“Talk Under Water” by Kathryn Lomer

The Facebook page of Jessica Watson – the Australian teen who skippered her sailboat solo around the Southern Hemisphere at age 16 – brings Summer Rainbird and Will Lane together.

They both think Jessica is awesome, but Summer has never set foot on a sailboat. Will lives on one.


When they find out they have a connection through a tiny coastal town in Tasmania, emails fly between them. But then Will announces he’s sailing home to Kettering. Summer is in big trouble. Because she is not the girl in the photo she sent to Will.

How can she get out of this one?

Back in Kettering, Will has his own problems. How does he fit into school after the freedom of the ocean? How does he reconnect with the kids he grew up with? They have changed too, in ways he can’t quite handle.

They can’t handle him, either. Or, his best friend Cully can’t handle Summer, and the growing bond between her and Will. To Cully, she’s always ‘the deaf chick’.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons                      Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

To Will, Summer is the easiest person to be around, whether he takes her out sailing on Albatross, or they silently fish off the jetty together, write notes to each other, or email. He’s fascinated by how she signs in Auslan with her deaf friends, and he’s soon discovering for himself what a neat language it is. A discovery shared by the reader.

And yes, with Auslan, you really can talk under water!

Their friendship deepens as they learn each of them has lost a parent. Then Cully steps between them, causing Summer to believe Will has betrayed her.

If Cully forces Will to make a choice, who will he choose, Summer or his childhood friend? On a three-day sailboat journey around wild and beautiful Bruny Island, the three teenagers’ true characters are revealed when disaster strikes Albatross off the island’s rocky shore.


Readers who hope to learn something when they read a novel, and readers who are just looking for a good story, will both enjoy this this book. Through some great characters, Kathryn Lomer has enabled readers to enter the twin worlds of a small Tasmanian coastal town, and Australia’s Auslan signing community.

Meet the author of Talk Under Water   http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/Author.aspx/1420/Lomer,%20Kathryn


More reviews of Talk Under Water http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25808664-talk-under-water

More about Auslan: https://deafsocietynsw.org.au/courses/sign_language_courses

More about Kettering: http://www.oystercovemarina.com.au/

Published by Julia Archer

Julia is a world traveler, a writer of adult and teen fiction, and a keen photographer and reader.

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