Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Source: Netgalley via Amazon Children's
Rating: 4/5 stars
Get it: Amazon / B&N
What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?
Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.
What exactly did I think about Left Drowning by Jessica Park? To be quite honest, I felt a lot of things while reading this book. It made me angry, it made me want to throw things, it made me want to cry, it made me smile, it made me laugh, and it sure as hell made my heart swell. While I felt all these things, this book was not a walk in the park while reading it. However, the whirlwind journey of frustration was well worth the wait to reach the end of this heartfelt novel.
Blythe left me awed at her strength and her growth throughout the book. She started off in a really bad place. She was cut off from social relationships because of her depression, but she turned her life around after meeting Sabin, Chris and the rest of the Shepard family. While they helped her out of her rut, Blythe was the one that really brought herself out of her shell and that made me admire her. Blythe was someone who basically lost all hope and will, but she managed to step up, put her life back on track and rebuilt her lost relationships. It was the real growth and healing she went through that cemented my adoration for her.
When it comes to the romance, it’s not that I didn’t like Chris because I loved him. It’s not that I didn’t like Blythe and Chris together either. I think it was because of their intensity and their this is “too much” talk along the way. It was really hard to comprehend their feelings. Blythe’s thoughts about Chris were a little annoying in the beginning because I felt it was all just infatuation. However, I didn’t start to understand their chemistry and connection until later on in the book when things started to fall into place. I like Chris because he saved Blythe. He understood her pain, helped her get through it and he listened to her. Blythe does the same for Chris and I totally got why they simply belonged together in so many ways. Chris went through so much during his childhood and even more for his siblings but he really strived for a better life. He wasn’t perfect, but he was kind, loving and genuine. And I have to mention that the sexy times between Chris and Blythe were smokin’ hot.
My most favorite thing about this book was probably Sabin. I think I struggled with Chris and Blythe’s romance because I just loved Sabin more than I did with Chris. Sabin was outgoing, outspoken and so eccentric in a way that you can’t help but love him wholeheartedly. He was an odd ball who was endearing and cute. I seriously wanted to cuddle him. His dramatic, over the top, and free spirited nature was infectious. Like Blythe, Sabin held a very special place in my heart. He came out of nowhere, like a storm after the calm and left me disarmed. Sabin was just the type of guy who could always put a smile on your face.
I have to admit I had some serious doubts about Left Drowning. I was ultimately frustrated with Chris and Blythe’s crazy relationship, the slowish pacing, and how some things seemed to drag on for a bit. Some of the decisions by certain characters were just ridiculous, it made me so mad. I found myself wanting to pull my hair out because I would stop and ask myself what is the point? But let me tell you that Park totally made it all worth the wait. All those feelings I had throughout the novel made way for the things that came to light. I predicted some truths and was surprised at other revelations and those surprises blew my freaking mind. Looking back, the full story made me catch my breath and the ending was more than satisfying. Park totally wrapped up everything nicely and left characters with so much hope for the future. The connections that all tied up in the end were brilliantly written; I was astounded.
Overall, Left Drowning was a book about overcoming grief, healing, and allowing someone to in to help you even when you feel like you cannot be helped. It was a rough, tough and heartbreaking book that really built up meaningful relationships, friendships and solid family bond.
*Thanks to Amazon Publishing for sending a copy for review purposes
I was not compensated for my opinion
"You're beautiful when you smile."
"Oh, the tragedy! Clearly I cannot make juicy love to the woman ever again, for I would only think of you, dear brother. And that would be a sin of outlandish and vile proportions."
"There is nothing like trauma to make you see the world clearly"
"Life is not fair, but it is what we have to deal with."
"Noooooo. It says that you listen to your heart."
"My heart is a stupid asshole."
"This is all sorts of fucked up."
"I know, baby. I know. But the best kind of fucked up."