Hydraulic Number 5

By Sarah Latchaw
Review by KM

By now, we all know about the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey movie coming out tomorrow. We all know that it spawned from a book series and most of us are aware that it actually had beginnings as Twilight fanfiction.

While I don’t like Fifty Shades or Twilight, I will admit that I’ve read Twilight fanfiction before and that there were some fanfics that I loved. One of those was Hydraulic Number 5, which was later redone by Sarah into original fiction. Finding it on the Barnes and Noble website was a fantastic discovery. I couldn’t wait to dive in and see what changes had been made, since Sarah had done such a stellar job at adding depth to characters that, in my opinion, lacked it in the original book.


Hydraulic Level Five (n.): A whitewater rapid classification indicating large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, potential large drops, where precise maneuvering is required. Often characterized by “must make” moves, i.e. failure to execute a specific maneuver at a specific point may result in serious injury or death. Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel’s family, the beloved Cabrals-first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own. But when Samuel returns home for his sister’s wedding with a new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega, the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart, all leading to startling revelations about Samuel, about life, and about herself. She soon realizes that maneuvering the tumultuous waters of her relationship with Samuel will prove as dangerous as any outdoor adventure she might attempt…at least where her heart is concerned.


There was a lot of controversy when Sarah announced her plans to rework the fanfic into a book, I remember. People called her on selling out; some others believe that fanfiction is wrong to publish. To those people, I really just want to point out Milton’s Paradise Lost as being Biblical fanfiction, Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments as being at least partially spawned from her earlier Harry Potter fanfiction, and generally lay myself down on the side of these fantastic authors.

That being said, Sarah’s work barely reminded me of Bella and Edward, even in the fanfic. Kaye and Samuel are vivid, enchanting characters that made me laugh more than once. Their relationship was realistic, with the up and downs and the growing apart that comes with being an adult.

Kaye’s voice made it for an easy read that took less than a day to complete, yet my eagerness may have added to that swiftness.

I do have one complaint, though it may be remedied soon. The original fanfic was of great length and many of the scenes that I adored were to be found in the second half of the novel. The ending of this book is perfect for the story, balancing it, but leaving me wanting more. When finishing the last page, I wanted to shout. I wondered where my favorite parts were; why had they been left out? A quick check on Goodreads reveals there is in fact a sequel. I haven’t opened it, so I can’t promise that they’ve made it in, but I have high hopes that the entire story is just as spectacular as remembered. At least I can promise that the first book gives me hope.

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