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The First Time She Drowned

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Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published March 15, 2016

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About the author

Kerry Kletter

2 books417 followers
Author of The First Time She Drowned (Penguin/Randomhouse) and EAST COAST GIRLS (Mira/Harpercollins)

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5 stars
2,349 (32%)
4 stars
2,818 (39%)
3 stars
1,574 (22%)
2 stars
314 (4%)
1 star
97 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,124 reviews
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
July 2, 2017
To see this review please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

There are certain things children need from their mothers-things that we are all entitled too from birth. Some of these include sense of safety, trust, being nurtured and feeling as though we belong. Most of all, as children, we need someone to love us and someone for us to love back. This is something Cassie was denied when she was a young child and she couldn't seem to figure out how to obtain it. Instead, she questioned herself and suffered mental illness. She was thrust into the world when all she believed in was lies and uncertainty. 

I had a very hard time reading parts of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters (Cassie's family) were evil, selfish beings. Most of Cassie's family had mental issues and it was quickly trickling down onto her as she was abused, abandoned, and treated as though she was a nobody. It's harrowing at times and makes you feel like all you want to do is hug her and reassure her that there's nothing wrong with her, and that everything will be okay.

I felt for Cassie's mother, in a way, because it was apparent that she herself had issues with her own mother. I felt like it was just history repeating itself because her mom just didn't know how to be a mom. She didn't know how to love as she wasn't loved herself. All she knew was the horrible experiences she had in her life with her own family and she couldn't rise above it. Dumping Cassie into a mental institution was a way for her parents to not have to deal with her problems anymore.

Despite this being an emotional read, I enjoyed it. I was pleased with the book from beginning to end and remained engaged throughout. The conclusion was thoroughly satisfying. As far as the writing, the story is written beautifully and I want to read more from this author. In fact, I want to read everything she writes and look forward to her next book. 

Profile Image for L A i N E Y.
396 reviews672 followers
April 28, 2017
You know how some people become 'estranged'? Yeah.

This 'mother' woman is one hell of a walking, talking trigger warning I tell you.

What a lowest of low life form of a gigantically horrendous nasissistic mother of a human race.

I'm not even sure we should categorize her as a 'human being'. There's no compassion, no thoughts for others, at all, even for your own flesh and blood. Just nothing. Her one true happiness in life was to make her own daughter's life a living hell.

And she effing succeeded!

Because lookie here:

"if you can't even make your own parents like you, what hope is there for anyone else?"

Our heroine (the very unfortunate daughter) can't let herself be 'vunerable' at all, no matter if the situation benefit her or not. So tragic. It's taken roots with all the accusations from her psycho mother.

The most selfish, unfeeling bitch of a 'mother' I had the unpleasure of reading. I used that word ironically because what kind of a 'mother' would do this???


Hint: she didn't have anything.

Me: Yeah figured.

If there is ever anyone who should be in an asylum, it's this mother from hell.

Profile Image for Emily.
Author 12 books64.4k followers
August 24, 2015
Sophisticated, dark, heart-breaking with bits of pure joy and light.

This is a very serious and heavy contemporary with some of THE most beautiful language I've ever read in a YA. Honestly, the Prologue alone deserves 5 stars, which is weird, since I am generally very anti-prologue.

This is a story about mental health, about self beliefs, about the tangle of an unhealthy family and the way our views of ourselves start being formed from the moment we enter the world--the way one bad thing can start out as a snag in your self-perception and the things that follow can clump up around it until all you see when you look at yourself is a knot.

It's very realistic and very difficult. It may hit you like a freight train or roll over you like a salve, and most likely it will do both. The kernel at the center of all of this is a fraught mother/daughter relationship. While Cassie's family and mental health situations are very severe examples in almost all regards, there are so many bits of this that are painfully relatable: the need to feel loved to believe you are good, the pain of loneliness and depression, the fear of rejection. Wow, it's so beautiful.

I'm putting some trigger warnings within this spoiler because I don't want to give too much away but if you're fairly sensitive, as I am, you might prefer to know some of what to expect.

That said, I highly recommend this beautiful book, especially for all the hope and light. I think there's more heart-mending that heart-tearing by the end.

Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 10 books2,134 followers
July 2, 2015
Earlier this year, I read Joan Didion's masterpiece, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING. When I set that down, I resigned myself to it being a very long time before I next encountered another writer who so thoroughly held language in her thrall.

I didn't have to wait long. In fact, I found her in the very next book I read, THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED. This is a gorgeous, sumptuously lyrical, luminous book. I read it like it was a fire and I'd just been pulled from a frozen lake. It's a feast for lovers of language. The descriptions in it made me feel like I was experiencing the world for the first time. To this day, as a writer, I'll open this book at random to remind myself of the possibilities of the word.

This book singlehandedly shatters every argument that YA books aren't fit fare for adults. It treats young readers with perfect respect for their considerable intellects. And it doesn't just treat young people as the intellectual peers of adults; it treats them as emotional peers. It tackles difficult issues like mental illness, love, and dying with the same darkly lyrical grace and elegance as the book's prose.

Kerry Kletter is a peerless writer and you have never read a YA book like this one. It has the air of a classic.

Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 8 books1,061 followers
November 17, 2015
I have a great relationship with my mom. She’s not just a mom, but a friend, somebody I trust with everything, somebody I look up to. And she’s the type of mom who has always supported my choices because she wanted me to find out who I am, not define it for me. I was always told I could do anything I set my mind to, so I saw myself mirrored in that. Healthy, capable, strong, determined. Growing up, I might have taken that for granted, because not every mom is like that. Some mothers have their own unhealthy agendas, their own damage, their own distorted visions, and when that’s projected on a young child, the effects don’t just brand, but scar.

Cassie O’Malley is struggling with their weight of her family did to her—had her locked in a mental institution for something she didn’t even do. Instead of having a normal high school experience like most teens, Cassie lived in those walls and wondered why her mother did it, why her mother turned on her. When she turns eighteen, she enrolls in college—her mother’s alma mater—with hope of a fresh start and a real life. But Cassie can’t outrun the demons of her past, especially when her mother appears out of the blue, wanting a relationship. When Cassie unearths the incredibly painful truths of her childhood, she has to make a choice—does she choose the new life she’s trying to build, or her mother’s version of it?

Writing as beautiful as Kerry Kletter’s is rare, and this book pulled me in like a riptide. It’s the kind of writing you want to savor and not rush through, because the sentences are quite literally like art. Kletter has a way of stringing words together like little jewels—gleaming, gorgeous, breathtaking. Not only that, but her use of language is so strikingly original and unique that I was left in awe. Cassie’s struggle is so effectively conveyed, and we’re so deep in her head that it’s almost hard to be there sometimes, in a place so raw and vulnerable and hurting.

Cassie is fascinated by the Atlantic Ocean, which ebbs and flows like her moods in this book. There’s the primal pull of her mother, tugging her in one direction, while her fresh start at college, with all its possibility, coaxes her a different way. As a reader, I could feel Cassie struggling not to sink, gasping for air, trying to do what’s right. As a reader, I wanted so badly for everything to be okay for her. But Kletter’s exploration of the psychological damage Cassie’s mother has inflicted, the degree of manipulation, is so painfully thorough that you can see why Cassie is in danger of being dragged out to sea, no matter how many people try to throw her a life raft.

Hands-down, this is one of the most stunning and memorable books I’ve ever read from a new voice in Young Adult literature that will be with me for a very long time. Kletter’s talent is nothing less than jaw-dropping.
Profile Image for Jillian .
425 reviews1,763 followers
July 17, 2016
Heartbreakingly beautiful. Kletter's writing is haunting and extremely effective. I felt so deeply for Cassie and everything she had to go through. I loved this and it's going to stay with me for a long time. I found the toxic mother daughter relationship to be horrifying but at the same time fascinating. I highly recommend this one.
Profile Image for S.M. Parker.
Author 3 books185 followers
September 8, 2015
I received a copy of The First Time She Drowned in exchange for an honest review. And to be honest, no words I set down in this review can do justice to this extraordinary debut novel. Every sentence was a gift. Kletter’s rich literary style instantly made her one of my favorite authors. Her sentences are poetry, layered and thick with meaning. Each one crafted with humanity and grace. And behind this lushness of language beats a story so simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful that my chest felt locked as I read.

I yearned for Cassie to find peace. I ached for the people around her to honor the love that Cassie so desperately wanted to release into the world. I wanted to know Cassie. Soothe her. Apologize for all the ways love can go wrong, turn cold. Tell her it was never her fault. This is how alive, how beautifully dimensional Kletter creates her characters.

The First Time She Drowned will sit on my shelf, calling to me with its unique language and singular beauty for years to come. And I will open its pages often just to indulge in the way Kletter’s language bends me to experience the familiar in a new and spectacular way.

Also, I will recommend this book to every girl I know. And every mother. Because this is a story of—-and a story for—-mothers and daughters, and the ropes that bind and twist and sometimes strangle within this most important of relationships. Like sea glass, Kerry Kletter’s story plants hope that even the sharpest edges can be polished smooth after a lifetime of churning at the mercy of a tumultuous sea.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,050 followers
June 23, 2020
Beautifully written with impressive emotional depth. The story flawlessly shifts from the present to past, a current experience that would trigger a flashback of a sad memory. Cassie's narrative is one you would truly empathize with.

It's so sad, a sadness so palpable, I wish I could save her from such a terrible upbringing. I wanted to slap her mother senseless to instill some sense and heart in her. I wanted to shake her father out of his inaction and indifference. This is how evocative the story is.

It's a strong reminder of the power parents especially of their hold over their children, their ability to break or make them. This is another eye-opening, thought provoking read not only for young adults but also for adults, especially for parents.
Profile Image for Kylie Amber.
168 reviews74 followers
January 9, 2020
More like 2.5 stars but this was an extremely slow read for me. I had a rage amount of hatred for Cassie’s mother that made it an unpleasant read for me. Sorry Alexa ):
Profile Image for Amber Smith.
Author 9 books1,082 followers
January 5, 2016
THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is easily one of the most powerful and poignant books I've ever read on dysfunctional families and toxic relationships--heartbreaking and hopeful all at once. Told through the gorgeous, haunting voice of Cassie O'Malley, Kerry Kletter has written a deeply moving, painfully honest, and achingly beautiful story of love, loss, survival, and healing.

No words that I write could ever do this book justice--it is one that is packed with such truth and raw emotion it simply must be experienced firsthand. THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is an absolutely stunning debut that will stay with me. Forever. No question about it.

Kerry Kletter is a force. Her talent is rare and immense--if this is what she is capable of in a debut novel, I cannot wait to see what she will do next!

* I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review *
Profile Image for Jenn Bishop.
Author 5 books214 followers
September 17, 2015
Kletter's debut will suck you in with the strongest of rip tides. Her writing is evocative, fluid, and, okay, enviable (that's the writer in me!). But what sucked me in even more than that was the power of this story.

Cassie O'Malley seems to be getting a second chance at life. After two and a half years in a mental institution, she's eighteen and in control of her destiny. Or so she thinks. She elects to leave for college; her mother -- in this case her savior, but for so many years, her tormentor -- has offered to foot the bill and even gets her a seat in her alma mater. Her mother is states away from the college, but her specter hovers over Cassie, who struggles in the adjustment to life outside of the mental institution. When her roommate, and later, her crush/potential boyfriend call her "crazy," she's tempted to believe them. The heart of this story lies far beneath the surface. It's much less about college and much more about Cassie finally working through her past, including a memory she's buried so deep it's taken a dozen years to surface.

Readers drawn to family dramas -- as I am -- will be completely captivated by this story. Kletter is brilliant at delivering a scene with a powerful punch. She's created several moments that I know will linger with me long after I've finished this book. The amount of backstory covered in this book might weigh other books down, but here, information is revealed so carefully, with flashbacks so skillfully placed, that you never question its inclusion.

An emotional reading experience about the power of memory, the relentless tug of family, and how we forge lives independent of our pasts.
Profile Image for Kali Wallace.
Author 26 books536 followers
August 6, 2015
THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is a beautiful, heart-wrenching book about the pain of growing up in a toxic family, about growing up and learning to recognize the difference between conditional and unconditional love, about how courage, strength, and kindness can help a young woman grow away from an abusive childhood.

Cassie is such a lovely character. Her voice is strong and memorable, and I was rooting for her through all of her triumphs and setbacks, even when she was falling into old patterns that I knew wouldn't end well. There are some scenes in here, especially the gut-punching memories from Cassie's childhood, that are so painfully real they will haunt me for a long time. Her relationships with family and friends are complex and imperfect, painful and troubled--sometimes infuriatingly so!--but her journey overall is so incredibly hopeful.

Highly recommended--this is a book that will stick with you.
Profile Image for Adriana Mather.
Author 7 books2,309 followers
February 7, 2016
I'm still hugging this puppy.

The most true thing I can say after reading this book is that I now trust this author can do anything and I also trust that I will be reading all of her work. She is brilliant. Her ability to capture emotions and create characters made a serious impression on me.

This book will grab you by the heart and squeeze. But it also finds humor and kindness where they are needed most. It leaves you feeling supported in the world and like you want to love yourself and others a little bit more.
Profile Image for Ashley Blake.
Author 10 books3,366 followers
May 28, 2017
All the stars. All of them. This book floored me--every single page was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and authentic and heart-breaking. I can't even coherently write about this book. It's unforgettable, but one I'll have to chew on for months, maybe longer, because it's just that complex and yet so simply sad and hopeful. This is a book to remember for 2016. It's going to blow the YA world's mind.
Profile Image for Evie.
698 reviews921 followers
April 27, 2016

I first heard about this book from Jeff Zentner, the author of The Serpent King. In fact, Jeff said that THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is his favorite YA book of all times. Being completely obsessed with Jeff's book myself, I knew this was a recommendation I just couldn't pass up. I immediately pre-ordered Kerry Kletter's book and started reading as soon as it arrived at my doorstep.

This was a phenomenal story, guys. So incredibly well written, harrowing and heartbreaking, I felt like I myself was drowning while reading it. It's not a secret that I love hard-hitting contemporary books, especially the ones that deal with difficult family issues, mental illness, bullying etc. I just love stories that pack a strong emotional punch in the guts. Well, I certainly found all that in this book, probably even more than I wished for.

Reading The First Time She Drowned was both a cathartic and emotionally crippling experience. This book felt so raw, honest and gripping, I felt physically ill while reading it. No, it wasn't gross or brutal, at least not in a physical sense. It was just so real and intense, I couldn't disconnect myself from the story and the characters. It was like being stuck in a nightmare that you can't wake up from. I realize that big part of how I feel about this book, is due to my own past experiences. I internalized a lot of what happened to Cassie. I was able to draw parallels between our lives and get insights that actually felt painful to me. It felt weird to feel this kind of strong connection with a character, especially one so damaged and desperate for love and acceptance. At the same time, it also felt good. I didn't feel alone in my struggles anymore, if you know what I mean. John Green once said that great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood, and so to me, The First Time She Drowned is exactly that kind of book. A truly great one.

Kletter did an amazing job fleshing out Cassie's character. I never doubted her feelings for one second, she never felt fake or flat to me. She felt very real, and that's probably why I was able to connect with her so easily.

Cassie's story wasn't easy to read. Everything she went through, as a kid and as a teenager, every little memory she shared with us, it all seemed so profoundly sad and unfair, I couldn't help but feel for her. I was angry at her family for leaving her alone and making her feel unloved and unwanted; and so utterly unimportant. I wanted to reach into the book and hug her. At the same time, I recognized her strength and unwillingness to give up on herself, and even her mother, as something admirable. She is a fascinating character and I am pretty sure she will stay with me forever.

The First Time She Drowned is a very important book. Dealing with extremely difficult and relevant subjects such as motherly love, mental illness, abuse and suicide, it's not an easy story to digest at all, but it's definitely one worth reading and sharing with others.
Profile Image for Sarah Ahiers.
Author 3 books377 followers
August 13, 2015
THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is kind of a cross between GIRL, INTERRUPTED, and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. Both books I really like.
So, of course, I really liked this book!

I was lucky enough to snag an early read of this book due to an arc tour. Cassie is a girl who was sent to an asylum by her mother who tells the staff lies to get her committed. Now that she's 18 and can check herself out, Cassie heads to college, braving the real world for the first time, making friends, meeting boys and trying to decide whether it's worth rebuilding a relationship with her mother.

Cassie is so believable as a character. There are times where she maybe makes the wrong choice, but that choice is so ingrained in her as a character that if she hadn't made those bad decisions, it wouldn't seem believable.

The book is an honest, raw look at the relationships between mothers and daughters, and what happens when mental illness interferes and how maybe we never really get over the need for our moms to fix things, even if its our moms who broke them in the first place.

Profile Image for Wendy MacKnight.
Author 3 books83 followers
March 22, 2016

I read this in one sitting and was gutted again and again not only by Cassie's story, but by Kerry Kletter's writing. Beautiful, poignant, and heart-wrenching, this book ably explores the scars - seen and unseen - that dysfunctional families can leave on us. We root for Cassie to overcome from page 1, and best of all, we do not see the end coming until we are there, sign of a skilled storyteller. The First Time She Drowned joins a pantheon of books about unforgettable young characters, and will be welcomed by someone who has read Franny and Zooey and is looking to read something equally true. Bravo!
Profile Image for Gina *loves sunshine*.
1,843 reviews68 followers
May 24, 2017
This read really hits you - it's a book you enjoy because the characters make you feel so many crazy emotions!!! The mother made me want to stick a fork in my eye. (why do people say that?!?) Maybe instead it's me running around with a fork chasing that Mother, yelling - just stop already!! Stop making life all about you. Stop ruining everyone!

The writing is delicious - you really take in everything. I definitely felt all of what Cassie was going through and how she was reacting to everyone. And the audio narration was great!! The lies, the manipulation, the hate. Your reactions are so severe because you can't even believe that people are treated this way!! Throughout this whole book, there wasn't a direct focused storyline. You have Cassie, her family, her roommate and 2 other boys and you are never quite sure how everything is going or how it will come together.....until the end. It is a slow but very pulsing plot, the tension is heavy and I really enjoyed it...and I wanted to hurt the MOM!!!
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,297 followers
June 9, 2016
This book is seriously beautiful - the kind that squeezes you by the throat the whole way through. Cassie is just so sad, and lost, and lonely, but in this way that goes so far beyond misery; it's as if she couldn't possibly imagine what happiness and healthy relationships and proper functioning even look like. When a character says to her that it seems like no one has ever been nice to her in her entire life, the truth of it, and of what that kind of life would feel like, seriously stabbed me in the gut. Love not only the complex exploration of mothers and daughters, but of internalized misogyny, and the way women pass it down, even when they recognize it. Fans of literary YA would do best not to miss this one.
Profile Image for Lex.
289 reviews236 followers
February 9, 2022
I enjoyed the beginning of this book much more than the rest of it. I found the portrayal of 18 year-old Cassie wasn’t completely realistic or consistent but it’s written beautifully and the analogies are poetic and unique.

Mentions of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse and suicide.

*Gifted by Penguin Random House Canada*
Profile Image for Kathleen Glasgow.
Author 11 books4,968 followers
February 19, 2016
It's taken me quite a bit of time to compose myself regarding this book. The density and beauty of the prose, the complexity and craftmanship of the story, absolutely floored me. THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is not going to be like any book you'll read this year, or the next, or the next. It's going to be a book that you will reread for the pleasures of its language and the scope of its plot. Cassie's relationship with her mother is at once toxic and gothic. Her mother's stranglehold on Cassie is deeply rooted and difficult for Cassie to escape, even after she reaches the age of eighteen and heads off to college, hoping for a fresh start. But her mother's tentacles extend even to what Cassie hopes will be a safe haven. The theme of mental illness is explored fully and sympathetically; the dynamics of this difficult, and, frankly horrifying family are carefully woven into the story of a young woman trying desperately to separate herself from her mother and her past. This isn't a fly-by-night read: this is a book that demands your attention and Kletter's prose is lush, dense, and perfect for this goth-tinged story. Kletter's style and themes remind me most of the Bronte sisters: this is a dark world for a young woman. Gorgeous, painful, this book will break your heart in a thousand places. Then you'll pick it up and start all over again.
Profile Image for Janet McNally.
Author 8 books143 followers
February 18, 2016
This is such a beautiful book, lyrical and luminous. I knew this was true from the first few pages, which were one of the loveliest prologues I've ever read. THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED will break your heart, but there are so many pockets of hope and light that your heart will be put back together by the end. I loved Kerry Kletter's examination of the mother/daughter relationship at the heart of this book. It's painful and difficult to read at times, but comes out so raw and real and complex. Cassie is treated so unfairly by her mother, almost unimaginably so. Still, she managed to make connections in a world where she starts out totally on her own. I loved the cast of characters here, and the way that there are no easy fixes in Cassie's world. Just vulnerability and hope and the discovery of love. Just a gorgeous, jewel-like novel.

Profile Image for Eve Messenger.
79 reviews60 followers
April 13, 2018
THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is a brilliant debut novel. The gorgeous writing, storytelling of such truth and clarity, and brilliantly structured plot filled with suspense kept me reading late into the night. But be warned: this protagonist experiences real cruelty, the kind of cruelty that may be devastatingly familiar to you, the kind that may cause you—like I am now—to have to process the feelings it evokes. The thing is, THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED isn’t exploitative. It doesn’t exist to aggravate old wounds; it gets blood flowing so emotional injuries can heal.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,430 reviews136 followers
August 5, 2017
This book is both infuriating and uplifting...

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

Plot: 4.5/5
Main Characters: 4/5
Secondary Characters: 4/5
The Feels: 5/5
Addictiveness: 4/5
Theme or Tone: 4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style): 4.2/5
Backdrop (World Building): 4/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Narration: 4.5/5
Ending: 5/5 Cliffhanger: Nope
Total: 4.3/5 STARS

⇝My Thoughts⇜

I've been reading this type of book a lot lately and I have say that this one has a completely different feel to it, not bad, just different. The narrator, Cassie, is very subdued, like she doesn't allow herself to truly feel, and ultimately the story feels both authentic and implausible at the same time. My feelings though, were all over the place, I was kind of spastic, even. I wanted to yell at this girl so many times, and especially her mother. Her Dad is no winner either, because he basically enables the mother. This is one kid badly in need of someone to actually listen to her. This book really made me appreciate having a loving, normal mother, even if she was taken from me too soon. How anyone can be so fucked in head and still be allowed to breed, is just unfathomable, because loving your kid is suppose to be the easy part.

⇝Will I read more from this Author⇜ I would.

Profile Image for Sonia.
Author 2 books49 followers
February 11, 2016
This is an incredible book. It's hard for me to even articulate all my feelings about it because I have so many. I don't think I've ever read a YA book that is as honest and real as this one is about mental illness and trauma, or that depicts with such clarity the complexities of familial relationships. Cassie's relationship with her mother is painful to read about, but I liked that the author doesn't let the reader off the hook by simplifying it. And yet the book has an undercurrent of hope even during its darkest moments, which is a difficult balance to pull off.

The writing is also gorgeous. I loved many a line from it, but this one stuck out: "Suddenly I don't even care that I fell, because of that brief moment when I stood, and I wonder if this is what other people seem to have that I do not -- this courage to fall because they have the memory of standing."

Profile Image for Melissa Gorzelanczyk.
Author 2 books159 followers
March 28, 2016

My God.

This book.

I would say I loved every word, every line, because I did--but then I start thinking about the first line:

My mother wore the sun like a hat.

And the last line:

No spoiler, but you have to read it, I love it so much!

And I can't get over how amazingly brilliant these two lines are...

... and then there are all the words in between and you're drowning in the brilliance, being washed over, being sucked in.
Profile Image for Bridget Hodder.
Author 3 books81 followers
May 28, 2016
Review to come. In the meantime, just know that this book will tug at you as insistently and inexorably as the tide, and when you finally reach shore again, everything will look and feel different...but it's YOU who have changed.
Profile Image for Kristy Acevedo.
Author 4 books217 followers
December 19, 2015
The First Time She Drowned is a heart-wrenching, powerful story about a mother-daughter dysfunctional relationship. Sad and hopeful with great language and insight.

*I received a free ARC copy. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

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