10 August 2013

Review: Left Drowning

Left Drowning
Left Drowning by Jessica Park

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Closer to a 3.5.

So I've slowly worked my way through Jessica Park's independent stuff this year, and Left Drowning is her newest release. Aiming for a more "new adult" genre target this time, in a lot of ways it's perfect, and in a lot of ways I think the book is a piece of evidence against the way independent publishing can sometimes direct book content.

The story is interesting enough, where it follows a girl, Blythe, in her senior year of college. She's more than a little withdrawn due to a family tragedy, but she eventually meets Chris, who has similar problems. The two broken people end up bonding, and it becomes more of a story about how two people who are so broken yet are so well matched can (or should) end up with each other.

In terms of writing, editorial, etc, the book is as good, if not better, than Flat-Out Love, which I did enjoy. The story moves along at a fairly perfect pace, and Park doesn't waste a lot of time with things that don't matter - if the plot doesn't need to spend a significant amount of time between two scenes, it just skips it. I definitely liked that.

My one real complaint, and this is less a style problem than a personal preference, is that this book is very mature. Perhaps this is where New Adult is going, perhaps I just don't read enough non-genre adult literature to begin with, perhaps it's something else, but there is a lot of sex in this book. We're not talking Fifty Shades erotica, but the sex is significant, plentiful, and descriptive. I'm not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt very gratuitous. This is where my concern about independent publishing being directed a certain way comes into play - when Park published Flat-Out Matt, the much of the more mature content was created specifically due to fan request. I don't have any issue with people writing what they want to write, or writing to fulfill fan requests (especially for companion pieces that aren't necessary for enjoyment of the main text), but it's hard not to see that trend and question whether the more "adult" content is there less because it needs to be and more because fans want it to be. I understand the danger in trying to read the mind of an author and assign motives based solely on blog posts and fictional writing, but the book really didn't need it to be successful, and it just felt unnecessary.

If you're not bothered at all by that previous paragraph, you should grab this book. If you are bothered by that content, you should still grab that book and just skip those parts that are significant in nature. Overall, I did enjoy reading this book quite a bit, my major complaints are more because of my own preferences than the overall quality of the book itself.

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