Breathing Underwater. Alex Flinn. 1. JANUARY 5 JUSTICE BUILDING, MIAMI, FLORIDA. I've never been in a courthouse before. But then, I've never been in. This books (Breathing Underwater [PDF]) Made by Alex Flinn. Book details Author: Alex Flinn Pages: pages Publisher: HarperCollins Language: English ISBN ISBN If you want to download this book, click link in the last page. READING GROUP GUIDE FOR BREATHING UNDERWATER. BY ALEX FLINN. 1. The beginning of the book, Nick thinks of his abuse of Caitlin: It was a slap.

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guide for Breathing Underwater written by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, visit her website: Identify the major characters in Breathing Underwater. What role do they. Don't miss this timely contemporary young adult novel from Alex Flinn, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beastly, about a teenage boy's struggl. Breathing Underwater Alex Flinn 1 JANUARY 5 JUSTICE BUILDING, MIAMI, FLORIDA I've never been in a courthouse before. But then, I've never been in such.

I don't listen much after that, just watch Caitlin's mouth move. My father plunks a hand on my shoulder, saying something I don't hear. Anyone looking would think he's patting my back, but his fingers claw my skin.

Excuse me, Your Honor, but I'm bleeding. The lyrics run through my head with all the other suddenly meaningless information. Will this be over if I say it's all true? Deny it? Cat's mouth moves until I wonder if she's reciting the alphabet, the Lord's Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance. No way could she say that much bad stuff about me. But when I tune in a few seconds, I hear her, agreeing with everything Polyester says I did, not explaining, not giving any background, just agreeing.

It was a slap, I want to tell them. One slap, when she pushed me way too far.

I never beat her up, would never hurt her. I loved her, love her still. Doesn't she remember anything good about us? Caitlin clutches the tissue like a white flag. She 6 doesn't use it again until Polyesters final question. Then, Madame Judge turns to me. You aren't required to testify.

He telegraphs a message: You're in big trouble, kid. My father and I look alike. I don't remember my mother much--she left when I was five--but I'm sure I don't look like her. My dark hair and dimples come from my father's gene pool sure as the baby lizards running across our garden path look like Papa Lizard humping on the hibiscus.

Still, I search the mirror for differences, anything to avoid seeing him in myself. His eyes are bad enough. Those green eyes can do more damage than his fist, and I see them in my own eyes every day.

Yet, it's my father's eyes I notice now, my father I'm trying to please when I speak on the witness stand, lying despite the oath. I wonder if God is listening, if God exists. Caitlin's making this up to get back at me for breaking up with her. She's nuts. The mask takes over. She's flattering herself if she thinks I'd waste my time.

The judge's voice stops me. Where does she get off calling me Nick? What if I called her Debbie, maybe even Debs? So, Debs, what's your take on separation of powers? It wouldn't matter. Judge Lehman is destined to hate me. Young, but not pretty, brown eyes swimming behind thick glasses.

I see her as a schoolgirl, lenses covered in fingerprints, waiting for the day she can screw someone like me. Her next words prove my point. You may think I don't know you, but I do. But I don't let myself say it.

Alex Flinn

Control is 5 part of faking it. She's lying. Sweet little you could never do such a thing. Right, Nick? I see inside you, and I don't like what I see. If you contact Caitlin McCourt, talk to her at school, if you so much as look at her funny in the hallway, you go to jail. We understand each other?

For what? But I say, "That shouldn't be a problem. To make sure it's not, I'm also ordering six months' counseling, classes on family violence and dealing with anger.

Well, that's fair. Along with your counseling, you'll keep a journal, five hundred words per week. In it, you'll explain what happened 9 between you and Caitlin McCourt, from the first time you saw her until today.

You can write your version or the truth. I don't care. I like fairy tales. I won't even read it unless you want me to. But every week, you'll bring that journal to class and show your counselor you've written, that you're thinking about what you've done. If you're very lucky, maybe you'll learn something. It doesn't go through, and it doesn't even hurt, but the bailiff threatens to call security. McCourt smiles. Cat watches my father, and when I glance over, I see why. His 6 face looks like its on fire.

Still, I follow him out, my hand finally uncurled enough to ache. We walk to the parking lot. The January air is barely cold, and my father's green Jag's parked between two spaces. He unlocks it, and I get in. He slams his door and shoves the key into the ignition. When I look again, his manicured fingers rest, harmless, on the gearshift. I say, "I'm sorry, Dad. This is why you always fail. But, for an instant, I remember Caitlin's face, and I know my father's right about me. He flips on the classical station.

Screeching violins fill the air, and the conversation's finished. I can't believe I have to write five hundred words a week. Five hundred words-- that's like major literature. Having screwed around the last hour trying to decide whether to write in the style of Isaac Asimov that version featured Caitlin as a Venusians chick with 11 one eye and three breasts or Dr.

Though it means remembering things I'd rather forget, I finally decide to write the truth. It doesn't matter anyway. Tuesday morning, second week of sophomore year I approached key Biscayne High's Mercedes dealership of a parking lot driving a red Mustang convertible, my father's belated birthday gift. Tom rode shotgun. His long blond hair blew in the breeze, and he pretended not to flex his muscles to impress whatever girls might notice.

In other words, nothing unusual was happening, nothing to hint at what was coming: the end of Nick Andreas as I'd known him. Tom and I had been best friends since first grade. That's when I'd figured 7 out that Tom's peaceful house was the best place to escape my father. I didn't tell Tom that, of course. He'd never understand. It wasn't that I blamed Tom for getting everything he wanted. I couldn't do that because he was such a great guy. But then, we'd all be great guys if we had his life.

That day, he was trying to talk me into asking out Ashley Pettigrew. I told him she wasn't my type. Tom nodded and said, "That's what I like about you, Nick - no competition for girls. You're the only guy I know who actually aspires to die a virgin. She emerged from the mob of Jan Sport -toting zombies. I stared a second. Then, a second longer. I knew her. The words dream girl, stupid and crazy as they were, popped into my head.

This was her. The one. It was ninety - three degrees out, but she didn't wear shorts like everyone else. She actually wore a dress. Still, I noticed the online of her breasts, her legs brushing together. Other girls wore silver earnings shaped like crosses or hoops.

Hers were pearls. She moved out of range, and I turned to Tom. Tom was back to looking at his biceps. You're so kidding me.

That's Caitlin McCourt. Remember, from kindergarten? And every grade after that. Everyone's talking about it. She's in chorus, for God's sake. And she'll get fat again. I was picturing the way Caitlin McCourt moved, walking away. I wanted to touch, even smell her. How would her skin feel under my lips? Tom went back to talking about Ashley, and I'd get nowhere with him. So I eased into a parking space. I figured if I ran, I could maybe track Caitlin down before class.

Not that I knew what I'd say. Leaving the top down, I sprinted to the building while Tommy Boy was still examination his pecs. I put down my pen. Four hundred ninety-nine words is all I can manage. Picture this: seven guys in a circle, like a prayer group or something, in a room that overlooks the Metrorail train tracks. The walls are covered with nightmares--wild modem art that looks like those old John Carpenter horror movies on late-night TV.

The population is scarier. There's everything from a guy with pierced cheeks to a scrawny accountant type who looks like he made a wrong turn on the way to a Rotary Club meeting.

We do have two things in common: First, we're all pissed about being in Family Violence Class. Second I think I can go out on a limb , we're eyeing this guy across from me, who's staring at the floor and ceiling, eating his fingernails to the nub, and rocking back and forth. I try not to gawk. You never know what sort of weapons a psycho like that could have. But it's like a car wreck or a girl with enormous breasts.

You have to look. Now he's clenching his fists, shaking. Six-way tie. Our instructor, a fat, cherubic-looking guy named Mario Ortega, explains the rules. Arguments to the contrary, you can take to the judge. Without that, there's nothing I can do. You know the type.

Only an illegible tattoo keeps him from looking nine years old. He runs a penknife under filthy nails. His face matches it. I'd bet there's a pickup truck with a gun rack out in the parking lot. You can't leave. I guess we'll have to open our minds, Mr Kelly, I believe. Kelly glares at all 16 of us, and I silently thank whatever deity was on duty the night my parents saw fit not to give me a girl's name.

The rest are pretty simple, and since you've got no choice, you'll follow them. Next one is, be on time. The guy who opens it looks in no particular hurry.

Like most of the group, he's about my age, but he's normal compared to the rest of them. Better than normal, maybe. Tall and dark, with a take-no-shit walk, he apologizes, his cool voice conveying no actual contrition, and sits by Kelly.

Rule five: participate in class discussions. It must hurt, but he doesn't even flinch. Me, I have no intention of talking. I have enough problems without some Ph. That's an old story. Been there, done that, heard it on Oprah. I figure the time spent here will be an excellent period to devote to Serious Thought--say, memorizing the periodic table of elements. The mountain of a black guy beside me-- obviously a resultoriented individual--nails my feelings when he says, "We get a grade on this?

You don't participate, I cut you loose. For you court-ordered people, that means starting over again. Or face the consequences. The big house, the pokey. Got the message. I nudge the big guy. I turn away, sure for a second he sees everything I don't want him to. I'm not the court system or your girlfriends. So, I won't accept T was drunk' as an excuse.

If everyone who got drunk beat up on someone else, we'd all have black eyes every day. And being plain old pissed offs no defense either.

If you think your girlfriend's the biggest slut in the world, leave her. Don't hit 18 her. You are responsible for your violence. You won't get better 'til you come to terms with that. My friends call me Tiny. His hair is shaved on the sides, and the sleeves of his Tasmanian Devil T-shirt are rolled back to expose his muscles. There are enough chains around his thick neck to drown someone smaller. What land of damage could a guy that size do to a girl?

Women always do. I told her if she kept beating on me, I'd do her some damage. Finally, I had to bust her mouth just to show I meant business. And they pressed charges even though Donyelle told them we're engaged.

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Caitlin never hit me, of course, but what about mental torture? What about getting a guy so crazy he has to use his fists-- hands--in self-defense?

The statement comes from the Psycho. While Tiny was talking, the Psycho's been doing some serious shaking. Now he looks up at us. I don't want to tell a lie, but I don't know.

Mario comes between them, putting an arm around the Psycho's shaking shoulder. Mario whispers in his ear. I tune them out. Hearing them might make me be like them. Like you're trying to be a man when you're just a scared kid, trying to keep under control when you really want to scream, cry, maybe hit someone.

Ever feel like you're breathing underwater, and you have to stop because you're gulping in too much fluid? Mario gestures toward him. We all hit our girlfriends. Class dismissed. Spic women think it's their mission to get hit. Kelly sits upright. I know you're all tense, but that will be the last time we mention anyone's mother. Let's cool it with the ethnic slurs too.

Leo's up an instant later, one hand on Kelly's neck, holding him away from his body. He shoves Kelly into the wall. Chairs fly as we clear the way. Someone starts chanting, "Fight! Kelly's gasping for breath. A vein bulges in Leo's forehead, but otherwise he holds Kelly like he's nothing. Mario steps between them, putting a hand on each of their shoulders and shouting, "Calm down," his voice becoming softer as he eases them apart. Sotolongo," Mario says when Leo finally sits. I also know your record and the charges against you.

It takes several minutes for everyone to calm down, but, finally, Leo's in a chair by mine, and Mario's next to Kelly. Sotolongo," Mario says.

Breathing Underwater - Alex Flinn

I didn't hit anyone. My girlfriend's parents hate me. Trouble is, she didn't want to stay pure. I must've threatened her. Raped her. She sold me out, lied so she wouldn't get in trouble. But I'll get Neysa to drop the charges. At least, I want to be someplace else, not laying my life open to these assorted losers. But 23 that isn't happening, so I stand. It was damn near perfect.

When I shrug, he says, "What does the court say you did? Start with your name.

I lost it once and slapped my girlfriend. That's it. One lousy slap. Mario stops me. A slap, like I said. Open hand.

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Her face didn't turn red or anything. I slapped her in the face. Look--" I pace a few steps before I catch myself. I know that. But she pissed me off this one time. Doesn't sound stupid to me. She hates me. None of 24 my friends are talking to me, including a guy I've known since kindergarten, because of one crummy slap.

Mario still dogs me. I hear blood pounding through my ears and I do feel like I'm breathing underwater. I touch the amethyst ring in my pocket, the one I bought Caitlin. I try not to look because looking makes me hear my father's voice--the voice that's always, always telling me how bad I screwed up, what a loser I am. I can't deal with his voice.

And when I look past the pain in my head, there's Caitlin after it happened. The trust and everything she said she felt for me, gone. I have to have Caitlin back. She's the only one who can silence the voice in my head. After all, Caitlin's all I think about anyway. She chose a chair two rows ahead and one seat to the left of mine, the prefect angle for me to see her rest her hand against her cheek, or watch as the tip of her pen entered her mouth.

God, I wished I was that pen. I wished, also, to be one - tenth as cool as people thought I was - cool enough to talk to her.

A few minutes into reviewing irregular verbs which I already knew, thanks to our parade of Spanish - speaking housekeepers , I felt a nudge. Tom pushed his notebook toward me.

He'd written: Stop staring. You look like a serial killer. Bite me. I wrote back. His notebook was under my nose again: OK. Are you going to ask her out? I looked away. I'd been considering the question, but there were others. What would I say? What if she wasn't interested? Or had a boyfriend? What if I puked my guts up, and she couldn't hear me through the gurgling?

What if she laughed? After class, I shoved my book into my backpack and bolted. Tom followed, trying to convince me to 26 talk to her.

I told him I'd decided he was right. I'd pass on Caitlin. But Tom said like hell I would, after slobbering the whole hour. He blocked the door, saying, "Go for it, Nick. You're not that ugly, man. Tom said he'd take her, if I wouldn't. He ran a quick hand down the length of his hair and walked to Caitlin's desk.

I ducked into the hall to watch the sea of humanity roll by. There were no windows there, so although it was bright outside, my mind was gray. I couldn't believe Tom would hit on a girl I liked. He'd get her too. Like I said, Tom got everything he wanted. When we were kids, Tom and I used to tell people we were twins. I wished it was true. My father would go on the warpath, and I'd head for Tom's. I tried not to care. When we got older, I realized no one could ever mistake us for brother.

Sure, we'd started out the same size, but Tom kept growing. Now, girls regularly embarrassed themselves over him - hanging at his locker or giggling when he passed them in the hall. I figured he kept me around to pour Gatorade at his victory parties. Mostly, through, Tom's face filled two dozen picture frames at the Carters house. And perfect Tom was talking to Caitlin. I wouldn't stand a chance. I pushed the door open. She was laughing - big trouble for me. Tom stood. He wants to have your baby.

I started to walk away, but Caitlin caught me eye and held it. There was a long silence before words sort of tumbled out. Cool car. Did you and your dad fix it up or something? I decided it didn't matter. Tom suggested we discuss it on the way home. She said it to Tom but kept looking at me. Her eyes were blue. The room had cleared, and even the hallway was quiet.

It dawned on me Tom hadn't asked her out, he'd been holding my place while I found my nerve. Caitlin was into me, not him. The planets where orbiting in a different order. I stopped myself from grinning. Realistic fiction. Reading level: YHS. Sex education; English; Ethics; Creative writing. SUBJECT AREAS Dating and social life; violence; abuse, physical; therapy; selfknowledge; bullying; family relationships; anger; racism; abuse, mental; prejudice; peer pressure; writing; friendship; love; abuse, sexual; justice; legal system; fear; school; sports; rites of passage; problem parents; secrets; lying and deceitfulness; substance abuse.

Caitlin McCourt: Nick's girlfriend, formerly plump, still harbors low self-esteem. Deborah Lehman: the judge who hears the case between Caitlin and Nick. Andreas: Nick's only parent, his abusive father, a wealthy self-made man who constantly tells Nick he's a loser.

McCourt: Caitlin's mother. Tom Carter: He's Nick's best friend, but he doesn't know about what Nick's father does to him, or why he abused Caitlin. Mario Ortega: He teaches Nick's family violence class.

Carter: Tom's parents who treat Nick like one of the family because he's there so much, but who are not accepting of anyone outside their social circle. Liana Castro: A girl Tom dates, despite his parents' disapproval. Miss Higgins: Nick's honors English teacher, who sees more of Nick than he knows he's revealed. Derek Wayne: He's in choir with Caitlin and is smart and geeky.

Rich, popular, smart, handsome, he played on the football team and drove a classic '67 red Mustang convertible. He had a charmed life--everyone wanted to be Nick. The Nick no one saw was an angry, resentful loser, who frequently missed school when his father's abuse got too obvious.

His father may have given Nick his car, but he also told his son, over and over, that he was a failure, a loser, never good enough at anything. Nick hasn't seen his mother since he was five, and he and his father live alone with a series of housekeepers.

Nick avoids his father as much as possible, and worries about what will set him off. Then just after school starts, he sees Caitlin, and thinks "dream girl. Nick is in love for the first time, but the only examples he has of love are the memories of his parents. Which Nick will he show Caitlin, the one everyone knows, or the one that no one does?I throw them into her yellow plastic basket and walk through again.

Tom pretended not to hear. I'm quite sure there are plenty of books like this, maybe even written better, however.

To make this website work, we log user data and share it with processors. Everyone has an imagination. What about getting a guy so crazy he has to use his fists-- hands--in self-defense? Realistic fiction. Fine, if you know what the truth is.

LYNDSEY from Melbourne
Review my other articles. I am highly influenced by bandy. I do relish exploring ePub and PDF books quicker.