Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Release Date: July 16, 2013
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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.
Left Drowning surprised me. From the start I was invested in the storyline. It had me both laughing and wanting to cry. At times I couldn’t put it down. I just needed to know how this was going to end.
Blythe is lost and emotionally numb after her parents die in a fire. She blames herself, her brother barely talks to her, so to cope she drinks and walked through life aimlessly. She is lost in her grief and can’t find her way out.
“God, every memory is so tied to them, and it seems impossible to separate the memories from the grief.”Until one day she happens to meet a guy who pulls her from her darkness. Chris slowly saves her. He brings her back to life and with his whole family, they heal Blythe. They made her part of something again. Something that was missing since she lost her family in the fire.
“I know what you are thinking, and that’s not why you’re here with us."
"Why am I?"
“Does there really have to be an answer to that? Sometimes it’s just right. You fit. Jesus, kid, can’t you feel it? Don’t question everything.”
I adored the whole Sheppard family. Each member was a unique character. Sabin was so full of energy and become this protective brother to Blythe. Eric was quite, but supported Blythe when she needed him. Estelle, who is not easy to love, gave her a female friendship that she hadn’t had since before the fire. And, Chris was a big mystery the entire book. You hardly saw any peeks at what made him pull away from Blythe when it got too intense for him. You could just see him pushing her away and wanted to know why.
I don’t think he would have had the same effect on Blythe if it was only Chris. Her transformation was due to each of the Sheppard crew, not just one individual. It made the book more than just the romance. Jessica Park built this wonderful family for Blythe to be part of.
“You listen to me, all right? Listen. You are my family. From the minute that you stole my coffee, you were my family. That’s for always. I will always need you, no matter how close James and I ever get. All four of you, you have changed my life.”
The romance developed slowly. Both were obviously attracted to each other, but didn’t act on their feelings. Their emotional and physically connection to each other was powerful. They built this bond that went deeper than a lot of relationships you see in New Adult. The last half of the book got really intense quickly. It had me so emotionally invested that at times I wanted to stop because I just needed to process what I just read.
“I hate that he knows me this well. I fucking hate it. And I fucking hate how much it hurts to look at him.”