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“Emotions leap off the page in this deeply personal book . . . . Expertly written.”—Library Journal


The best fiction simply tells the truth. But the truth is never simple.

When novelist Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather’s old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend’s brother—and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book. If she can prove that she told the truth about what happened during those long-ago summers, perhaps she can put the letter’s claims to rest and meet the swiftly approaching deadline for her next book.

But what she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. While facing Tyler isn’t easy, facing the consequences of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

Plumb the depths of the human heart with this emotional exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgivable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.

Now available from your local independent bookstore or these online sources:

Baker Book House
Schuler Books
Barnes & Noble

Praise & Reviews

“Erin Bartels has become one of those authors that I read every book she writes without even reading the synopsis or looking at the cover. The stories are just that good and the tension and internal conflict her characters have intensifies with each story.  The Girl Who Can Breathe Underwater is no exception.”—Write-Read-Life

“Bartels explores troubled relationships, questions of truth and memory, and how stories are created and told.”—Booklist

“Bartels continues to amaze and this—at least until the next book—is her best. It’s a bit early in the year to be talking about awards and accolades, but I’m not convinced it’s premature. Truly, an outstanding book.”—Life Is Story

Interviews & Articles

What makes us into the people we are today? The good days we’ve had . . . or the bad ones? This article I wrote for Reader’s Entertainment News explores just that in relation to The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water.

I explore truth, fiction, and the intersection of the two in The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water in this article over on Reading Is My Superpower.

Learn more about the story behind the story of The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water with this article on More to Life.

Delve deeper into the story of The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water with this great book club conversation with the folks at Schuler Books. You’ll find things here about my writing you won’t find anywhere else.

In this interview with Terri Gillespie I reveal which of my characters has stretched me most as a writer, one of my favorite quotes from The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water, and more.

In this interview I play 20 Questions with Fresh Fiction, in which I reveal a bit about my writing process, my writing space, and why you don’t want to be with me when I’m eating a really good steak.

I had a blast talking to Carol Ann Tack about The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water on the Top Shelf at Merrick Library podcast. If you’re a reader who is always looking for that next great book, you should definitely subscribe to this podcast!

If you’re a writer or a reader for whom writing and the writing process is of special interest, I highly recommend the Life Is Story podcast. Here’s my interview with the gracious and laudably spoiler-averse Josh Olds about The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water.

Book trailer: