Boy Underwater
Adam Baron


A heart-breaking, heart-warming novel for everyone of 10 and older - this book will probably make you cry, and will definitely make you laugh. Cymbeline Igloo (yes, really!) has NEVER been swimming Not ever. Not once. But how hard can it be? He's Googled front crawl and he's found his dad's old pair of trunks. He's totally ready. What he's not ready for is the accident at the pool - or how it leads his mum to a sudden breakdown. Now, with the help of friends old and new, Cymbeline must solve the mystery of why his mum never took him near water - and it will turn his whole life upside down... `A wonderful story, moving and funny' - Ross Welford

Your reviews

Lily F, 9
I am part way through the book 'Boy Underwater' I have just got past halfway through the book. I love the way the author hasn't described exactly what has happened to his dad or why Cym's mum has so many painted pictures of his teddy bear Mr Fluffy. This book is great because it hooks you in and makes you want to read more. I think that the main message in the first part of the book where cym goes swimming is to be yourself and admit when you can't do something because lying will make the whole situation much worse.

Overall this book is very intriguing and I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 9. This book shows the power of love and friendship. I think that Cym is a very strong character along with his friend Veronica as they will risk anything to find out what actually happened to Cym's dad and why his mum never let him go swimming. This book is very funny but also very emotional.
Sue Wilsher, 9
Cymbeline Igloo ( his dad, an actor, was performing in the Shakespeare play when he met Cym's mum) might be third-best footballer in Year 4 (joint) and second best at roller skating, but he has never been swimming. This is now a major problem as his class are going swimming and a stand off with the class bully has led Cym to boast about his swimming skills.

A challenge to a race follows and Cymbeline is left with a sense of impending doom about the lesson to come. Disaster follows - not only in his humiliation at the pool, but as it results in him losing his best friend, his mother's breakdown and admission to hospital and Cym ending up stuck living with his cousins until she is well enough to come home. Cym's problems only get worse when his mother discharges herself and goes missing and he realises that he will need to dive into some family secrets to save them both.

Cymbeline is a wonderful character with a unique voice which captures both the naivety of a nine year old and the knack they have of sometimes seeing things with a blinding simplicity which eludes adults completely. As he uncovers the many secrets that those around him having been hiding - from him and from each other - a story of family tragedy and heart-break unfolds, allowing a measure of healing and reconciliation to take place. The author, however, balances scenes of great poignancy with those of real humour, making the story a pleasure to read.

Lance, Cym's best friend, also offers the reader much to think about. His relationship with his two dads - his 'dad-dad' and his 'new-dad' shows how comments made by adults linger with children and can negatively affect them. The reader never hears the 'new dad' teasing Lance about his name or hears his comments about Cymbeline's name or why he thinks Lance goes to 'that kind of school', but his confusion and hurt are clear, allowing children to explore similar feelings and experiences. Veronique is another wonderfully portrayed character.

This is a 'read in one sitting' book. Full of secrets, friendship and family, it is compelling, poignant and funny. The perfect read.

256 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.
Jacqueline Harris, 9
Cymbeline Igloo (yes, really!) has never been swimming. This is where the story starts, but in reality, it started many years before. The trouble is, it is a story that Cymbeline himself does not know. After an accident at the swimming pool Cymbeline and his friends have to unravel the past to find out why he has never been taken swimming before.

This book is very hard to categorise, it is both sad and funny at the same time. It is also really difficult to tell which subtext the reader will pick up because they are adult and which bits will go over a child's head. Written by an author of adult novels, Adam Baron apparently wrote this for children because his own children told him to! The illustrator, Benji Davies should also get a mention here- his lovely illustrations are scattered throughout the book and really add to the story.

The children in the story are both eccentric and completely believable. Cymbeline's friends all have different issues, from Lance who has two sets of parents, to the over achieving Veronique. The voice of Cymbeline narrating the story, is also authentic; though I suspect many children these days would have worked some of the secrets out before he does - he is slightly too innocent for a modern child!

My conundrum with this book has nothing to do with how good it is - which it is - I enjoyed it. It is more to do with whether I want Primary aged children to be reading about something that is so very sad. The mental breakdown of Cymbeline's mother is very realistic; I experienced something similar with a close family member as a child and it is not necessarily something I want children to have to read about whilst they are still young.

The whole premise of the story is sad and loss overshadows the entire book and is only revealed at the end. Currently the jury is out as to whether I shall be encouraging my own ten-year-old to read this book!

256 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher.
Isabel R, 11
I like this book because it is a hilarious read and the boy keeps reminding us that him and his best friend Lance are joint third best footballers in year 3. The main character is called Cymbeline Igloo and his life gets worse and worse through the book, making us ask ourselves many questions and the only way to answer these is to read the whole book.
Isabel R, 9
I think reading Boy UnderWater is a great journey. In this book you never know whats going to happen next, also it is a hilarious read. I love reading this book because it is set in first person but keeps going back to his past. I rated this book 5 stars because the quality is amazing and just when you think something is going right it always fails into something terrible.
Amelia C, 11
I am reading 'Boy Underwater', I am half way through the book and I am up to the point where Cymbeline Igloo is asked why his mother has never took him swimming. I like how the author has not told us exactly why his hasn't been swimming, instead his mother made excuses, however Cymberine now knows that the excuses are not true and he should never have believed her.

This book is very good for children at the age of 9 and above because it is very funny and it intrigues you to carry on reading and finding out what happens next. I think the main message of this boook is always to be truthful if you can't do something as you will never succeed.
Josh S, 12
This is one of the books that was set for me by my English teacher, and I am so glad!
I adored this book because it is both hilarious and moving, and reading this book made me realise how good this combination can be.

I loved the way the author has set out this book in a childish but creative way. Also the characters are very unique and I really like the character Cymbeline as he is funny but shows another side in his concern for his family. In my previous reading I have not seen a character portrayed in this way.

I enjoyed how the author explains the past in the events of the present to the reader.

I would recommend this book to you if you like a balance between humour and emotion.
Jacob, 12
I liked this book a lot! Mainly because it has a lot of mystery. It has 2 main plots with 3 side mysteries alongside. These are always solved one way or another.

I liked the comedy in Boy Underwater, it makes subtle jokes and breaks the fourth-wall in some points of the book to take a short break from the story. Speaking of which, finally, I want to talk about the story, which presents itself really well, the many fonts are used to show what Cymbeline is feeling or trying to express and the subtle twists.
Joshua, 12
In my opinion I am enjoying this book , Cymbeline Igloo (Yes really) the main character/boy has never once been swimming in his life. He doesn't understand why his mum has never took him swimming but is trying to find out. His dad passed away when he was young and has a funny feeling that it has something to do with his dad. There is humour and funny moments in the book as well as interesting times. I reccomend this book for people looking to read something good.
Milly, 11
I like that it is funny because he talked about something then goes back into his past story which is a bit different to the many books I have read but I still really like it.
Luke, 12
I like this book because it is intriguing and a mystery to solve. It is a sad and funny book to read. He has never been swimming and wants to find out! Try help Cymbeline find out the this mystery of his unknown dad! It is perfect for anyone over the age of 9. It is a perfect book to just sit down and read!
Adam H-R, 9
I have just reacently got boy under water and I'm already enjoying it. The blurb hooks you in and makes you wonder why he has never went swimming. It is funny and also mysterious. Cym is a strong character who has a sense of humour. I would rate this book for the age of 9+
Olivia K,
I like the way this book is set out because it's a bit of a cliff hanger at the start because the boy never found out why he never had a chance to go swimming but his dad died when he was very young and his mum never told him what caused that either so at the start I thought the reason that he was never allowed to go swimming was because maybe something happened when he was very young to do with his dad and drowning so that s what his mum doesn t want to happen to Cymbeline.
Ellie, 12
An interesting, funny book for everyone of 10 or older. A book about a boy named Cymbeline Igloo (yes that's his real name) has never been swimming before like EVER. He desperately tries to persuade his mum to take him but she tells him disgusting things about the pools that could put anyone off the pool for life. His school make his dreams come true but not what he was expecting. He Googles how to swim, he borrows his dad's trunks but he doesn't know what he is in for when he can't swim. Buy this book because it is very entertaining and very enjoyable to read.
Erin S, 12
What I liked most about this book is that Cymbeline Igloo always has a way of making you smile, he has a way of making you almost forget everything and just being engulfed within the life of a young boy , who has to deal with a lot a such a young age. This book is definitely a comedy, but there are also a lot of things about this book that is truthfull I feel like this book is so realistic and I know that young kids who may be going through a tough time at the moment could definitely use Cymbeline Igloo in their life! He has a way of almost making you forget about all your problems and focusing on his, this may sound a little selfish but if really does get your mind off things! There are a lot of children who have or are going through what Cymbeline went through and this book I feel would just give them courage, the courage to not be afraid to question things . To not be afraid to accept things the way they are! Something I’ve definitely learned from this book is that in order to find the truth, you may have to go deep...
Ateisha, 12
This book was funny, exciting and every page something dramatic happened. It a book that could make you cry but also laugh at the same time. It also teaches everyone something. I would recommend this to someone who likes to laugh and enjoys easy read books .

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