Stacia (the 2010 club)'s Reviews > Drowning Instinct

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick
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Aug 04, 12

bookshelves: young-adult, dark-or-taboo, contemporary-romance
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Isamlq
Read in July, 2012

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 when I realized that eyes really are the window to the soul.
"Don't go," he whispered.

Jenna and Mr. Anderson (Mitch) are a teacher and student who have entered into relationship after realizing that they are the only people who might be able to help one other heal from a broken past. However, each of them happen to be spinning their own web of lies to the point where you start to question what is real and what is not. Is this love real or is there something more sinister at work?

I found myself drawn into the story and the mystery surrounding the past lives of these two before before they found each other. There were several predictable moments along the way and even though I mis-guessed on a couple things, it wasn't hard to figure out the main gist of what was going down. Even with that, I didn't find myself frustrated that there weren't enough big gut punches throughout the book - because the way the story ended threw me for a loop. I was expecting something much more wicked from one of the characters than what I was given. As of right now, I'm not sure how I felt about the way everything came to fruition.

I've read my fair share of student/teacher stories and this one is not like any other I've read...in both a good way and a bad way. If you're looking for a passionate and all-consuming love affair, you're barking up the wrong tree. So much of what's going on revolves around how screwed up these characters' lives are, that the actual love story was not always the focus, even though it did have a big impact on the outcome.
"Jenna," he said, and he put everything into that one word. He put in a lifetime.

It's not hard to see why some people had issues with the book. My friend Rebecca and I were buddy reading this and as we were discussing, she mentioned a couple of inconsistencies which didn't quite match up. The few complaints I had didn't make me dislike the story, but I can see why some of these things would be a stumbling block for readers who like all of their ducks to line up in a row.

My thoughts are a bit twisted, but I will say that the story had me, for better or worse. Okay, so I wasn't initially crazy about the tape-recorder narration, but it worked when everything came to a head. The last sentence of the book changed my feelings about the style of writing. Overall, I think the positives of what was trying to be accomplished in this type of storytelling did outweigh the negatives (although, I would not have complained if the family issues had been limited to one or two things at the most. The problems were a bit too "everything but the kitchen sink" for my liking.). I really was invested in wanting to know what was going to happen.

The author's notes at the back are interesting to read. I appreciated that Bick didn't make excuses for the characters she wrote, nor did she try to make the characters out to be better than they were. She explained that not everything in this world is black and white and sometimes the story just is what it is. In her own words : Reality is Complex.

Am I going to recommend the book? Yes, I think I might...maybe not quite in an enthusiastic cheer-leading kind of way, but if you're looking for something to shake up your routine, Drowning Instinct is probably going to do the job. This is the type of story which would make for an interesting discussion or book club read.
And no one asked questions. No one gave us a second thought. Everyone looked, and no one really saw.

End note : If you're looking for a more black and white teacher/student affair book, I'd go with Boy Toy if you want to read about something that shows the consequences of embarking on such a relationship, or Want if you are wanting to engage on a more romanticized version of this type of story.
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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽ maybe it'll stop the train?


Briana Creepy and darker how? Like much worse than Pretty Little Liars: Aria and Ezra?


message 3: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Jul 26, 2012 01:13PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) I haven't read PLL, so I can't compare. The book starts right off with the girl being questioned by the police after being pulled from the water. You don't know how she got there but you know she has a dark past. So far, I'm only about 15% in, so nothing has happened between the teacher and student other than them starting up a possible friendship.

Sharon, I doubt it, haha. I don't know why but I love student/teacher books. Maybe it's because every book is different. Some cases are portrayed as predator/prey, some are portrayed as equal partners, and some show the student as the aggressor, not the teacher. There's always a new spin. Sometimes the story is shown as evil or a sick obsession and sometimes it's shown as a romantic entanglement. You never know what you're going to get.


Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽ well Stacia...ill be looking forward to seeing what u think of this one!


Briana I'm with Sharon on this one. I await your review!


Stacia (the 2010 club) I think I liked the book. It was definitely intense near the end. I'm just trying to decide if I want to go 3 or 4 stars right now, so I wrote the review just to get my thoughts out and will figure on the star rating tomorrow.


Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽ I like ur review...seems like it was better than u thought it might be?


Stacia (the 2010 club) I don't know if it was better/worse than what I expected, just different. I didn't plan for the main character's issues to be a bigger part of the story than the affair. There was a lot going on. Still a decent read though, I think?


Sharon ✽ is an emotional book junkie ✽ LOL...well it sounds like it.


Briana Back again. I liked the review. I might need to wait a while on reading it. I'm on a happy book high I guess. Not ready to come down. But thanks for letting us know.


Rebecca Espinoza You and I are so eye to eye on this one! I am having a hard time trying to decide how to rate it!


message 12: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Jul 28, 2012 10:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stacia (the 2010 club) This might be one of the toughest rating calls ever. I so want to know your thoughts on the ending.


message 13: by Rebecca (last edited Jul 28, 2012 11:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rebecca Espinoza The ending left me so unsatisfied. Questions were never answered. I kept flip flopping back and forth for whether Mitch was a good guy or not but then by the end, I didn't know if I cared because nothing Jenna said was reliable. It was a strange book in that I didn't want to stop reading it even though things really annoyed me. The writing was strange but it still sucked me in so I really can't complain. I think I will give it 3 stars because I feel like it was in between awesome and horrible whatever that means! :0)


Stacia (the 2010 club) In many ways, Jenna was hard to like as well. This is part of what got me. I was sucked into the story itself but wasn't fond of the characters. Sometimes you're okay with not liking the characters because you get what the author is trying to do. In a way, I understood that part of the questioning of motives might have been to keep the element of mystery going but I agree that by the end, I wasn't sure if cared. I only liked the teacher after (view spoiler) Before that, he was extremely one dimensional. I wonder if we had seen more of the intimacy and sexual relations if it would have made the relationship stand out. I felt like what happened was almost a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of deal.


message 15: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Thanks for the recs. :) I'm going to check those out.


Stacia (the 2010 club) You're welcome!


message 17: by Basuhi (new)

Basuhi Should I read it ? I'm not sure...is it anything like On the Island ?


Stacia (the 2010 club) I don't know if you should. I liked this but it's nothing like On the Island, which was a romance book. Drowning Instinct is darker.


message 19: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Who is the author of Boy Toy?


message 21: by T. (new) - rated it 3 stars

T. **spoiler**
I've never quite got it the whole lying about having brothers and sisters thing...


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