Monday, June 24, 2013

ARC Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left Drowning

Title: Left Drowning
Published: July 16th, 2013
Author: Jessica Park
Pages: 399

From Goodreads:
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+

My Thoughts:

When you're caught in a rip current you're told not to fight the current. Instead you swim parallel to the shore or float until you're taken out of the dangerous waters. Left Drowning is like getting caught in the worst rip current on the stormiest of days. I dove into the emotions that hit me like ten foot waves, and I was begging for calm waters at some points, but I couldn't let go of this story. I came out of the book battered and bruised, but completely satisfied.

“There is no set pattern to grief. There is no time frame that dictates where and how you'll feel what you need.”

Left Drowning is heavy on grief, moving on, and forgiveness. There's so much guilt held inside by most of the characters it's nearly overwhelming. I just wanted everyone to let go of the pain the past had brought them. Moving on is something all the characters are struggling with, and that plays into forgiveness. First forgiving themselves, and then each other.

“Death and grief make everyone around you vanish because death and grief are intolerable.”

Blythe has been barreling down a road of solitude since her parents death, barely living. Blythe is complicated. She's the kind of girl that might seem weak to some, but all I saw was strength. She is definitely a fighter. Her past has been dragging her down for so long that she doesn't know how to come out of it. After losing her parents, and hardly speaking to her brother[you find out why], she felt completely alone. Meeting Chris and his family makes her feel like she finally has somewhere to belong again, a family that wants her. Her progression in the story, working through grief, guilt, and moving on, touched me on a personal level.

""He tastes like eternity, and healing, and completion."

Chris is magnetic. He's sweet and kind and sexy as hell. Chris seems like a perfect sexy guy, but his past is burning him up inside and he doesn't know how to deal with it. When he meets Blythe he sees her demons and he is terrified because he is reminded of the demons he carries inside. Chris and Blythe's relationship is a lot of pushing and pulling and limit testing. Chris' fear of feeling keeps him pretty much alienated, except to his family. Blythe is the first person to make him feel something and their undeniable connection makes him question everything.

I have said a million times how crazy I am about secondary characters. If I can fall in love with more than just the main characters I'm a happy girl. JP definitely made me a happy girl. I loved Chris' whole family. Sabin had me laughing like crazy and getting a little swoony too[he almost stole the show a couple times]. Estelle is like the bitchy, vulgar[fuck yes!], awesome girl we all want to be friends with. Eric is the calm and cool brother, who kind of stays in the background. James, Blythe's brother, is somewhat of a complex character too. Each have their own secrets and stories that add to the total picture without taking anything away.

“What's a little risk now and then?”

Holy twists and sex. The steamy scenes in this book had me reaching for a cold glass of water. I was practically panting over the descriptions. And I wanted to scream “FINALLY! Someone who knows how to use adult words in a sex scene!”. Just get down to business! Jessica is blunt and vulgar, but not to be shocking. It's just being true to life. But, that wasn't what made up this book. What really made it[besides the amazing characters] were the twists. I really wasn't expecting what I got. I had a feeling something was going to happen, but I didn't realize what it would be until right before it happened. The twists were absolutely amazing and heartbreaking.

“You saved me. And I wish that you would let me save you.”

It's been a while since I've felt something different for a book. There are a lot of books that tackle tough subjects, but this was done with just the right amount finesse that it doesn't become a depressing read. This book sparked something in me that made me passionate again. This book is why I read. Books that take up inside your heart, bringing along the characters with all their triumphs and heartbreaks, are the ones that will be revisited and remembered forever. This is one of those books.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good NA novel with a lot of heartache, delicious steamy scenes, and an ending that will bring you to tears.

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