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Drowning Is Inevitable

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  751 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,” shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Shalanda No love triangles in this one.…moreNo love triangles in this one. (less)
Kate Yes 4/5 from me, the characters are beautifully written

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  751 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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This book is everything! I'm so undone by it. Beautifully written, amazing characterizations, mesmerizing focus on friendships and family, and a plot that is so fresh, rich in emotions and depth and content. I just... *sigh*... I need some time to get my thoughts together before writing a review for this stunning debut novel. It's a knockout.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo
A heartbreaking YA novel about grief and its control over our lives. That being said, there was so much about Olivia and her father that would take more than one book to resolve.
Jaime Arkin
4.5 stars

This was an absolutely heart-breaking and beautifully told story. It wasn’t even on my radar but then the lovely Cassie sent me an email and I’ll admit it, the cover grabbed my attention because let’s face it… it’s gorgeous.

Once I started reading, I realized that the words inside were just as beautiful.

I don’t even know where to start with my attempt to share my thoughts.
Olivia has spent her entire life in the shadow of her mother who took her own life… even her grandmother who she
Shannon (leaninglights)
3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this one. Happy I picked it up again after DNFing last year. I loved the almost Southern Gothic tone of the story and the characters were very interesting. This felt like a Kristen Stewart indie film, if that makes any sense. I think that fans of Ava Lavender should give this a try. It didn't blow me away but it was unique and intriguing in tone.
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
4.5 Stars!

Drowning is Inevitable is a heart breaking, beautifully told story about four people coming to terms with growing older, finding their places in life, dealing with family problems, and loving for the first time.

Beautifully detailed and worded, this is the type of story that sticks with you long after you have read the pages and put the book down.

Stanley's debut novel is one that will worm its way into your heart and your mind forever. With memorable characters that feel for all intent
Lisa (lifeinlit)
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2015
4.5 stars!

Drowning is Inevitable utterly and completely shocked me. I suppose it's because of my strict routine of not reading the synopsis immediately before reading the book. I had NO IDEA what this book was about, but just assumed I was getting a light and sweet YA contemporary. Um, no. It's not light. It's not sweet. It IS a contemporary, but that's as much as I had correct as far as my expectations were concerned. I was shocked by this book, in more ways than one... but it was such a good
Sep 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-own-it
omg WHAT this sounds bonkers. gimme.


I'm probably a heartless monster but I didn't like any part of this. First, it felt like, between the story of the kids on the run, and the story of Olivia searching for pieces of her mother who killed herself 18 years ago, this book was taking on two totally different things that didn't mesh well together. It was like two incomplete books combined into one, with one storyline constantly outshining the other. The characters were impossible to feel connected
Sara (Freadom Library)
Not sure if this story has changed since the ARCs were released but I read 170 of it and it was good.

This review was originally posted at

I received an e-ARC of this book from Knopf Books for Young Readers and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot is really hard to explain. It’s very hard to wrap your head around all the things that happen. It’s dramatic, dangerous, intense and
Review is also posted on Let’s Say It’s A Blog.

*I received digital ARC of this book from the Random House Children's through Netgalley*

A heart-breaking story of a girl who tries to find herself in between reality and illusion, memories and projections, .... life and death.

I have a complicated feeling about this book. At first, I was really excited to start reading this. Then halfway through the book, I found the story was too dark and the characters were too morbid to my liking. In the end,
Shoa Khan
Special thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book.

This is the story of 17-year old Olivia who lives on Fidelity Street in the closely-knit town of St. Francisville with her grandmother.
When Olivia was three days old, her teenage mother Lillian got up in the middle of the night and walked right into the Mississippi River, never to return.
Olivia has lived in the shadow of her dead mother ever since, what with her grandmother and father seeing too much of Lillian in her.

“I listened to it as I looked at the landscape around me, and I thought about possibilities. I thought about where I'd gone and where I was headed, about tiny towns and big cities and all these roads in between. I thought about best friends and the word forever, about held hands and late-night promises made under stars. With the sound of my grandmother's humming in my ears, I thought about sacrifice. I remembered the words I love you, I love you, whispered by the boy I loved back. I leaned back ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-favorites
“Drowning is Inevitable” is a book that is written in the Southern Gothic tradition. Do not expect to be at all happy when you finish, as that is not the book’s intent.

The story of Olivia and Jamie begins with the troubles in their respective home lives. Olivia’s mother committed suicide when she was only three days old, and Jamie has an alcoholic and violent father. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but things go horribly wrong and keep getting worse by the page. The plot has a lot of
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a book about fierce friendships, devastating families, and heartbreaking sadness, oh boy is this the book for you.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-releases
If you can read this without crying, you are a stronger person than I. This book utterly wrecked me.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, young-adult
Honestly, I don't know why I continued to read this. I figured early on that it was not my type of novel, but I decided to press on in an attempt to see if it got better. But due to its incredibly short length (under 300 pages), within an hour or so I was halfway done, so I decided to just finish it out.

Olivia and her best friend, Jamie, tell each other everything. Jamie knows all about Olivia's obsession with her dead mother. Olivia knows all about Jamie's dad being a drunk and regularly
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 stars

My goodness. Drowning is Inevitable doesn’t hold back on the feels. This story gutted me and left me feeling empty yet whole at the same time. I wasn’t expecting to have so many emotions, but Shalanda Stanley proved me wrong. Drowning is Inevitable is not the easiest of reads, and readers definitely need to be in the right mindset to read it.


+ We follow the main story of Olivia, whose mother committed suicide at the age of 18. She has to deal with
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight
So, in Drowning Is Inevitable, we have Olivia, whose mom killed herself when she was a baby (and only 18 years old). Her dad is basically afraid to look at her, and her grandma is practically senile. (Someone please tell me where Child Protective Services is in all this? Great.) She’s best friends with Jamie, who has been there for her since they were kids. And she’s dating Max. Jamie has an awful home life too, his dad has turned into
My thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers


How I wished I ended up loving this book. It started out very promising. I loved the fact that the main character tried to remember her mother who had committed suicide at the age of 18. Then when the story became about 4 kids making a run for it, I kinda lost interest.

The writing was really good. However, at times it felt a little off with the pacing which sometime was very slow. Besides that though, it
Susan Jennings
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A literary wow!! The writing takes the reader on a journey as they read. I could visualize the events as they were happening and felt as emotionally drained as the characters. I felt like I was one of them; I could feel their connection to each other and the emotions they felt throughout as if they were my own, especially Olivia's. An awesome read!!!
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-release, i-own
I've been crying for the last 60 pages or so. Not just crying, I've been sobbing.
Alexis Stankewitz
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like Olivia or any of the other charaters.
I must start this review by saying that I was extremely excited about reading Drowning is Inevitable and that my expectations were EXTREMELY high. Now that I have read it, I can say that though it did not quite fill my expectations, it was a solid debut that will I will remember for a while, maybe not for the story itself, but for the way it was written.

Olivia's mother Lillian killed herself just days after Olivia was born. Living in a little town has meant that Olivia has always grown in the
Cézanne Hayden-Dilbert
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
"I didn’t always do the right thing; sometimes I channeled self-destruction.

Drowning Is Inevitable was such a fantastic novel. I'm so mad at myself for not reading it sooner. I went into this story blindly so I wasn't sure what to expect. The story concept was so different and nothing played out howI anticipated it would. This story tore at my heart and easily kept me on edge. This story well written, it was engaging, and and Ms. Stanley made me care about each of these characters.
"...My life
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**Thank you so much to Knopf Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read this in consideration for an honest review!**

I've been reading so many amazing contemporaries this year and Drowning Is Inevitable is absolutely no exception. The story follows Olivia, who's about to turn the same age that her mother was when she committed suicide: 18. Olivia lives with her grandmother in her mom's old room; she even wears her mom's old clothes and listens to her mother's old music. Therefore, it
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Olivia lives in a small town where the children are assumed to take after their parents. For Olivia, this means the town treats her like her mother’s suicide is contagious, and Olivia will follow in her mother’s footsteps. Everyone is shocked when Olivia and her three friends are instead involved in a homicide after Olivia’s best friend, Jamie, is attacked by his abusive father. Now on the run, their group has to figure out what happens next and how to keep everyone safe.

Drowning is Inevitable
Brooke ♥booklife4life♥
I received a copy of this for free thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's, all opinions are my own

At A Glance

Young Adult
Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?: No
Cliff Hanger: No.
Rating: 3 Stars

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover: 8
Plot: 6
Characters: 7
World Building: 6
Flow: 4
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 6
Ending: 7

Total: 6

In Dept

Best Part:
Dad got what was coming
Worst Part: Plot was all wrong, i think.
Thoughts Had: oh snap!; get him!!!; bored.


Continuing the Series:
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Initial reaction: Beautiful. Desperately sad. I am wrecked.

Official review: Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s suicide at age 18, Olivia—as well as the entire town of St. Francisville, Louisiana—has always believed that she would follow in her mother’s footsteps because, well, isn’t suicide genetic? Raised by her grandmother who more often than not calls her by her dead mother’s name, and avoided by her grieving father, Olivia has only ever been able to count on her best friend and next
Amazing book about relationships. Relationships of all kinds: friends, parents, lost ones, significant others, etc. A few plot things were questionable in the beginning, but as I kept reading I realized they didn't matter. The plot could have been anything and this book would still be incredible because it was truly about the relationships. <3
Crystal | decorating.reader
SO SO SO SO SO good. Like unbelievably so. And it will make you CRY. So much. But the story is so worth it. And the FRIENDSHIPS, love, and loyalty.

Will write a more coherent review soon!
Nicole Means
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU BAWL LIKE A BABY!!! True story, it happened to me while reading this during a flight. In fact, the tears were streaming down my face and the flight attendant asked me if I was ok.
Several factors regarding this book tugged at my heart strings. First, it is set in my community in St. Francisville, LA, which made the setting very personal for me. The characters actually reside blocks from my home, so I immediately connected with the story due my familiarity with the
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“Give me your hands," I said.
I studied his palms. "Yes, she'll forgive you. She'll realize you saved her."
"You're a palm reader now?"
"When did you learn how to do that?"
"While you were sleeping."
"I waste so much time sleeping. What else do you see?"
"I see food. Max is going to bring food."
"Do you see cake?"
"No, no cake."
"Let me see your hands," he said.
I raised an eyebrow.
"I learned while you were talking." He studied my palms. "Your scars cross over the lines in your hands, like you have two lives... One to mess up and one to get right."
"That's convenient. What else do you see?"
"I see you happy," he said.
"Yeah?" I asked.
He nodded. "And I see you."
My fingers itched to reach out and touch his face, to make sure I'd still know him in the dark.
"I see you, too," I said.”
“What if, no matter what, we grow up to be the people we came from?” 2 likes
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