(Goodreads) Jenna is sweet sixteen, the age when a girl is supposed to find her prince.
Instead she finds Mr Anderson – intelligent, handsome, married Mr Anderson, who just happens to be her chemistry teacher. With a dark past and a difficult family, Jenna is just happy to have someone to protect her, to worry about her, to love her.
But should she be suspicious of Mr Anderson’s reputation for helping ‘damaged’ students?
Why is the most popular girl in school suddenly jealous of her? And where is Mr Anderson’s wife?
This is a love story that breaks all the rules, but that won’t stop it breaking your heart.
The Short Story? - My favourite read of the year so far, Drowning Instinct takes forbidden romance to a whole new level. Incredibly raw and undoubtedly powerful, Bick explores the complexity behind a romance that is morally wrong. Dark, grim and utterly compelling, Bick's Drowning Instinct blurs the lines between right and wrong. Refreshingly original and beautifully written, Drowning Instinct takes YA fiction to a whole new level.
The Long Story? - This definitely isn't a novel for everyone, it explores the moral ambiguity behind a teacher and student love affair. On top of that, it also explores very serious psychological issues and dysfunctional families. So it's not a very happy book, for a contemporary fiction novel, it's definitely more teeth and claws then fluff and clouds. That said, it was absolutely brilliant. It was beautifully written, the narration was compelling and the plot was full of twists and turns. I know there are a couple of YA books that take on the teacher/student relationship aspect but none have been done as well as this. It was raw, full of emotion and refreshingly real. Bick isn't trying to sell the whole "THIS IS WRONG"perspective, in fact she writes such a beautiful love story that you question whether the love affair between Jenna and Mr Anderson is so wrong that it is right? It's such a beautiful complexity that pushes boundaries and blurs the lines. It's unpredictable and chaotic yet there is something compelling about the novel, I couldn't put it down!
The novel is completely narrated by our protagonist Jenna which allowed readers to form a deeper connection to her character. It probably also influenced our perspective of the book since it was very subjective however I thought that was actually a good thing because it really gave insight into Jenna's character . I really like Jenna, she was so broken and incredibly real that reading the book, I just felt waves of emotion crash over me as Jenna's life crumbled to pieces. She's gone through so much and yet nothing seems to be going right until she meets Mr. Anderson. I actually really liked his character, he wasn't despicable or pedophiliac, I genuinely believed that he loved Jenna and their romance was so many degrees of wrong yet you can't help but secretly wish things turned out differently.
Drowning Instinct is not a book for the light-hearted. It's dark and twisted and grim, it's explores touchy subjects that many authors wouldn't ever consider writing. It's a bold book and a gamble but I think Bick pulled it off really well, it was a beautiful love story that was different and not something that you usually find in YA. The characters were complex and truly troubled on so many levels. It's a book about companionship and love and questioning whether something is wrong if two people are truly in love and it's about the consequences of loving too much. Edgy, raw and chilling, Dark Instinct is a publishing phenomenal.
What's it Worth? - Break Out the Piggybank
Badass Bookie xx