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 16 years were not exactly a fairy tale. 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 Iraq. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire. There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and everyone cries 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.
©2012 Ilsa Bick (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This book makes the short list for the Top Ten Most Disturbing books I have ever read. It's common for a writer to tackle a dark pertinent issue......In Drowning Instinct, Ilsa Bick just about tackles them all.
The audiobook medium is perfect for Drowning Instinct. It is written in first person point of view, and has the primary character speaking her story into a tape recorder. The audiobook is like having the recorder dropped into your hands.
The waters in Drowning Instinct are dark. In some places churning, and in some malevolent...be careful...it will pull you under.
So, this is actually the first time I'm writing a review - even though I'm addicted to all kind of audio books (in particular YA paranormal romance, just keeping it light and delighting), so I was a little bit sceptic about purchasing this book (whithout a credit, I might mention) - but it was a good investment:
First of all: If you're looking for a nice teen love-story, that's not your audiobook.
The sotry is disturbing - but beautifully so. It's about love, taboos, desires - very basic desires indeed - like being loved and accepted just the way you are, however screwed up that might be - but what the author does, is to light up the shadows, not taking the simple road of black and white, but looking at those aspects of live, which can't be categorized into simple drawers, adding layers to it and telling the only version of truth there is - from a very personal view, the view of one person - Jenna (no idea how to write her name) - she's a
Mitch. He is such a parodix. You cant tell if his actions are out of true love or a sickness of his own.
Most heart breaking is the end. Because no matter how thing got so messed up and how many lies are told. The bottom line is the love is so great it trumps it all and rips your heart out.
It did it all. You feel such profound emotions for all the messed up cast who are the blind leading the blind. Everyone is so messed up in their own way that inflecting more pain and screwing up seems inevitable.
This is a dark book, and listening to it is the perfect medium for it because Jenna is confessing her story on cassette tape. At sixteen years old, Jenna Lorde has a damaged past. After being in a psych ward and home-schooled she is now attending a public school where she befriends her chemistry teacher. I can't tell you how many times I thought, "Boundaries, Mr. Anderson, boundaries!" But soon there aren't any. Jenna has her secrets, but guess what, so does Mr. Anderson. I liked the ending...it was emotional and the last bit I heard was perfect.
After reading Katie’s review of Drowning Instinct over at Blook Girl, I picked up the audio version, and I’m so glad I did.
Jenna is rescued from a near-drowning and while in the hospital, an officer gives her a tape recorder and asks her to record what happened, how she ended up in the frozen lake. So she starts at the beginning: her troubled home life, her arrival at a new school and everything that happens after. She pulls no punches and spares no details.
Jenna is a hot mess. She’s had an unfortunate upbringing which includes a fire that nearly killed her, being molested, living with a drunk mother and a super controlling father, being abandoned by her military-bound brother and self cutting. Unsurprisingly, she has some issues. She was a likable character, though. She had her moments of whining or brattiness, but she deserves some slack.
The infamous teacher, Mitch, well… I had some issues. He’s relatable and nice enough, and I understand he has his own issues, but he’s an adult. I’ve seen many reviews that say this story shows it’s not all black and white, that there are some gray areas, but I disagree. An adult is an adult is an adult. He should know better, no matter what’s going on in his life. But, let’s put that aside for now and just go with it, for the sake of this review. As a general character, I did like Mitch. He was kind and friendly and I think he truly wanted to be there for Jenna, who clearly needed someone to be on her side.
The other characters were there to be mean or bad to our 2 main characters, so we’d feel sorry for them. And they succeeded. They weren’t full characters, more like caricatures of people. But that’s okay, they served their purpose and I really just wanted to spend more time with Mitch and Jenna. Because even though I would oppose such a relationship in real life, I loved reading about it! They had some great scenes together, very sweet and romantic (if maybe a bit clinical).
Ilsa J. Bick has a way with words (not a surprise to me, having read her book Ashes), but I was still impressed with the way she weaved the story together. There was a bit of action, a lot of mystery, some romance and even witty dialogue. Several times I found myself anxious to know what happened next, and this was the only frustrating part about listening to the audio version – where I would normally skip a bit to get to the next scene, because I just couldn’t wait, I was forced to wait for the narrator to get there.
Speaking of the narrator, Kathleen McInerney did a fabulous job of bringing the story to life. At first I thought she sounded too young, but it worked and she soon became Jenna. Also, since the entire story is Jenna speaking into a microphone, there was a certain “rightness” of listening to the story, as opposed to reading it.
This is sometimes a hard story, for the subject matter, but it’s an interesting one. The writing is taut and kept me on the edge of my seat many times. And you know that bit from the book’s summary:
"There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)"
Keep that bit in mind.
This book started out as a twisted youth book. Have to admit, I could not see that this would continue on the track it should by premise, but it did. Kind of shocking and taboo. Gentle, gentle book. Taking you slowly so you are not so opposed to the relationships and emotions.
I never thought an ice reunion would make me cry. Surprise.
Jenna was amazing, Mr. Anderson...
This book took us on a surface ride which would make you think young adult nonsense, twisted with some adult surface scratched themes, then suddenly you plunge.
I liked the book - I'm going to give it plenty of stars - but I liked it because of how brilliantly Bick's writing draws you in. I didn't like the story, I'll admit that, but I'm not sure you're meant to. I think it's one of those books where you read (or listen) in wide eyed horror. I found myself grimacing over much of the narration because I found it dark. But the really dark thing about the story is that, sometimes, I found myself rooting for them!
I think this is going to be a controversial book because of the YA audience. People will assume that young adults won't have the intelligence or the sophistication to understand that Jenna's narrative is biased. Maybe they'll see this book's message as one of hope for their own schoolgirl crushes or an endorsement for the old cliché that love can conquer all. In a way, this is true... but I think that any audience, young adult or not, has its dopes.
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