Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Title: Left Drowning
Author: Jessica Park
Published: July 15th 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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.

It's been almost a year since I purchased Flat-Out Love in paperback. If a book is sold here, in Estonia, where we have 1.3 mln people and bookstores are the size of a three-room apartment, it's a pretty big deal if your book is being sold here. I saw ONE copy of it in my favorite store I like to go frequently and purchased it right then and there. There was no question if I was going to leave it to someone else. No! I wanted it all to myself. I haven't read it, but I will this winter. I've already written it in my calendar lol. I've read the first four chapters and I found it enjoyable, but it truly felt like a winter read for some reason so I put it on hold. I was expecting lots of awesomeness from Left Drowning and having talked to Jessica on twitter, I felt that this was going to be awesomesauce. Oh well..

“Your parents died. Your world fell apart."
I nod.
He puts his hand on my cheek. "You were left drowning"

The story. We have the same old same old--a broken hero and heroine. It's not another rape story nor is it a 'bad boy redeemed by the good girl'. No, it has its twists and turns which make the plot unique. Blythe is suffering from a heavy weight of guilt--killing her parents, not being able to save them when they died, destroying her brother's career as a soccer player. She's empty, trying to fill herself with numbness by drinking herself to obliviation. One day she meets Sabin who becomes her best friend quite soon. Note that she doesn't have any other friends in the campus before meeting Sabin. Christopher is Sabin's brother and they meet unexpectedly during one morning and form an instant connection. Blythe finds solace in Chris's brothers Eric and Sabin and their sister Estelle. They're all broken to pieces and their friendships starts to heal every single one of them in their own time, however, their suffers are far from over.

My thoughts. Ahhh, this is so hard for me to write. I didn't form any connections with Blythe whatsoever. She wasn't relatable to me and even though I believed her connection with Chris, I didn't feel the love. When they meet, Blythe spills the beans about her guilt in the first 20 minutes. They fit together well, I agree, but that was so soon. They fall in love against all odds, but don't get involved for quite some time. When they finally did, Chris screwed up so big that I became to loathe his character. It isn't a critique to Jessica's writing by any means, it's just something personal towards Chris. I understand his reasons, but my goddddd, he was such a jerk by doing this. Scratch that!! I didn't understand at all. How.. Oh, man! I didn't like the insta-love either. The reason behind their instant connection is explained later on, but it still didn't feel natural to me.

It isn't only about love though. Blythe forms connections to all of Chris's siblings. The stongest connection she had was with Sabin. I didn't like his character. I didn't get his humour, I didn't laugh at any of his jokes and their friendship wasn't that well developed for me. I don't get how they could form such a great friendship without us having seen it. It was too quick just as Blythe's relationship with Chris. There were 4 relationships I enjoyed: Estelle and Blythe, Eric and Blythe, Eric and Zach and, last but definitely not least, James and Blythe. That last one was the reason I kept turning the pages. Blythe and her brother James were the heart of the story for me. I didn't cry a single tear during this read, but I was close to tears when I read about these two. Their story is so raw and the road to healing was painful. I was happy with the way things worked out between them by the end of the book. I had my doubts if they were going to make it okay as being able to be brother and sister one day again and I was glad that they overcame their issues.

Overall, I do think that my disappointment may come down to many things. One of them being hype and the other being expectations. It's not just another broken characters get together story, it's a journey of healing and quite an original take on the shattered pasts. I just wasn't able to form connections with any of the characters and the best part of the story for me was the MC and her brother. I think it would have worked better as a dual point of view because Chris didn't steal my heart and he remained a mystery to me even after all the revelations we got. Perhaps having a look into his mind would have given me some sort of a connection with him. It wasn't a total fail for me and I'm still everexcited to read Flat-Out Love. Jessica is a good writer and in this case I'm pretty sure it was ME, not the book. I advise you still to give it a try and if you want a different opinion, Rachel at The Reader's Den absolutely adored this pretty and her review is gorgeous. Read on, lovelies!

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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  1. LOL I know how it is when you see some book translated, cause here is the same. With small bookshops when I see some YA I feel I could fly. Anyhow I hope you'll enjoy Flat-Out Love. It was a really good read.
    Now onto this. I have heard only amazing things about this one and I can say that I'm really surprised. I like books with broken characters just because it's so wonderful when you see their scars heal slowly. Unfortunately without that it's not the same.
    Great review Siiri :)

  2. Oh no! I'm sorry this didn't work out for you, Siiri! It's always a shame when you have so much hope for a book, especially for a book that has a lot of hype. This is why I tend to ignore hype sometimes, but in some cases, you can't help but have great expectations. I had the same problem with All Our Yesterdays, although that wasn't as bad as this one.
    It's a shame you couldn't relate to Blythe at all. Also, I dislike romances when I can't feel the chemistry between the couple.
    Anyways, I hope your next read is better, Siiri!
    Thank you for the honest review. I will not be picking this one up.

  3. sigh.......
    Something makes me not want to read this. I think it's the same old/same old aspect. Plus the fact Chris does something so horrible everyone is upset with him, but somehow he's still the best. I dunno, maybe I'm just rambling about something I know nothing of.
    Great review, Siiri!

  4. This book sounds like it would be good. Plus the same old story read a thousand times with different characters just sucks! Thanks for the honest opinion Siiri :) It's appreciated!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  5. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you, Siiri! I always feel bad when someone doesn't like something I've read and raved about because I feel a little responsible! *hides in corner* I totally understand your feelings though, Chris MAJORLY pissed me off, too. Great honest review, Siiri.

  6. AW, sorry to hear that you couldn't connect with Blythe.

  7. It's a shame that this didn't really work for you, hon. I still need to give Flat Out Love a try - I've heard nothing but good things! - but I'll probably skip this one for now. Sometimes hype can end up having a negative effect on me too. But it's hard not to be excited about a book when everyone else is. Thanks for the honest thoughts! I hope your next book is more satisfying. :)

  8. Oh no, this one definitely sounds like a miss-fire for you. I've actually heard mixed things about Flat-Out Love, but I think it came more from YA readers, so you'll probably love that one even though this didn't work out for you.

  9. Oh no!! I loved this book! I can see where you're coming from though; I felt like it was a little insta love but for once I actually could look past it. Sorry you didn't enjoy it :/

  10. "bookstores are the size of a three-room apartment, it's a pretty big deal if your book is being sold here." <--- If I ever get published, I'm going to use you as my success-ratings ;).

    "I've read the first four chapters and I found it enjoyable, but it truly felt like a winter read for some reason so I put it on hold." <-- I iz confused. So when did you read this one? Are you like a year ahead when it comes to your blog reviews o.O?

    "When they meet, Blythe spills the beans about her guilt in the first 20 minutes." <-- The guilt part is definitely weird. I like it when the secret about their pasts doesn't stay secret for long, but to confess your deepest feelings like guilt is something I probably wouldn't be able to get into either.

    "When they finally did, Chris screwed up so big that I became to loathe his character. It isn't a critique to Jessica's writing by any means, it's just something personal towards Chris." <-- You've got me really curious about what he did. Did he cheat on her o.O?

    Even when insta-love is explained, honestly I stil find hard to understand. No explanation can make you go back and change how you felt when you originally read the story, you know?

    :( Not forming connections to many of the characters is the worst. At least you think that she is a good writer and that you are still excited to read Flat-Out Love though. I hope that one works out better for you than this one did :).

  11. I really liked Flat-Out-Love and I have this book on my shelf, but I've been hesitant to read it because of reviews like yours. I don't usually like insta-love in a contemporary story like this, though it depends on how it was portrayed. I'm also nervous that I wouldn't be able to forgive this guy for his behavior either. Whatever it is, if it made you react that strongly, I'm not sure how I will handle it personally. I also think it's weird when a character doesn't seem to have any friends, and then all of a sudden a book begins and she meets someone she connects with instantly. I'm curious about this still, but worried I'll hate it. hmm. Will have to be careful about when I read it.