July 4, 2013

Latest Read: Left Drowning

Here are the basics ...
Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Publication date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Skyscape
Category: New Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC at BEA & Netgalley (Thanks!)

Summary: Weighed 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 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 to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But soon Blythe realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history and she may be the only person who can keep him from drowning. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
It's been well over a year since I've read Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park and if you mention the book to me, I will still gush about Matty, the relationship between him and Julie and of course, his very complicated family dynamic. So as you can imagine, I was beyond excited for Left Drowning and couldn't help but have high expectations for it. I mean, I was ready to fall in love by chapter one. But, that's not exactly what happened.

There are definitely familiar themes explored in Left Drowning. There's a main guy and girl, romance and an emphasis on family but the tone of this book is much, much darker. Blythe McGuire is barely living. Ever since the death of her parents five years ago, she's just been going through the motions - she's in college, goes to classes, attends parties. But she doesn't have friends and at said parties, her only goal is to get trashed. Not to mention, her brother blames her for the accident that killed their parents. It's pretty clear early on she's depressed and she spends a lot of the book battling those emotions. But there's something about her that makes you think she has the will to pull out of it, if only she had the right push. Turns out that push comes in the form of Chris Shepherd, a guy she meets randomly one day and feels an immediate, indescribable connection to. He understands what it's like to lose a parent and he basically takes her in to his crazy family (he's got three siblings), accepting her as one of them. 

Here's what Park clearly did right: she created a memorable and lively family in the Shepherds and the sexy times between Blythe and Chris were exactly that -- pretty freaking sexy. I loved the idea of this deep, inexplicable connection between two people but also this idea that sometimes you choose the people you consider family. And Blythe definitely fit in with the Shepherds.

My main issue, which permeated the book, was the extreme turn everything took. There was too much drama and angst, too many unrealistic coincidences and situations, characters I liked but ultimately didn't love and a story that went on far longer than necessary. Even the sexy times got repetitive after a while. There was also a point when I could predict where things were headed and I thought to myself - please don't go there because this just would not happen. But, of course, it did. 

Do I recommend?: Here's the thing with Jessica Park's writing -- it's addicting. Even though I was disappointed with the direction of the book, I still finished it in one sitting. So while I probably wouldn't  recommend this one (read Flat-Out Love!), if you're already a fan I can understand why you'd want to check it out. 

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I love stories that feature found families, so I like the idea of Blythe and Chris banding together and bonding over their shared experiences. That said, the melodrama you mentioned certainly made me pause. I hate books that are mired in their own misery and that seem to execute every plot twist and trope imaginable to make it all the more difficult on their protagonists.

    I had never heard of Jessica Parks' work prior to reading this review. While I'm not quite sure that Left Drowning is the book for me, I'm now very excited to take a look at Flat-Out Love, which sounds really intriguing! :)

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  2. I remember talking to you about this book! It's unfortunate that it ended up being one that you didn't love as much as the first one from her :(

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  3. I loved Flat-Out Love SO MUCH. It's been a while since I read it, and I would still put it on my list of top 10 favorite books EVER. It makes me sad that Left Drowning isn't up to the standards of Flat-Out Love for you. Jessica Park did indeed set the bar high for herself with FOL!

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