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Title: Left DrowningMy Review:
Author: Jessica Park
Series: Left Drowning #1
Published by: Brilliance Audio
Release Date: November 1, 2013
Narrator: Arielle DeLisle
Length: 13 hours and 12 minutes
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Potential Triggers: View Spoiler »Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse « Hide Spoiler
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 New Adult Challenge, Lenoreo's COYER Big Summer Birthday Bash 2018
Find it: Amazon ✩ B&N ✩ IndieBound ✩ iTunes ✩ Goodreads
13 hrs 12 mins
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.
4 stars — OK, I’m about to disappoint my friend Joooood. While I enjoyed Ms. DeLisle’s narration, she wasn’t my favourite. She was fantastic during normal narration, and with Blythe’s thoughts, but I was only meh on her other character dialogue narration. I think I’m really picky about that. It was partly that I wasn’t keen on the way she voiced Chris…it’s a personal taste thing, not something inherently wrong. But it was also partly that I occasionally found the differences in voices for characters wasn’t consistent. She was good with Blythe, Chris and Sabin…but maybe it just became too many characters after that? Sometimes her Estelle was great, but sometimes I would think it was Blythe talking, and then find out it was Estelle. Again, not a huge deal, just something I noticed. Honestly, I think it’s Ms. Park’s fault for writing so many secondary characters that had a huge part in the story! *snort*
This book went in all sorts of directions, and I LOVED so much of it, but there were also things that bugged me. So I’m going to preface the rest of this review by saying that while I can’t help but want to mention the things that bugged me, this was still a fantastic book! I really did enjoy SO MUCH of it, I just inevitably end up focusing on the things that prevented this from being a 5 star read. So read the rest of the review with that in mind…it was still 4 freaking stars…it just…wasn’t 5. *rolls eyes*
One of the major things that bugged me was the way depression was depicted and addressed….BUT I might be thinking of it in normal depression ways, not situational depression, which I know less about. It’s just that the fact that Blythe never sought any outside help irked me…it might work that way for some people, but it might also contribute to the unhealthy way we view mental health as a society. I was glad that at least the rest of the cast eventually sought out help by the end.
The rest are pretty minor…and probably just Lenore specific, you know? Like, occasionally I was uncomfortable with Blythe’s body image and the way she talked about it…and then with the running. There was this teeeeeensy tiny element that almost felt…preachy? No. Judgey? I can’t figure it out, it just twigged me I guess. I also found the relationships depicted in this story to be really unhealthy. Which…is kind of the point in some ways…but I wished they’d more openly realized that. Then there was the odd fate stuff…I’m not big into that, and it definitely felt like there was a bit of woo-woo going on at the end there. And finally, I read a friend’s review that remarked on the sex, and I laughed it off because that’s typically not a problem with me…but there really was a LOT of sex in this book. I think it stood out more in an audiobook though. When you’re listening to a 20 minute sex scene, and it’s one of many, it gets a bit much, you know?
OK, now that that’s out of the way, onwards!!!
There was a very rich and interesting set of characters in this one. They were ALL damaged, and damaged hardcore, but I still liked them all. I liked them together too, even as they were a bit crazy and occasionally unhealthy. I appreciated the way they were there for one another. I wish I could have seen more gradual growth in Blythe, but I still felt like she had an almost coming of age story. They were all likable people that I’d enjoy observing. I truly felt the depth of their caring for one another. I liked that not all their interactions were picture perfect — Sabin was all kinds of f’d up, and Thanksgiving was crazy…like super duper crazy. And the Christmas revelation with her brother was also f’d up, but I appreciated how she could be mad at him but still want to make sure he knew she still loved him.
I feel like I had other thoughts, but apparently I got sidetracked while writing this review and no longer remember. Ms. Park always writes about trauma and f’d up people really well…she enjoys taking a strange situation and delving into it. I do believe I will eventually tackle Restless Waters, but I’m not feeling a rush at this point. I liked the stability that was finally semi-achieved at the end.