Drowning Instinct - Ilsa J. Bick
Rating: 5/5 stars
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 fairytale. 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 Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.
There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears 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.
Description taken from Goodreads
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If you like books that are a little bit dark, that pull at your emotions and makes you question ‘right’ from ‘wrong’, that isn’t afraid to bring up the big issues such as depression and abuse (just to name a few) then you’ll love Drowning Instincts by Ilsa J. Bick.
I loved the start of this novel. It begins in the ER, where a Detective is trying to question a victim who was rescued from a freezing lake. Unfortunately the “victim” isn’t talking and so the detective leaves her with his recorder “I need the story, Jenna. I need the truth.” From her response I knew I was going to love this novel: “Right. Like the two are the same thing.” The fact that Jenna is in the ER and talking to a Detective automatically means things ended badly, but I had no idea just how bad things would get.
Jenna’s story begins about a year before the ‘incident’, and you instantly learn that this was not Jenna’s first near death experience, or even the first time she’s meet Detective Robert ‘Bob’ Pendleton. To say Jenna has had a shocking childhood is an understatement. Her father is a manipulative, abusive, evil man (I couldn’t see one redeemable quality in him), and her mother only cares for herself. Her brother, whom she loves, enlisted and so she is alone in this terrifying world. It isn’t any wonder that Jenna suffers from depression. Then she starts a new school and meets Mr. Anderson. He’s always there for her when no one else is, he looks after her and protects her. There’s just a few problems. He’s her married, much older, Science teacher.
What I loved about Jenna was that she was trying. She was trying to get her life back on track. She was trying not ‘to cut’ to make herself feel better. She was trying to take control of her life and make decisions. The fact that in her recordings to Bob she would stop the story at different junctions and admits if she had made a different choice at this point in her life things would’ve ended differently- she wouldn’t be in the ER now, she wouldn’t be telling her story to Detective Bob- brings a sense of foreboding to the reader. In fact, that sense stays with you throughout the entire novel.
In other books I’ve read that deal with confronting themes usually end with…..well, if not a happy ending, then one that leaves you with a little hope. Not this one. The ending left me feeling anxious and confused. I still have questions that I want answered, and I found myself turning the back pages thinking ‘this can’t be it’. I guess in a way it had to end like that, but at the same time I feel like I don’t have closure. I find that I can’t stop thinking about Jenna.
Drowning Instincts is a truly dark, gripping, compelling read. It is one that will continue to haunt you long after you finished.
Loved it. 5/5
Originally Posted on Goodreads