Left Drowning Book Poster Image

Left Drowning

(i)

 

Really racy romance with explicit sex and not much else.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers might enjoy debating Sabin's idea: "If you believe in fate and some kind of meaning and sense in this ... world, then believe with abandon..." What role do you believe fate plays in our lives?

Positive messages

With love and support (and in some cases, therapy), the characters eventually learn to have happy lives despite awful, tragic pasts. 

Positive role models

Blythe begins her story as a drunken and depressed mess, but by the end she has a circle of friends, a partner, and has built a life of her own.

Violence

Chris recounts in detail horrific abuse at the hands of his father who both physically and psychologically tortured his siblings and him (he was beaten by a mallet, forced to carry heavy objects, nearly drowned in a toilet, and more). Blythe's parents are killed in a fire, and she recounts how she injured her brother while trying to save him from the blaze. One night, a drunken Sabin forces Blythe to kiss him. Estelle wants to be beaten up during sex. 

Sex

Many vivid descriptions of sex between the two main characters, including intercourse (with condoms), oral sex (without condoms), and more. Blythe and Chris talk graphically to each other during sex. There's also a detailed masturbation scene, a reference to a friend having group sex, a mention of vibrators, and Blythe catches a professor having sex with a student in public. Blythe has drunken sexual encounters before Chris, but she's still a virgin when they meet. 

Language

Lots of uses of "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," etc. Also, graphic words used for body parts. 

Consumerism

Not too much: Starbucks, Volvo, Coke -- and one Kindle reference that feels conspicuous, given that the book's published by Amazon's imprint. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of drinking until drunkenness, including by the main character (who's of legal drinking age). Another character gets a DUI and later has to go to rehab to get his drinking under control. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Left Drowning features many vivid descriptions of sex, including intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, and more, including a character who wants her boyfriend to hit her during sex. Blythe's parents died in a tragic fire, which she recounts in detail, and Chris details horrific abuse at the hands of his father who both physically and psychologically tortured his siblings and him (he was beaten by a mallet, forced to carry heavy objects, nearly drowned in a toilet, and more). There's plenty of mature language, and lots of drinking until drunkenness, including by the main character (who's of legal drinking age). Another character gets a DUI and later has to go to rehab to get his drinking under control.  

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Blythe has been a drunken and depressed mess since her parents died in a tragic fire four years ago, but when she meets Chris -- and his offbeat but incredibly close brothers and sister -- she begins to be able to remember what actually happened that night, and build a new, healthier life for herself that includes studying, running, and hanging out with friends. But while she and Chris share an incredible attraction, and even hook up one steamy night, he says he's not ready for a relationship with her. Blythe understands he has demons of his own, but she isn't sure he will let her in to his past, even after telling him, \"You saved me. And I wish that you would let me save you.\"

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Well, this isn't full of subtlety or complex characters; readers won't even get a real sense of Blythe, the protagonist, or why everyone seem to think she's so special. Chris' siblings -- including drama geek Sabin, tough-talking Jesus freak Estelle and her sweet gay twin, Eric -- come across as especially two-dimensional.

In the end, this is a book full of descriptive sex scenes, dramatic fights and revelations, and philosophical talk about fate vs. chance -- all held together by some pretty over-the-top plotting. (Because of their pasts, both Blythe and Chris are wealthy, so this drama often takes place in hotel suites or huge houses overlooking water). Really, really mature readers who like racy romances might appreciate that this book does include a positive message: With love and support (and in some cases, therapy), the characters learn to have happy lives despite awful, tragic pasts. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the emerging new adult genre, which features characters in their early 20s. What makes this different from a YA book?

  • Left Drowning features some pretty intense material, including explicit sex scenes. What age would you recommend it for?

  • Should a book ever be off-limits to a reader? Who should be able to decide what you get to read?

Book details

Author:Jessica Park
Genre:Coming of Age
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Skyscape
Publication date:July 16, 2013
Number of pages:416
Available on:Paperback, Kindle

This review of Left Drowning was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?