be an anthology of Short-Stories... And I've never really gotten into one of those. But this - simply amazing. Its 9 incredibly sensitive and imaginative stories - usually centering around girls and their mothers or young women. All are somehow tragic in very different ways - maybe my favourite, The Isabel Fish, is about a girl who's survived a car-crash with her teenage brother's girlfriend and now he always finds ways for punishing her for surviving... And it's incredibly beautifully written. Another two are about the horrible things children can get up to with each other when they find themselves not cared for... the way children feel when sickness takes over all her parents attention and energy. I'd just recommend it so so deeply to basically everybody... because for everybody there's something in at least one of these that they can identify with. Then there is the fat girl with the famous super-model cousin who hate each other for what the other has, or the teen so in love and so desperate to get one up on everybody she'd make a huge mistake... or the high-school outsider who is in love with the most popular guy in the school. And yes, they all sound a little bit like a cliche idea... but the way they are told, with such sensitivity and attention to detail - its is truly stunning. To me I also found the format intriguing - if you don't have to tell a story from start to finish, there a richness that you can lavish on these short hours covered in your writing that you hardly ever find in novels. There is no need to tell the whole plot, the plot is implied and you focus on a momentary glimpse at the lives somewhere at the zenith of the plot - or before it, or long after. It's a definite jewell, I'd recommend to anyone - especially if you have never been particularly into short-stories. This small anthology gave me a very new look at them and made the medium really attractive to me, the way a lot of others never could.