Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
What's it about?
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 didn'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. (Summary from Goodreads)
I can honestly say I'm not a fan of New Adult. I haven't found any that focus on storyline instead of sexytimes, and none of them ever seem like compelling stories. This one, however, was different.
We are first introduced to Blythe several years after her parents die in a house fire, and she is still struggling with the guilt she feels. So she stumbles back to her room drunk, and the next morning wakes up early and goes to get several cups of coffee. Enter all the other characters. One steals her coffee, she meets one by the lake, they go to get lunch and meet another. Turns out, all these new friends she just made are siblings. The family dynamic between the four siblings was spot on and absolutely wonderful. They bickered and yelled and teased and loved one another, and a whole story could have been written on them alone.
They have issues of their own, but they being to help Blythe out of the stupor and sadness she's been living in, and they kind of nurture her into their funny little family. Oh, and Blythe has a minor crush on the oldest, Chris (the one she meets by the lake in the beginning). Of course, things start to escalate between the two. But I really like the way their relationship progressed, and I was 100% surprised by some things that happened between them toward the end. The author clearly thought out the novel ahead of time (always a good idea) because there were some turns I was definitely not expecting, but I love that I was shocked.
My other favorite character was Zach, the boyfriend of Eric (one of the siblings). He wasn't directly involved with the family, so he was a little bit of an outsider, like Blythe, and they didn't have a ton of time together, but they managed to have that connection that they were both trying to become a part of the family.
The other thing that really struck me wonderful was the age of all these characters. Blythe and Chris are seniors at university (thank goodness, finally found a book with some older characters). But they've been through so much individually and together, they, along with the sibling, seem much more mature, and actually act like adults. I loved this. Park's writing style was also fantastic, and each chapter fit perfectly into the next, and I could not stop reading. Even at work (whoops).
Talk to me!
How do you feel about New Adult? Are there any you recommend that are actually good stories and not just steamy sex scenes between the bad boy and the virgin?
Have you read Park's other book, Flat-Out Love? I've heard it's awesome but haven't gotten to it yet!