July 20, 2013
by: Jessica Park
3 Stars ★★★
Blurb ~ 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.
*ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest Review*
So I really hate to be the odd man out but I really did not like this story. It wasn’t the story necessarily but Blythe’s love interest Chris who slowly killed it for me. I know, I know, so many loved him but I just saw him as weak which is odd considering how strong he had been to take care of his siblings and survive his childhood.
“Chris has the same unromantic view of the world that I do. I suspect that neither of us wants predictable march through life that includes things like marriage, kids, and a white picket fence. We both have histories that preclude wanting to seek out tradition.”-Blythe
Blythe lost both her parents in a horrific accident. Since then, she’s barely lived, doing only what she needs to survive but not enjoying life. She certainly has suffered like no teenager should ever have to. She carries a tremendous amount of guilt in regards to her parents’ death and an injury that her brother suffered, that same fateful night. Years have passed but slowly Blythe begins to arise from the ashes. Much of this is thanks to Chris and his family, my particular favorite is Sabin.
The Sheperd family is just what Blythe needs. Having been alone and in her self-imposed hell of torture she has forgotten what it’s like to live. They bust right into that shell and pull her out kicking and screaming. Her normal weekends would consist of binge drinking and fooling around with guys but only to the point of her turning them away when things started going too far. How could she let someone see her scars, both physical and emotional when she can’t stand them herself. But the Sheperds give her not only fun and happiness but love, something that’s been missing from her life for too long. And the feeling of family and belonging is not something Blythe ever wants to lose now that she’s gotten it back.
“There is nothing like trauma to make you see the world clearly, and not that I know there is no God, I cannot go back.”-Blythe
I did not really like the story at all, the plot was interesting enough and I enjoyed the banter between the Sheperds and their family but at some point it became too much. Blythe was an admirable character and she was interesting to read about, but the whole romance with Chris was sort of a letdown. And Chris, I couldn’t like him, I found him too weak. (To everyone who read and loved Left Drowning, please don’t throw things at me.) Sure he had a shitty childhood but for someone who took the brunt of the pain in order to shield his brothers and sister, he didn’t seem to have any sense of self-perseverance. In fact he seems to purposely think he is not worth anything even considering how far he has come. At one point in the story Chris became a monumental ass-hat. In my eyes and I could not get over the fact. It’s one things for a weak heroine but Blythe who has been suffering with her issues for years manages to overcome then in a seemingly small amount of time whereas Chris doesn’t even bother to try. I think at some point too it just kept going when it should have ended. There were some minor time jumps that I felt took me away from the story a bit but it wasn’t far enough to thoroughly disconnect me.
So there were a few saving graces in Left Drowning. It was not a DNF for me but I few times I waved my kindle around hoping the end would be near.
What I Liked
Number one on my list is Sabin who is Chris’s brother. She actually meets him first and every time he is just a joy to read about. When we first meet him I was excited thinking he was Blythe’s love interest in the book. Chris was nowhere near as awesome. Let’s just hope Sabin gets his own book and soon.
“Dude, get a grip. And don’t date anyone whose name sounds similar to mine. It’s creepy.”… “Well, shit, I hadn’t thought about that. Chris, Chryslte… Oh, the tragedy! Clearly I cannot make juicy love to a woman ever again, for I would only think of you, dear brother. And that would be a sin of outlandish and vile proportions.” – Chris and Sabin
The rest of the Sheperd family was pretty awesome.
Blythe’s boldness in taking charge of her life-very commendable.
Chris is really a powerful motivator as long as he is not focused on himself. He pushes Blythe to her limits, making her face every horrific moment in her past in order to conquer her future.
I was shocked by the turn around with her brother and the truth he kept hidden. But it was bittersweet to see them work everything out and move past the accident without pointing fingers and forcing self doubt on each other.
I loved how bold Blythe became once her inner sex vixen was unleashed. Let’s just say this girl has no problem letting out her inner slut when the time calls for it.
Blythe really grows throughout the story. She develops into an even stronger character. I was surprised by how forgiving she could be in both circumstances revolving Chris and her brother.
Another thing I didn’t like was how everything seemed to work out so perfectly. I mean the world is not that small. But of course there is a connection between them that goes back, ugh, I just couldn’t believe it. It was all too unrealistic for me. As soon as I heard the story from Blythe I knew there would be an almost unbelievable connection between the two. And as a Jessica Park fan it pains me to say that. In some ways Left Drowning, drowned me with monotony and un-believability in almost 400 pages. I know, I really hate to say it but I felt let down after being sucked into the story and somewhere along the way my enthusiasm just drifted.
This story was really just a step above OK for me. I couldn’t stop reading at the same time I couldn’t stop disliking some of the characters more and more. I can’t argue that Blythe is one strong heroine and makes the story bearable, as well as the rest of the Sheperds but I was disappointed by so many minor plot points that they were all I can focus on. I am desperately hoping Sabin gets his own book so I can jump back on the Jessica Park bandwagon because Left Drowning was just not my cup of tea.