Drowning Instinct

Drowning Instinct

3.94 (4,508 ratings by Goodreads)
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There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord's first sixteen years were not exactly a fairy tale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother--until he shipped off to Iraq. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and everyone cries for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain...magnetism.

And there are stories where it's hard to be sure who's a prince and who's a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds--and the rules.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 142 x 193 x 33mm | 476g
  • Minneapolis, United States
  • English
  • 0761377522
  • 9780761377528
  • 749,007

Review quote

At 16, Jenna Lord has suffered enough misfortune to last a lifetime. Badly burned in the fire that destroys her grandfather's house, she subsequently suffers a breakdown and is briefly institutionalized. Her homelife isn't much better: she calls her plastic-surgeon father 'Psycho Dad, ' her mother abuses alcohol, and her beloved older brother and only confidant is in Iraq. To make things even worse, she cuts herself. Jenna is figuratively drowning in disorder until she enrolls in a new school and meets her chemistry teacher, a caring man who strives to help her. Jenna's gratitude turns quickly to love and things get...complicated. Bick, a child psychiatrist, writes about dysfunction with a professional's insight, and she goes to great pains to create believable characters--too much so, making the novel excessively long. Nevertheless, she manages to avoid the didactic and dramatizes dysfunction and disorder in ways that will attract readers and offer opportunities for classroom discussion. --Booklist-- "Journal" (2/15/2012 12:00:00 AM)
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Rating details

4,508 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 36% (1,618)
4 34% (1,552)
3 20% (915)
2 7% (296)
1 3% (127)

Our customer reviews

I finished this book earlier this week and have delayed writing my review because I was so conflicted when I first completed it. Usually, when I allow myself to step away from a book and get some perspective on the story, it helps me to make up my mind about how I really feel about things. Unfortunately, I'm not any clearer now than I was when I finished it! My mixed feelings don't concern the actual writing. As I've found in the past with Draw The Dark and Ashes, both by Ilsa J Bick, the writing was powerful. She creates another vivid character in Jenna Lord and Kathleen McInerney voiced her wonderfully. Some of the beautifully crafted language was slightly at odds with the structure as the book is meant to be a narration of events, by sixteen year old Jenna, into a dictaphone. However, if you allow yourself to suspend your disbelief a little, then this is no biggie. My ambivalence is primarily caused by the subject matter. As you can probably guess from the blurb, the story is centred around the developing relationship between Jenna and her teacher. "...there are stories where it's hard to be sure who's a prince and who's a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)" This part of the blurb sort of sums up my problem. I just don't know what to think about Jenna and Mitch's relationship! You might assume from the premise that Mitch is a monster or a predator, but he wasn't. Or at least, Jenna didn't think he was. The first person narrative works excellently here because Jenna might be honest, but that doesn't mean she's reliable. I liked the book - I'm going to give it plenty of stars - but I liked it because of how brilliantly Bick's writing draws you in. I didn't like the story, I'll admit that, but I'm not sure you're meant to. I think it's one of those books where you read (or listen) in wide eyed horror. I found myself grimacing over much of the narration because I found it dark. But the really dark thing about the story is that, sometimes, I found myself rooting for them! I think this is going to be a controversial book because of the YA audience. People will assume that young adults won't have the intelligence or the sophistication to understand that Jenna's narrative is biased. Maybe they'll see this book's message as one of hope for their own schoolgirl crushes or an endorsement for the old clich�???�??�?�© that love can conquer all. In a way, this is true... but I think that any audience, young adult or not, has its dopes. Overall, this was a fascinating, if disturbing, read. It's a book that you really need to read yourself before judging or making assumptions.show more
by Laura Williams
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