Fans of Adib Khorram and Randy Ribay will love this coming-of-age debut about a Filipina American teen drowning under pressure and learning to trust her heart.
Corazon Tagubio is an outcast at the Catholic school she attends on scholarship. Her crush on her teacher, Ms. Holden, doesn’t help. At home, Cory worries that less-than-perfect grades aren’t good enough for her parents, who already work overtime to support her distant half-brother in the Philippines.
After an accident leaves her dad comatose, Cory feels like Ms. Holden is the only person who really understands her. But when a crush turns into something more and the secret gets out, Cory is sent to her relatives in Manila. She’s not prepared to face strangers in an unfamiliar place, but she discovers how the country that shaped her past might also redefine her future.
This novel takes readers on a journey across the world as Cory comes to understand her family, her relationships, and ultimately, herself.
“My Heart Underwater is a lovely, magnificent wonder of a novel that will leave you with the rarest of tender heartaches: life-affirming, life-inspiring, life-loving; a heartache of joy and becoming. You won’t walk freely, or willingly, from these pages.” —New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu
* A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2020 * A 2022 ALA Rainbow Booklist Selection *
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo grew up in Thousand Oaks, CA, and graduated from a private Catholic high school. She lived in Teachers Village in the Philippines for many years and is the author of The First Impulse (2017), a nonfiction love story and mystery set in Metro Manila. She lives between Honolulu and Metro Manila with her wife. My Heart Underwater is her debut YA novel. Visit her online at www.laurelfantauzzo.com.
My Heart Underwater is a lovely, magnificent wonder of a novel that will leave you with the rarest of tender heartaches: life-affirming, life-inspiring, life-loving; a heartache of joy and becoming. You won’t walk freely, or willingly, from these pages. — New York Times bestselling author Marjorie Liu
Beautifully unsettling and deeply satisfying, My Heart Underwater should be read by all—and it’s a gift to any community, not just the YA community, that such a heartfelt, literary novel is now in our hands. — Gina Apostol, author of Gun Dealers' Daughter, PEN/Open Book Award winner
A wise, complex exploration of a young person on the cusp of adulthood as she navigates the in-between: being Filipinx in America and American in the Philippines. Readers who yearn for stories closer to the nuances, contradictions, and messiness of real life will love Cory and root for her.
— Grace Talusan, author of The Body Papers, winner of the Restless Books Prize
“A (home)coming out story that rides a deep undercurrent of love.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This emotionally powerful YA debut sensitively portrays the tension between Cory’s American upbringing and attempts to stay true to her cultural roots.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Not to be missed." — School Library Journal
“This soulful #OwnVoices story explores how love for family and tradition can conflict with personal dignity." — Booklist
“Smoothly woven and intriguing glimpses of Filipino culture, language, and economy pop up throughout this #ownvoices novel.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Fantauzzo’s emotional story extends beyond Cory’s search for identity and belonging, adding insights about both historical and metaphorical colonization, while readers are immersed in the uncertainty that surrounds new and ongoing family crises, resentment, and forgiveness.” — Horn Book Magazine