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Review – Drowning Instinct August 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Title: Drowning Instinct

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

Publication Date: February 1, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0761377528

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain… magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.


Now I knew this book was going to be heavy, I just didn’t know how heavy. On one hand my heart was breaking for Jenna and I was dying for her, but you know what? I couldn’t cry any tears for her. Somehow I couldn’t make that last connection. Maybe it was because I prepared myself for the bad end and  I could see it coming, because I knew it was going to end badly. This is not your happily ever after story.  A student and a teacher don’t hook up and live happily ever after. Not a 16-year-old and 30-something-year-old. Things don’t work out that way.

The book still managed to take my breath away. Don’t mistake me. I still gasped and floundered. There were moments of absolute heartbreak. The writing is beautiful. The writing is absolutely lovely. I was completely engrossed in the story. I read this book all in one sitting. It was very good. I just couldn’t help myself from comparing it to other books. I couldn’t help myself from finding it wanting in comparison.  Even on its own, it lacks a little something. Something that made me want to cry my eyes out. Then again, I am much older then the targeted audience. Therefore the writing was targeted at a much younger demographic. That might be it.

I was still able to relate to Jenna. She was a reserved, socially awkward teen. She had a lot of problems in her life  though. She had just been in the psychiatric ward. She has a alcoholic mother and a psychotic father. To cope with all this she cuts. Jenna had problems. It was agonizing to read about them and my heart ached for her.

Mitch was the perfect knight in shining armor. He was the sympathetic adult and the perfect friend when she needed one. He actually cared for her. I liked him a lot too. It was hard not to. It was hard to see him as a monster. The lines weren’t black and white. Everything was definitely in shades of grey.

This was a beautifully written book, although it was extremely heavy. You might want to get the tissues handy just in case. I didn’t need them but you never know.



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