Left Drowning

Title: Left Drowning
Author: Jessica Park
Pages: 399
Genre: New Adult, fiction, romance
Series? No
Publisher: Skyscape (July 2013)
Rating: 5.5/6 – Loved it so much!

Synopsis from cover: 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.

My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: I was so, so excited that this finally came out! It’s a nice thick book, and I curled up in my blankets, played my music, and lost myself in this book for a solid four hours. And I fell in love. So hard. Not with the couple, but with every single main character – all seven of them. Possible Spoilers Ahead.

What did I think about the characters? I could really go on about all of these people. They’re just so special and unique, and even in the large cast of characters Park made each one stand out with their own voice: they never get lost in the noise. I was emotionally attached to all of them, and truly enjoyed all of their parts equally.

The best part about these people is that they all come from some pretty crappy circumstances, and they acknowledge that. They can’t defeat their struggles on their own, and they rely on each other. The relationships, both platonic and romantic, were based on strength and love, even when they’re falling apart.

And the concept and plot? Concept: Take seven broken people and put them all together, and you’re going to get some heart-tugging drama. It was never overwhelming, though, and the drama was balanced and spread out well over the entirety of the book. 

Plot: Love, love, love! I don’t think I can express how much I appreciated the fact that all of the events of the book were spread over about two and a half years. Everything was very organic, rolling out at a natural pace and never forcing something to work. While I can forgive the “love at first sight” trope, it’s a refreshing pleasure when a couple takes a few months to realize their feelings for each other.

What about the writing style? I was sucked in from the very first page, and taken on a roller coaster that extended through the very last page. I felt every emotion, and was completely invested in the characters. I don’t often cry in the middle of the book (usually it’ll be at the end, if I do), but this one had me shed a few tears in the middle of the story. [I love how I judge a book based on how much it makes me cry. I might need to get a new system…]

Anything else you’d like to add? This wasn’t part of the synopsis, but it’s on the dedication page, and honestly it was the most touching passage I’ve read in a long time. I wanted to share it with you here (and I’m going to print it out and tape it on my mirror): 

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.


7 thoughts on “Left Drowning

  1. I’ve been waiting for your review of this book, as I’m thinking I should give this author another chance. Maybe I’ll download the sample to my Nook. I’m utterly amazed at how many books you read – and really jealous! I’m a dreadfully slow reader.

    • You should! And then let me know what you think 😀

      Oh I’m glad you feel that way (not the jealousy part)! Half the time I’m hoping no one thinks I’m spamming because I put out so many posts but I just love to read!

  2. Okay, this is embarrassing, but I noticed the genre category was new adult, and romance. It sounds REALLY amazing and I’d like to try this one out, but if the romance goes any further than passionate kissing and if there’s strong language, I probably won’t be able to read it. My mom doesn’t like me reading romances (I’m only 13, well, almost 14), but I thought that if this one doesn’t have too many details I might could try it out. Would you recommend this book for someone like myself or not? This is really embarrassing because I know a LOT of teens my age read romances all the time and don’t think anything about it, but I can’t. :$ So if you could give me an idea, I’d be REALLY appreciative. Thanks!! 🙂

    • First of all, don’t be embarrassed! I accidentally picked up a Harlequin novel when I was your age – and I regret it! It’s up to you to decide when you want to delve into that sort of reading – don’t let anyone pressure you otherwise!

      There is frequent strong language, as well as two descriptive scenes that I remember. It also deals with some heavy subject matter like child abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and lasting trauma. I actually think there’s a “17 and up” tag on the back of the book.

      So, to answer your question, I think you should wait. And there’s nothing wrong with that! I would actually recommend a Sarah Dessen for you, if you want a nice romance/teen book without all the smut: Keeping the Moon was the first I read from her, and one of my favorites!

      Hopefully this helps 😀 (and don’t worry; my sister has similar warning signs when she’s picking a book!)

      • Awesome! Thank you so much! You’ve really helped a lot. I will definitely check out Keeping the Moon. Thanks for the recommendation–I would like to read a good teen romance. I’m not one for the zombies, werewolves, vampires, or dystopian worlds that pretty much everyone in my generation loves to read about in their romances (ex: Twilight, Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, etc). Once I get around to reading it (I have a zillion books that I’d like to read xD), I will let you know how I liked it. 😀 Thanks so much!!! –Mary Jane

  3. Pingback: A-Z Bookish Survey | The Thousand Lives

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