Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left Drowning
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.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17
Published: July 16th 2013        
Publisher: Skyscape
Kat's Review
I don't like comparing authors, and I generally shy away from books that advertise as being "for fans of..." but I couldn't help but think of Colleen Hoover's Hopeless as I was reading this. Not because the storylines are the same, just that there is enough similarity to make me think of one while reading the other. I'm not saying that in a negative way, nor am I suggesting there's any plagiarism going on here, because there's not, but this book is an intense, emotional ride that isn't afraid to tackle some pretty difficult issues, just like Hopeless. 
I wasn't convinced that I was going to love this story at the beginning. I'm not sure what it was, but it took me a few chapters to be convinced that I wanted to invest in it. I'm glad I stuck it out, because by the end I really felt for the characters. Jessica Park did a great job of introducing the reader to a cast of characters who are great at  hiding what's really going on underneath the surface. The entire group of friends that Blythe becomes close to slowly reveal more and more of their true selves as the book goes on, and that's when I found myself emotionally invested in how the story was going to play out.
At first I thought that it would be Chris saving Blythe from herself, but in the end it becomes clear that everyone is helping each other work through issues that are perhaps too big for even the group to tackle. It feels as though any one of them could fall apart at any moment, and yet the tension and the seriousness are handled in a way that allows for moments of happiness and laughter to seem real, and also bittersweet.  I have to admit that I figured out the twist close to the beginning, but the twist really is only a small part of the book. There are so many intertwined storylines here that I came to care about each of the characters and I couldn't put it down.
Rating: A Good Read
This book surpassed my expectations, particularly after I was a bit underwhelmed at the beginning. It picks up speed as it goes, and the characters become more and more real as the story progresses. Recommended.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

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