I had Left Drowning by Jessica Park in my possession for a while, and for some reason, I kept putting it off. I loved Jessica’s quirky YA/NA Flat Out Love (my review) and Flat Out Matt (my review), but sometimes I feel like I need to work my way to a NA book like Left Drowning, and be prepared for the emotional upheaval. Well, I’m an idiot.
Because Left Drowning was one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Blythe has been drowning. Drowning in her own sadness and guilt for four long years, since her parents died. In her last year of college, she is alone, no friends, and mostly estranged from her younger brother. Until one day it all changes. She meets a charming, funny, entertaining and endearing student, Sabin. I dare you to read this without totally loving Sabin yourself. After her chance whirlwind meeting, and making a new friend, Blythe feels energized and heads to the lake for the first time.
There she sees him. A beautiful, strong guy, skipping stones into the lake. And she can’t take her eyes off of him.
When they meet and she realizes they have gone to the same school for four years, and she has never met him, or anyone else for that matter, she begins the process of healing.
“Four years. Jesus, I have been like this for four fucking years? I start to wonder what I have missed out on. Who I have missed out on.”
As they skip stones together, something happens that breaks down all of Blythe’s walls, and she has a panic attack, where memories of her parent’s death engulf her.
“Breathe into it,” he says again. His voice helps, his touch helps. “Let it happen. I’m here.”
I have spent four years without touch and affection and without wanting any, but now there is Christopher Shepherd, the boy who has changed all the rules.
They spend the whole day together, and she learns that Chris is there at school with his two brothers, one of which is her new friend Sabin, and his sister. Immediately, Blythe has 4 new BFFs.
I have to say, I just LOVED all 4 of them. They lost their mother years before, and don’t talk much about their father. Outwardly they are a happy, close-knit family who always hang out together. And as Blythe hangs out more with them, she begins to realize that they may be just as broken as she is. Blythe and Chris though are just perfect for each other.
“We both know that there is no God.”
“No,” he agrees. “There is no God. Not for us.”
Blythe and Chris want each other, and have a hard time keeping their hands off one another. Blythe, feeling alive again for the first time, touches herself thinking about him.
“I might just stay here and masturbate all the time, classes be damned”
She begins running to block out some of her thoughts, but Chris heals her.
But for him, it’s the opposite. She is just too much. She brings his emotions to the surface, emotions he just can’t handle.
“I went too far with you and I shouldn’t have. I’m not really boyfriend material.” …
“Did you ever consider that I’m not girlfriend material?”…
“Yes, you are. You’re outstanding girlfriend material. I’m the one who’s all kinds of fucked up. Trust me.”
The first half the book was wonderful, a great build up, a wonderful story. We get to know and love the characters. Then BAM! Holy crap, my heart, it just totally broke.
“I want more than anything for the power of us together to be stronger than the power of the damage. If I still believed in God, in anything, I would be praying.”
I am going to fight with everything that I am to save him and to save us, but I won’t be able to do it alone.
I was so in love with the family, and how Blythe came alive with them. There were a few twists and turns that although mostly predictable, were amazing to watch unfold. There was also passionate and well written love scenes. There was so much story, so much going on, it was almost too much, but yet I couldn’t put it down, I read it holding my breath.
“I am hit with the enormity of the impact that this family is having in my life. They, and mostly Chris, are saving me. Or teaching me to save myself. “
I’m not big on twitter, but I just wanted to scream from the rooftops how much I loved this book, so I tweeted away:
Holy fuck. I have so much to do but I’m busy bawling my eyes out from Left Drowning by @jessicapark24 #icantstopreading
51% done with Left Drowning, by Jessica Park: Loving the crap out of this book!
It’s 3:36am and I’m still reading. @jessicapark24, it’s all your fucking fault. #leftdrowning is unputdownable.
94% now….omg so fucking good.
Fuck. I can’t finish reading through the tears. @jessicapark24
I promise, the tears are so worth it, good, bad, and ugly. I laughed, I cried, I swooned. Left Drowning just had everything I love in a book. The characters were awesome and I fell for each of them, there was love, angst, heartbreak, tragedy, a group of friends I wanted to hang out with, fun times, giggles, great sex, a swoonworthy hero, and healing. Lots of healing.
It took me two weeks to write this review because I just don’t feel like I can do it justice. I swear though, if I reviewed it right away I would have been gushing even more about it.
“He tastes like eternity, and healing, and completion.”
- I love all the characters, especially Sabin.
- There was so much in this book. So much of everything–love, pain, healing, forgiveness, family, tragedy, and it came together beautifully.
- Jessica has a way of writing smart, quirky, realistic characters like nobody else.
- The dialogue is rich and comes to life.
- So many great quotes it killed me not to use half of them.
- A unique story with a few twists.
- I loved how one of the characters, who was gay, was not portrayed in the stereotypical gay way, and it was never a big deal, everyone loved the couple.
- The sex was well written and hot.
- There were tons of little funny moments throughout the book.
- How all the little pieces came together in the end.
- A few too many random coincidences, but that’s actually what made the book special, so scratch that lol.
Rating: 5+++++ Stars, Heat 4 H
Left Drowning pulled every emotion possible out of me. It was so well written that I feel no review can do it justice. You can tell this one took a lot out of the author to write. Jessica Park knows how to write a unique story that is completely addicting. She took what could be depressing and made it delightful. She knows just when you’ve had too much and turns it around on you. I think the dedication of Left Drowning really speaks well for the book.
“This book is for everyone who has survived. You are not broken. You can love and be loved, despite what may feel like the eternally brutal nature of the world. Even when you’re drowning and so far under, there is always time to reach for someone who will teach you how to breathe again.”
Left Drowning is an Amazon exclusive. But I’m telling you now, download the Free kindle app for any device to read this book. It is so worth it.
Purchase Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Jessica Park has offered to give a signed Paperback of Left Drowning with a Matthews College shirt, as well as a Kindle copy of Left Drowning to two lucky winners. Just follow the rafflecopter instructions below.