An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born "with one foot on the other side." Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities.

Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves--now protective, now hedonistic--move into control, Ada's life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.

Narrated by the various selves within Ada and based in the author's realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice.

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4.4 of 5 stars (Votes: 744)

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    Freshwater Reviews

  • Elyse

    When I got the depths of this novel, here during these dark hours, I was blown away! My eyes were misty at the end.It’s absolutely the most brilliant creative book written of its kind ....It became ...

  • Hannah

    This was absolutely stunning. From the very first page I knew I was in for something extraordinary and unlike anything I have ever read. This debut combines many things I adore in books: unconventiona...

  • Navidad Thelamour

    It’s not easy to persuade a human to end their life – they’re very attached to it, even when it makes them miserable, and Ada was no different. But it’s not the decision to cross back that’s...

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 fresh, imaginative stars to Freshwater! The most creative book I’ve read this year! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 I have read nothing like Freshwater before. It is hard to categorize. It is literary fiction...

  • PattyMacDotComma

    5★ DEBUT! “DedicationTo those of uswith one footon the other side." “By the time she (our body) struggled out into the world, slick and louder than a village of storms, the gates were left open...

  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    Freshwater is a stunning novel, one that I dove into and couldn't surface out of for a while. It's like a pool of dark water that you don't really even want to get out of. And I was sad when the book ...

  • Darkowaa

    !!! I had known this book was as evil, dark and sinful as it was, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to read it. But now that I’ve marinated the story in ...

  • Rachel

    It's hard to talk about something that has no precedent. Freshwater is utterly unique, and the result is breathtaking. It's a dark, sensual, and thoughtful novel about a young woman coming to terms wi...

  • Tudor Vlad

    I think that the best praise a book can get is having the reader think to himself “this is something that I have never read”, and this is what made Freshwater for me such an outstanding experience...

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I was pulled in to this story (narrated by the author) of Ada, who is a gift from the (plural) Igbo serpent god to her parents for praying the right way. But because they were the child, the god(s) ow...