Friday, December 23, 2011

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick

Title:  The Drowning Instinct
Author:  Ilsa J. Bick
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Lerner Publishing
Format:  Kindle/NetGalley
Release Date:  February 1, 2012

Jenna Lord’s life has been difficult to say the least. Her mother is a drunk and her father is cruel and pretty much a jerk. The only bright spot in her life was her older brother, but then he went to Iraq. And let’s not forget her near death in a fire when she was younger. Jenna’s move to a new school is supposed to make things better. And things really start to look up when she meets Mitch Anderson—teacher and coach, extremely kind and understanding and of course, gorgeous. Oh, and married. This is certainly not your typical boy-meets-girl fairytale. It’s more like a fairytale with teeth.

When Jenna is given the chance to tell her story, she decides honesty should be the best policy. And so begins her tale of a severely dysfunctional childhood, survival through cutting and a budding relationship with a forbidden friend. Jenna knows her friendship with her chemistry teacher Mitch Anderson is a road she shouldn’t go down, but since her brother was sent to Iraq, he is the only person who “gets” her. As their bond grows, Jenna has to choose between what is right and what is wrong, even if what is wrong is the only safety net she has. 

In Drowning Instinct, Ilsa J. Bick weaves an intricate and emotionally charged tale of love and vulnerability. She takes the reader on a journey of discovery, but lets us be the ones to make the discovery. Bick never tells us what to think, she just shows us what happens and lets us decide how it makes us feel. And believe me; those feelings will take you by surprise.

I honestly can not describe accurately how this book made me feel. It was a rollercoaster ride of a book. I went through a host of emotions while reading Drowning Instinct.  When I read a book, I take little notes—things that I want to remember or struck me as interesting, emotions I might have felt. I could have filled a notebook with this one. And once I got to the end, nearly every note I took had taken on a new, deeper meaning. With that being said, I truly believe that this is one of those rare books that will affect each reader differently. I doubt everyone will feel the same way about it that I did. Some people may hate it, while others will love it. But give it a chance, it is truly an experience you don’t want to miss.

Drowning Instinct is a young adult book, but I strongly recommend that this book be read by older, more mature teenagers. There are sexual themes throughout the book, most of which might be difficult for a younger junior-high aged child to deal with. I will be letting my 15- and 17-year-old read it, though. In fact, I may force them to read it. I don’t want them to miss out on such an amazing book.

My grade for Drowning Instinct:              

Please check out Ms. Bick's website at She is truly one of the best authors I have ever had the pleasure of reading.


  1. I thought this book was amazing as well. Great review!

  2. Great review! somany good books coming next yr

  3. Wow! I haven't heard of this book before- but it sounds like a must read. Any book that makes you think that much is worth the time. I liked this review and thought it was interesting that you think that everyone will come away with something different. That intrigues me!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, I had no idea Ilsa J. Bick had a new book coming out. Thanks for the heads up! I loved DRAW THE DARK and ASHES, so I'm sure I'll love this one as well.


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