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.
*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.
Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+
When we first meet Blythe McGuire, she's not living, she's barely existing at a small college in Wisconsin. Still grieving over the loss of her parents in a tragic fire four years ago, she shuts everyone out, spending her time going to class and drinking her nights away. She has an estranged relationship with her brother as she believes he blames her for the loss of their parents, so she is, on all accounts, alone.
Enter the Shepherd family. Y'all, if there's ever a fictional family that I want to be a part of, it's the Shepherds. The first Shepherd Blythe meets is Sabin, the flamboyant theatre major who helps draw Blythe out of her shell. In the same day, she meets his sexy older brother, Chris, and they fall into an easy friendship that soon turns to more.
Blythe and Chris are both jaded due to circumstances of their past. As Blythe begins to fall for Chris, it's evident that he feels the same, but it continuously resistant to pursue anything further than a friendship. He's so hot and cold that it's exhausting wondering which Chris is going to show up.
Can Blythe and Chris get over their tragic pasts in order to have a beautiful future, or has too much damage been done for them to overcome it in the name of love?
This book deserves way more than five stars.
This book deserves way more than five stars.
I finished Left Drowning three days ago and I am still literally at a loss as to what to say about this book. No words that I can type could ever give this book the justice that it deserves. This book resonated so deeply within my soul that I will never forget a single moment of it, and I don't want to. Jessica Park did an amazing job in bringing every emotion I could ever possibly feel to the surface. She took my heart, ripped it out of my chest, stomped on it, stabbed it, and tore it apart. When I didn't think it was possible, she repaired my heart in the most beautiful fashion and I finished this book with the cheesiest, largest grin that could ever grace my face, while crying tears of joy at the same time. Seriously. This. Book. Is. Incredible.
Blythe and Chris have undeniable chemistry that sizzles through the pages. The way that they are immediately drawn to each other is beautiful, as is the progression of their relationship. They truly are each other's saving graces. They're like puzzle pieces; they're meant solely for each other to create the perfect fit. I can't begin to form the words to express how much I love the relationship of Blythe and Chris.
At one point Chris utterly and totally destroys me and I was left wondering...
Blythe's strength as she continued to heal was extremely admirable. She's now at the top of my list of favorite female heroines. I felt everything she did. I felt her pain, her sorrow, and her angst. I also felt her falling in love, her pain healing, and the familial love she felt for Sabin, Estella, Eric, and James. She may have been a zombie for the past four years, but with a little bit of help, she rejoined the land of the living, and I loved going on this journey with her.
I also need to give a special shout out to Sabin. He was probably the best secondary character that I've ever encountered in the literary world. He was just as important of a puzzle piece in putting Blythe back together again. He was the instigator, the push, the spark that she needed to begin living her life again. He was her person. And it was undeniably beautiful.
I read Left Drowning on my birthday, and I'm pretty sure I freaked my husband out. If there's ever a book to make you ugly cry, this one is it! After crying on the couch for over an hour, I made my husband go to the store and buy me a bottle of wine because my heart seriously needed some liquid courage to continue this story. Jessica Park's writing style is so effortless, and she writes in such a way that the characters pop off of the page and instantly grasp onto your heart. I connected with this book in a way that I haven't experienced in a very long time.
Don't let me scare you with my talks of all the crying and emotional wreck that I was while reading this book. This payoff is more than worth it in the end. If you take only one recommendation from me for the rest of my blogging life, Left Drowning needs to be your choice. I'll even mail you a gift package of Kleenex tissues and chocolate to help you cope. I'd send wine, but I'm not really good at sharing that. I'll even send a few free hugs your way. You're going to need them.