Today's novel is the story of a young woman who fears water. She has good reason, too: her parents were killed in a boating accident when she was just a child. When her adopted family moves to a house near the beach, she feels severely threatened and anxious.
The story contains other fears, as well. There is the lingering fear of abandonment, there's the fear of not belonging, of families being separated either by divorce or circumstance, the fear of being lost, of wild animals, and of being trapped in a world not your own. In the end, the protagonist faces her fears one by one, growing in confidence with each success. When facing her fear of water is her only hope of getting home, she's as emotionally prepared as possible, bolstered by the great strength of family and friendship.
I just love that writing gives us all a safe place to explore fear. We're surrounded by the possibility of fear all the time; how wonderful that, as writers, we can use our characters to practice facing our fears and being brave!