Friday, 12 July 2013

Review: 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.

Title: Left Drowning
Author: Jessica Park | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website
Publication Date: July 16 2013
Publisher:  Skyscape
Length: 399 Pages
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Buy ItAmazon US | Amazon UK

Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Cover Love: This is the UK cover.  It is absolutely stunning, and by far one of my all time favorites.
Point of View: 1st person, following Blythe

My Rating: 5 Stars

Left Drowning was an absolute stunning and breathtaking read.  I am a huge fan of Jessica Park's, so I did go into it with high expectations.  Not only were my expectations met, they were very much exceeded.  You may be familiar with Jessica's other works, most notably Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt.  It is in those two novels where I fell in love with Jessica and her writing.  Left Drowning does have a more mature vibe, but this is in no way a negative, it just goes to prove how versatile she can be as an author.  

“Being with you let me feel, feel everything, and I needed that.   I remembered better with you, I healed better with you, and you made... you made everything real.”

I have such a hard time loving a female narrative, which is unfortunate as around 90% of the books I read are exactly that.  I tend to be over critical about their decisions and actions.  However, with that said there is nothing I can fault Blythe with.  She is the epitome of strong.  I not only understood every decision she made, but I thought that they were exactly how I would have handled the same situations.  Jessica is a writing queen when it comes to female characters.  Blythe is independent, strong, reliable... all the while being quite frankly torn apart inside.  Her life has been what nightmares are made of, until she meets Christopher and his sister and brothers.  It is their love and acceptance that helps Blythe start to heal.

“They, and mostly Chris, are saving me.  Or teaching me to save myself.  He is my port in the storm, and that’s why I feel comfortable with what I’m going to do.  Chris is going to have to be strong, but I have hope that the story I’m about to tell him will help me, free me even.  He is the one person with whom I will remember what I have forgotten.”

*sigh*  Chris is such an amazing character.  This is going to sound completely odd, but I think the reason I love him so much is because he is so very flawed.  It is evident early on that it is not just Blythe that has had a nightmare of a life.  Everything Chris does is for his family.  He is so caught up in that mindset that he has never allowed himself to stop and do anything solely for himself.  He is just as messed up as Blythe, and I loved being able to witness them slowly start to heal not only themselves but each other.

“He leans into me and kisses me again.  Harder this time.  He tastes like eternity, and healing, and completion.
No one else could ever kiss me like this, of that I am positive.
I could breathe him in forever.
I could fall in love forever.”

The emotions you will experience while reading Left Drowning will knock you on your ass.  I am not even joking about this.  To say my heart broke while reading this book would be a drastic understatement.  Jessica's writing has a way of immersing you into the story.  You are so wrapped up in the words and emotions... then something happens and BAM... you are rocked to your core.  This happened to me several times.

But one time in particular caused me to have to put my Kindle down, and message Jessica on Facebook just so I could let her know how she had just broke my heart.  I was an emotional basket case.  She of course simply laughed, did you not know she gets pleasure from our pain?  Well, she does... but thankfully everything comes together in the end.  So for the pain, I can forgive her.  It's kinda like the saying that you can't have a rainbow without a little rain.

“I can feel him watching me. “Stop looking at me. It’s annoying.”
“I can’t”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
Chris takes an eternity to respond. “I can’t stop thinking about you, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

This is a one off novel, so there is no need to dread any kind of cliffhanger.  Everything comes together perfectly and you will be left with a beautiful wide smile on your face.  Fear not my warnings of broken hearts, and Jessica's pleasure from our pain... this is an inspiring story of how two people who have lived through two of the worst kinds of traumas, can come together and become whole again.  Lives come full circle, and finally they realize that they don't have to be left drowning in their past, not when you have someone you can hold on to.

“What are you doing?"
"Loving you," he says simply. "If you'll let me."
"Always. God, always.”


1 comment:


    In hindsight, I probably should not have read this review and those quotes because now I want the book- no, I NEED the book. In my hands. Like, 5 minutes ago.

    Is it bad that the fact that this book is emotionally painful really excites me?? I swear, books have turned me into a masochist of some sort, but even so, I am really really excited to read this!

    Great review, Christine!


I would love to hear what you have to say! I read and try to respond to every single comment I receive. Knowing there are people out there reading is what makes this all worth it... : )