Genre: New Adult, Contemporary/Romance
“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.”
― Jessica Park, Left Drowning
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.
*Warning this contains mature content and also physical abuse*
I think that if I didn’t listen to this on audiobook I wouldn’t have beeen able to make it through it. In the end the book was emotional, and completely heartbreaking, but there were some cringe worthy moments and definitely some tough parts to get through. For me the saving grace of this book were the characters!
Park created a story that was an emotional roller coaster that covered a lot of tough and heartbreaking subjects. For me the writing was just subpar. There were parts of the story I felt were a little unrealistic and some parts (mainly the sexual encounters) that were rough. The sexy time scenes were a bit repetitive and for me the “dirty talk” was funny and cringe worthy. I think it was even funnier because I was listening to it on audiobook. Those part definitely made me lose some interesting in the story. Also I have a weird thing with pet names and those part made me cringe a lot as well. That being said, the other parts that were not the romance and love story were extremely emotional. The loss and abuse really added a layer and complexity to the story. Some of the love story felt weird to me, but I liked how they helped each other grow and that being together made each other better and whole for the most part (when they weren’t emotionally hurting each other)
The characters saved this book for me. Blythe was my least favorite out of the lot of them. Although she had her moments and definitely grew to be a strong and fierce female character, I felt her to be a little whiney and naive. The Shepard kids were a blast and had such a great dynamic! They each had their own quirks and great big personalities. Sabin was by far my favorite! He was funny and always looking out for Blythe. He was one of those guys that you want to be your best friend and it breaks your heart to see him hurting. The twins were also fantastic! Estelle was definitely a badass! I got really invested in the characters and their personal stories that it made up a little for the rest of the things I did not enjoy.
Overall I thought this was an okay New Adult novel. It is heavy in the mature content and deals with the darker subjects of abuse, depression and loss. The romance at times was good and for me sometimes it just didn’t work it was just too toxic of a relationship at times, but there was so much going on in the book that it wasn’t always the main focus. I great enjoyed the characters and their growth and found what they accomplished and went through to be very inspirational.