Drowning Instinct
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Drowning Instinct

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,987 ratings  ·  438 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Lerner Publishing Group
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

this is a karen-four, and maybe not-four-everyone four.

it is dense and intense. it is like 5 YA books in one. it is like HELLO I AM A BOOK AND I AM ABOUT A GIRL WHO NEARLY DIED IN A FIRE AS A YOUNG CHILD AND IS COVERED WITH HORRIFIC BURNS AND HOW THESE COMPLICATE HER LIFE. OH AND SHE IS ALSO A CUTTER. OH AND ALSO, HER FAMILY IS COMPLETELY MESSED UP WITH THE ALCOHOLISM AND THE SCREWING AROUND AND THE INABILITY TO COMMUNICATE AND WHATNOT. OH, AND SHE WAS INSTITUTIONALIZED. OH, AND ALSO ALSO SHE CO...more
Giselle
Insane! This is the best word to describe Drowning Instinct. Insanely good; insanely terrifying; i-n-s-a-n-e! Ever since I cracked the cover, I can't stop thinking about this book. First, to analyze it, now, to figure out what the heck I've just read. It's the type of book that you just plow through because it makes you so restless that you must keep reading and reading, all the while knowing, just knowing, that the storm is coming. So close it could be right on the next page. Really, it's freak...more
Reynje
“In my experience, the truly evil are few and good people, with the very best intentions, often make very bad decisions and get in way over their heads before they know it. People drown, quietly before our eyes, all the time.” - (Ilsa J Bick in the Acknowledgements of Drowning Instinct)

I can never resist a compelling, unreliable narrator.

There are few literary techniques I find more engaging than a strong, distinct voice – especially one I’m not sure I can trust. And in sixteen-year-old Jenna...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker
You can read my review at badassbookreviews.com (tomorrow) or below...

If you are reading my review, let me first start off with a small disclaimer, I seem to be the only one in the entire book universe that disliked this book. In fact, most reviews speak of how much they loved Drowning Instinct. I encourage everyone to read those reviews before you make any decisions on whether this book is right for you.

I had so many issues with this book. But I am going to attempt to keep them down to a minim...more
Stacia (out of inspiration)
Aug 04, 2012 Stacia (out of inspiration) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stacia (out of inspiration) by: Isamlq
3.5 stars. Deciding whether to round up or down was an extremely hard decision and I'm still not sure why.
I don't want to tell this story and you know why? Because this is a fairy tale with teeth and claws.

Have you ever finished a book and found yourself unsure of what to think? I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around what I just read. Part of me was intrigued by this story, while part of me is sitting here thinking...wait, what?

"Jenna, please. Please, look at me."
I did - and that's
...more
Wendy Darling
3.5 stars This is a compelling read, and I appreciate the complexity/moral ambiguity that the author was trying to portray.

I felt very detached from these characters overall, however, and it doesn't help that I found the story to be predictable up until the very end. I can see why this one has stirred up quite a bit of shock, especially with its more titillating elements. I can't help but feel that though the details of the two stories are different, Drowning Instinct has many of the same melod...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Whoa. What an incredibly dark and well-done novel. I have absolutely no doubt that Ilsa J. Bick will come to be recognized alongside authors like Laurie Halse Anderson. She clearly has no problem plumbing the darkest and most terrifying of human emotions. Like Anderson, she also focuses on teens, on the bad stuff - not the shiny vampires and the sweet first loves.

Reading this book...it's going to hurt. Jenna is incredibly messed up. You learn this up front. She's spent a year in an institution,...more
Nina
My brain is short-circuiting.

This is the kind of novel that makes you wonder whether the author is a normal human being or someone - something - with preternatural abilities of cognition and expression.
You think I'm exaggerating? You think this is hyperbole? Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not, and it isn't.

This book is FUCKING INSANE.

And believe me, you will be shocked, terrified, horrified, thrilled and amazed.
No matter how realistically absurd the things you expect are, what you'll find is going...more
Miss
Review posted on Way Too Hot Books

This book just blew me away!

description

This book has stolen my attention right from its very first line.
It´s stunning, scary, unpredictable and beautiful.
This book is a definite MUST HAVE!

An older man and a teenage girl. Bittersweet romance. Your first thought must be Lolita? High school teacher and troubled student. Sounds like a recipe for disaster or at least some jail time. But, although situations like this would ordinarily cause me to cringe because I´m a school tea...more
Myvampfiction
Reviewed by Sue

*Warning: possible spoilers ahead.*

To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what this book was about when I requested it from NetGalley. I knew how I felt about the author’s book, Ashes, so I automatically requested it out of the need to read more of her writing. It wasn’t really even until about 70 pages in that I got the “uh-0h” vibe from Jenna’s teacher, Mr. Anderson that I even went I read the book info. To say the book drew me in is an understatement, because one of the things I...more
Emily (Book Jems)
As seen on Ed and Em's Reviews!

Drowning Instinct is one of the most emotional reads that I've read in a while… in fact, it may be one of the most emotional books that I've read ever.

It's mostly the last hundred pages that did me in. The narrator, while she explains her emotions often, seemed emotionless at the same time. It was almost like she was holding in how she felt and forcing herself to be a robot. I noticed this in the first book of Ilsa J. Bick's dystopian series, Ashes as well. I think...more
Ashley
Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick - Take down the walls

BookNook — Young Adult book reviews

4.5 stars

Holy crap, Drowning Instinct was AMAZING! It was so intense and wrong and heartbreaking all in one. This book definitely would have been great to listen to as an audiobook; I kind of regret that I didn't. Basically, the story starts off with Jenna being brought to the hospital soaking wet, then a detective hands her a tape recorder and encourages her to tell her tale. So the whole story is what she says into the tape recorder, which is why I think it...more
Leah
I had numerous issues with this, but I finished, so it was compelling enough to avoid DNFing. What didn't work for me:

1) Piling every possible trauma and psych issue conceivable on your protagonist doesn't make her more sympathetic. It's just ridiculous.

2) I have a thing for teacher/student romances, and this one is handled very bizarrely. The relationship progression never felt remotely realistic. What teacher walks into a student's house and fixes sandwiches for her drunk, semi-conscious mothe...more
Inger
'People drown, quietly, before our eyes, all the time.' - Ilsa J. Bick (Acknowledgments in 'Drowning Instinct')

Wow.
It's been long since I read a book that intense and believe me 'intense' is just the word to describe it.
Maybe it's the title? 'Cause when you've finished this book you just want to cry by simply reading this two words.

By telling her story with a tape recorder to the police one feels incredibly near to the narrator, Jenna. And she's not just any main character you have in random bo...more
Isamlq
Jul 08, 2012 Isamlq rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of the storyteller, forbidden, pieces of us
No matter how well intentioned someone is, the same doesn’t stop them from deciding a certain thing and acting a particular way. You come away from this knowing full well that there really are no stereotypical predators or victims. Predators don’t go around all skeevy and scary announcing to the world who they are and what they want. Neither do victims. And she was definitely one, time and again… so this is me again: torn.

DROWNING INSTINCT enthralled me. Rare is the book that would get me to us...more
Donna
I've been sitting on reviewing DROWNING INSTINCT for about two months now, doing the Homer Simpson "I wanna" dance waiting for Carolrhoda Lab's special week so I can finally put it up. And now I'm faced with what to say. What can I say other than Ilsa's done it yet again? She's ripped my heart out, stomped on it, sewed it back together and gently placed it back in my chest. I cried like a freaking baby at the end of DROWNING INSTINCT. It's hard to see such a sad character lose a rare piece of ha...more
Bidisha
Also found on Dreamcatcher's Lair

Drowning Instinct is one of those books that can't exactly be summed up in a review. But there are certain things I can tell you. Like,

--While the book description tells you a few things, it doesn't prepare you with expectations. At least for me, it didn't. Which means, that the experience that Drowning Instinct packs within those pages, may, in plain-speak, blow your mind.

--There's self harm and all kinds of abuse and other twisted things that will take you to d...more
Rae
You know when you have finished a book and your adrenaline is pumping, you swallow hard and you raise your eyes to the ceiling and the try to process in your mind what you have just read? So I am sitting here after reading the last page, trying to get a grip of my emotions.

At 16 you expect to meet your prince. Jenna’s prince is Mr Anderson, her chemistry teacher. He is intelligent, handsome and very much married. Teachers can be an important factor in your life when you are 16. They inspire, enc...more
Keertana
Dec 05, 2013 Keertana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Keertana by: Leanne
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I've been wanting to read Drowning Instinct ever since I first laid eyes on its cover. Admit it: it's powerful. Unfortunately, the story Bick regales is more insane than powerful. Granted, I appreciate the moral ambiguity of the characters Bick has sketched, not to mention the complexity of their situations, but ultimately, this novel lacked a little something. Hope? Heart? Or maybe just purpose...

Drowning Instinct's first few pages are a dream, an intrusion into an original for...more
Kelly
Wow.

Just.

Wow.

This is a story about very, very broken people in very, very terrible situations and the drastic, desperate attempts they make to help themselves (and one another). Jenna's voice is knock out, and it's exactly what you'd expect it to be for someone who has dealt with the immense amounts of pain she's dealt with. I'm not sure if this is worth putting a spoiler up on, since I won't in a longer review, but just in case: (view spoiler)...more
Ashley Fierro
Help, I have been emotionally attached to this book, and I mean HOLY HELL I drowned myself in it... unpredictably, and just like it says,
“This is a fairy tale with teeth and claws.”



“In my experience, the truly evil are few and good people, with the very best intentions, often make very bad decisions and get in way over their heads before they know it. People drown, quietly before our eyes, all the time.”

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I always love a book that does not present the typical average love story, and this is...more
Lisa (Badass Bookie)
The Short Story? - My favourite read of the year so far, Drowning Instinct takes forbidden romance to a whole new level. Incredibly raw and undoubtedly powerful, Bick explores the complexity behind a romance that is morally wrong. Dark, grim and utterly compelling, Bick's Drowning Instinct blurs the lines between right and wrong. Refreshingly original and beautifully written, Drowning Instinct takes YA fiction to a whole new level.

The Long Story? - This definitely isn't a novel for everyone...more
Soplada
Second Time Reading Edit :
Now we have the fifth star blank place filled and that will maybe explains why this book is my most favorite book of all the time.
the reasons are tiresome to mention they are like. A lot !


Oh ,I'm disappointed , sad , overwhelmed why has it ended that way what happened next?
Or let me talk to myself "who told you to read this book and why ?"
"the book at all felt right"

I did understand a lot of things due to human behavior , relationships , and Love. I never thought...more
Katie Tuccelli
This review was originally published at BlookGirl.
------------------
Wow. Just - Wow.

I'm not even sure how to write a fitting review without major spoilers, so I'm going to do my darndest to walk that fine line.

We are introduced to Jenna Lord in a unique way, as she speaks into a handheld recorder at the request of a detective. She has been left alone in her hospital room to unravel the details surrounding yet another "accident" and her suspicious relationship with a teacher at her high school. A...more
Paula  Phillips
#Out of my 94 books read so far for 2013 , this would have to be in my Top 5 List.

Have you ever read a book that was so hard to review ? You just couldn't find the words to explain it but it was OMG amazing and worth reading ? For me, that was Drowning Instinct - from the cover I was captivated and drawn in and then as I saw the author's name I wondered if I would enjoy it or not as I wasn't a huge fan of her Draw the Dark and Ashes Books.
However as I have always been a fan of Pyschological and...more
Jenni Arndt
You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.

"..this is a fairy tale with teeth and claws, and here's what completely sucks: you're going to want black and white, right and wrong, I'm not sure I can give that to you. That's the problem with the truth."

I finished this book about an hour ago and since then I have been sitting here staring at a blank document on my computer. I have no idea what to say about this novel other than it is a masterfully crafted, haunting tale that you will not be ab...more
Anna

Sometimes, when you put one and one together doesn't always have to be two; it could still be one. Thus was the case for Jenna and Mitch.

"See what?"
"Me, Jenna," he said. "So you would see me. And then you would know that you're not the only one who's lonely."


This was not your typical YA novel where all's well in the end. What with a student/teacher relationship, this is not to be pass up. It's my kind of fairy-tale.


Jenna dealing with incidents that almost killed her and how cutting helps enc...more
Melanie Goodman
What I knew about Drowning Instinct before reading it: Nothing. I loved the cover. I occasionally talk to Ilsa Bick on Twitter about challah and rugelach. I might have read a synopsis at one point, but by the time I read the book, I’d forgotten what it said.

What you should know about Drowning Instinct before reading it: Almost nothing. Drowning Instinct is a book that reveals its secrets slowly. You know how rollercoasters you ride in the dark are always scarier than the ones where you can see t...more
HollyG
Hmmm...what should I say about this book? The whole book was basically the main character telling her story to a tape recorder for a detective which at first was a little annoying, but you got used to it pretty quickly. So the main character, Jenna, was pretty sad. She's been molested by her grandfather, her brother died in Afghanistan, her mother is a drunk, her father is a cheating a$$hole, she's been through a fire and had burns all over her back, and she has just been released from a mental...more
Nancy
May 28, 2013 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Drowning Instinct is one of those books that just didn’t seem very interesting to me at all. It is about a student/teacher relationship and I just figured that I would get bored and/or weirded out and stop reading it, so I never gave it a chance. After reading some tweets and reviews about how good this book was, I caved in. Oh my gawd. It was amazing.

From the beginning, I was totally bothered by what this book was about and the relationship between Mr. Anderson and Jenna. It seemed strange, awk...more
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143691
Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I'm supposed to write things like, "Ilsa J. Bick is ." Except I hate writing about myself in the third person like I'm not in the room. Helloooo, I'm right here . . . So let's just say that I'm a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right)as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe (meaning I did an internship in surgery an...more
More about Ilsa J. Bick...
Ashes (Ashes Trilogy, #1) Shadows (Ashes Trilogy, #2) Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3) Draw the Dark The Sin-Eater's Confession

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“What's the point of not taking chances? I don't know if I could stand living my whole life afraid.” 26 likes
“This is a fairy tale with teeth and claws.” 26 likes
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