When Jessica Park mentioned on her Twitter that she’ll be sending eBook ARC copies of Left Drowning to non-US/Canadian bloggers who will message her for a request via email, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to be one of the privileged bloggers to have received an ARC. To be honest, this is my very first time to get an ARC and I was undeniably super duper excited to read it. (Thank you, Ms. Jessica Park!)
Left – US/Canada cover; Right – International cover
Here’s the plot description from Goodreads:
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.
*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.
Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+
A lot of things have crossed my mind after reading Left Drowning. I have so many things to say, but I’m not sure if my written words will justify the overall feelings I have towards this book. Oh well, here goes.
At the beginning of the story, readers are already introduced to Blythe’s devastation over something that’s beyond her strength. Her process of coping with it seems unacceptable in my terms, but as I dig deeper into her past as elaborated in the story, I begin to understand her actions. And then comes Chris who drives her hormones and who also seems to have a dark past, as well as Chris’ siblings who become part of her family. Who would’ve thought that their lives would be intertwined in an unexpected way?
Jessica Park designs her characters distinctively from the ones I’ve read about in all the other books. One thing I’ve noticed in her characterization is the characters’ level of maturity. Their reactions to certain situations and the way they speak have me forget their age. I would think that they’re adults already when in fact, our age gap isn’t that far, if my calculations are correct. I just adore the bond the McGuires and Shepherd siblings share with one another. As much as the Shepherds influence Blythe to become a better person, Blythe has also influenced the Shepherds. All throughout the story, I keep rooting for each of them, hoping that all they’ve been through will eventually come to an end.
Moreover, I love how the book isn’t just about romance and Blythe and Chris’ intense sexual drives that they have with one another. Jessica Park also succeeds in focusing the story on friendship and family as well, despite the imperfections and evident faults of the characters. She is able to balance all these elements and crafts a unique story that revolves around seven nearly-adult characters, while tackling serious issues that also exist in real life. As I am reading the book, I slowly come to empathize with the characters. When they are drowned by their past, it seems like I drown with them, too. And just as they slowly start to breathe once again, a sigh of relief comes out from me as well.
I am truly impressed with Jessica Park’s writing style. It is so inviting that I am easily drawn into the story. I love how she uses metaphors and symbolism to imply deeper meanings behind the surface that can serve as life-learning lessons. Left Drowning has surely gotten me into a roller coaster ride full of strong emotions. At the end of the day, the book gives me the opportunity to feel sadness, happiness, humor, disappointment, anger, grief, hope, and love altogether. This will not let you down.
Left Drowning will be available starting tomorrow, July 16!