Release Date: 1st February 2013
Source: Received from publisher for Review.
Synopsis: 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.
Review: Oh goddammit this book has messed with my head. I don't know what to think anymore. An advance warning, this book will mess up your thoughts and confuse you. It is written in such a way that you can never tell the truth from lies, what's real and whats exaggerated It isn't black and white, instead there are so damn many shades of grey in the mix. This is a very hard book to read and it must have been really hard and daring for the author to write. In the end though it is completely worth it, this is one masterpiece of a book.
The novel begins with Jenna being rescued from a frozen lake and taken to hospital. There a police officer comes and asks her about the events that led to that night. He leaves Jenna with a tape recorder so she can verbally retell her tale, and evidently give evidence against Mr Anderson. Jenna starts at the beginning where she'd been released from an institution that she'd been in due to self harming. She goes back to school and it's there she meets this Mr Anderson, her chemistry teacher. The thing is he likes helping people with problems, girls especially. Jenna is begging for someone to listen to her so this seems like fate. The two have an unbelievable chemistry and feelings begin to emerge that in reality should stay hidden.
Jenna is a very troubled teenager and I mean troubled. You get many novels about troubled teenagers but this girl has so much shit going on and her life just keeps going downhill, so of course she's going to take advantage of the only ray of sunshine to enter her dark world. She's more cautious now she's out of the institution but she also wants to show everyone that she is normal. She's very stiff upper lipped but she still needs someone to listen to her issues and be there as a shoulder to cry on. She is alone, she has no friends and that's only going to make her feel worse. Jenna's sarcastic and you can tell there's something wrong with her from her narration. Her troubles have and do have an impact on how she views things and this is a very important part of the novel.
I really enjoyed the way this novel was told, via Jenna retelling her tale to the tape recorder. The thing is we only get one side of the situation and even that is a clouded view, which makes the reader so damn confused. Jenna knows what she believes has happened but in reality this isn't right. It isn't until you put down the book and you are literally speechless, that all the things that were wrong with the situation run through your mind. We know it was wrong but Jenna doesn't. Reading through her point of view we begin to feel the way she does, and that's attracted to Mr Anderson. We think he's there to help and listen and we don't ever think about his ulterior motives. The author places us in Jenna's footsteps and shows us how our opinions can easily become clouded and how we do not see the truth, no matter how obvious it is. Ilsa J. Bick, you are a very clever genius.
Even after reading we don't know what to think, it is seriously mind-blowing. Oh and that ending, I really wanted to cheer for Jenna showing her fierce independence but I was also furious, I can't tell you why as that would be spoiling. Drowning Instinct is a novel that will really make you think, it will make you emotionally unstable and even recalling the novel you will have a fierce wave of feelings overcome you. This novel isn't for people who are uncomfortable with taboo situations as there is much darkness in it. Although it is one that really opens your eyes and makes you see through the eyes of a victim and how they interpret what has happened to them. Nothing can prepare you for a novel like this.