Learning Not To Drown is a bit of a see-saw book for me, we had ups and downs but my overall impression is a very favourable one.
Published by Simon and Schuster on 01 Apr 2014
Genres: Realistic Fiction, YA Contemporary
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Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.
There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.
To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.
Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.
Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.
Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet
I have my issues with Clare’s parents too. I couldn’t understand them and they bothered me. This issue resolved itself a bit during the book as one of Clare’s friends talked about why she thought Clare’s parents behaved as they did. It helped me to understand their actions a little even if I still didn’t like them.
I finished Learning not to Drown at night and the next day as I was driving to work, I was worrying about the characters. Would Clare be able to live with her decisions, what would her brother would do? I was imagining their life in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years time! I had to remind myself they would be ok, they were only in a book not real! Always a great sign of an author’s ability to create realistic characters.
Summary : A great book about family relationships and the roles we have in a family. Highly recommended if you like character driven books.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Simon and Schuster for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Bookish Chat : Do you forget that your characters don’t exist outside the pages of the book? Do you worry about them as I do!