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Drowning Instinct

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,714 ratings  ·  562 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
Audio CD, Unabridged
Published July 3rd 2012 by Brilliance Audio (first published February 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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

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
“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
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
You can read my review at (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
Aj the Ravenous Reader

“Everybody breaks sooner or later…Anyone can drown. Sometimes you see it. Most often you don’t because the body protects and the skin hides, so drowning doesn’t look like drowning and some people scar so nicely.”

No, this isn’t indeed your typical YA contemporary. I should have believed the blurb. Right now I am so tempted to tell you what kind or rather kinds of story this book has in store for you, but I wouldn’t because it’s very important that you find it out yourself and then you’ll unde
Stacia (the 2010 club)
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
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
JaHy♕ Bitchy  Goddess ♥'s  everything CrAzY  ☿
I'm sitting here like a retard wondering if the authors brilliant or really cruel....I DON'T KNOW!!!!

Here's a mini summary of the book..

...... I'm not kidding .

I need to think about this....
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's going to hurt. Jenna is incredibly messed up. You learn this up front. She's spent a year in an institution,
Review posted on Way Too Hot Books

This book just blew me away!


This book has stolen my attention right from its very first line.
Its 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 Im a school teach
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
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
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 i
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
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
'People drown, quietly, before our eyes, all the time.' - Ilsa J. Bick (Acknowledgments in 'Drowning Instinct')

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 b
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
Jul 08, 2012 Isamlq rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
I am drowning in Mitch Anderson!!! I love him. I know it's not right, but I love him, I do. I love this book and everything about it. I have only incoherent thoughts that I could not even put in words to express how magnificent this book is. It is one of a kind!
I had so many problems with this book. I think the biggest one is that the author tries to make a statement about how "no one is all good or all bad." But a 30-something teacher who sleeps with his 16-year-old student? Pretty much all bad, if you ask me. I wish more had been made about how destructive and dangerous such a relationship can be. (Other than the tidy, completely unbelievable and overly literal ending...)
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
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
Dec 05, 2013 Keertana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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



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)
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
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
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
C.C. Bowen
Wow. This book has left me speechless. It literally pained me to put it down at any given time. And now that it's over, I don't know what to think or how to feel.

Like I said. Speechless.

But what an incredibly deep and well-crafted story this was. I feel emotionally drained and need time to process now. Which, to me, is a sure sign of a story I won't soon forget.

I went into this book knowing very little about it and I think it's best that way. The less you know the better.
You think pain can't be any more horrible...Until you discover that the well is bottomless, there's always more. A different kind of pain, maybe, but more and much, much worse...

Ouch. This book is like watching someone slowly marching to their own demise. It is painful. And, the pain just keeps coming. Every time you think you are at a pain-apex, something else hits.

And, yet it is so captivating. I love the unreliable narrator and how the story slowly unravels. I could feel Jenna's desolation
Eye-Candy: Das englische Cover gefällt mir viel besser. Hier ist der Titel nicht so aufdringlich und dennoch prägnant und das Düstere kommt eher beim Betrachter rüber.

Meine Meinung: Die erste Rezension, die ich "richtig" zu diesem Buch gelesen und nicht nur lediglich überflogen habe, war diese hier. Wenn man Drowning Instinct liest, fühlt man sich gefesselt und beinahe so, als würde man ertinken (wie auch in der verlinkten Rezension beschrieben wird).

Das Buch wird aus der Ich-Perspektive von Jen
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Let's discuss 2 33 Sep 04, 2014 11:02PM  
Questions about Mitch (SPOILERS) 11 183 Feb 26, 2014 08:36PM  
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BookSpark: Win an ARC of Drowning Instinct by Ilsa Bick 6 35 Mar 19, 2012 07:01AM  
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  • Don't Breathe a Word
  • Live Through This
  • Try Not to Breathe
  • The Storyteller
  • Life is But a Dream
  • Flawed
  • Sweetest Taboo
  • Lovely, Dark and Deep
  • Life of the Party
  • In Too Deep
  • Gone, Gone, Gone
  • Hushed
  • Want (Want, #1)
  • Fall from Grace
  • The Girls of No Return
  • Falling Under
  • Night Beach
  • Crazy
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 White Space (Dark Passages, #1)

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“This is a fairy tale with teeth and claws.” 32 likes
“What's the point of not taking chances? I don't know if I could stand living my whole life afraid.” 30 likes
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