The Drowning


Water, water, everywhere: His brother has drowned, but Carl can't remember a thing. Until it all comes flooding back...with a vengeance. By the author of the internationally bestselling NUMBERS series

With a jolt, Carl opens his eyes. He's on the bank of a lake, soaked to the bone. Rob, his brother, is being zipped up in a body bag. And a girl, drenched and trembling, is talking to the police. Who is she? ...

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The Drowning

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Water, water, everywhere: His brother has drowned, but Carl can't remember a thing. Until it all comes flooding back...with a vengeance. By the author of the internationally bestselling NUMBERS series

With a jolt, Carl opens his eyes. He's on the bank of a lake, soaked to the bone. Rob, his brother, is being zipped up in a body bag. And a girl, drenched and trembling, is talking to the police. Who is she? What happened in the water? And why can't he remember any of it?
"Bring her to me . . ."
At first Carl thinks it's his grief speaking. Remembering Rob. The sound of his voice, things he used to say.
"Bring her to me . . ."
But then Carl starts to see him. Rob's face in the water before it washes down the drain. His ghost rising up from the puddles. His hands clawing out of the moldy, rain-rotted walls. Like a dripping tap, he won't stop.
"Bring her to me!"
Rob may be dead. But he's not gone. Because he wants to finish what he started, and he won't go under alone.
By the author of the internationally bestselling NUMBERS series, THE DROWNING is a dark psychodrama about love and brothers, crimes and consequences, redemption and revenge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the NUMBERS series

"Even the idea of this book gave me chills. How would you like to know someone's fate just by looking in their eyes? Creepy and original!" -- R.L. Stine

"A page-turner . . . engrossing and au courant. One thing is certain: Ward's NUMBERS is ace." -- THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

* "Gritty, bold, and utterly unique. Jem's isolation and pain, hidden beneath a veneer of toughness, are palpable, and the ending is a real shocker." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

* "It's a gritty tale, unsparingly told, and Ward demonstrates exceptional control of her material. Her characters remain true to themselves and their bleak circumstances, making for some excruciating moments....Despite its supernatural premise, Jem's story shines a stark and honest light on the lives of teens on the fringe." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

"A lovely, bittersweet tearjerker about living life to the fullest." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS

"A moving portrayal of life and love lost." -- BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Lindsay Grattan
Fifteen-year-old Carl is trying to piece together what happened the day his brother, Rob, drowned. It is difficult to do, as he has lost most of his memory from the accident at the lake that took his seventeen-year-old brother. Little by little, flashes of memory come back to him, visions of Rob and a girl named Neisha that haunt him. Gradually, he finds clues as to what happened in the form of pictures and newspaper articles. When Neisha confesses to Carl that Rob was trying to kill her in the lake before he drowned, a slew of secrets begin to escape and Carl’s world is turned upside down. Ward presents a suspenseful tale of brothers at odds over a girl, even in death. Carl fights his way through the story, a likeable underdog who lives with his alcoholic mother in deplorable conditions. He is haunted by the ghost of his evil brother, who wants Carl to help him kill Neisha, Rob’s ex-girlfriend and the girl with whom Carl is in love. The plot is lacking, and there is a constant feeling of gloom on every page, which can be a bit much at times. There are brief moments of hope with Carl and Neisha’s budding romance, but overall the resolution is not satisfying enough to make the bleakness palatable. Reluctant readers may find this dark tale intriguing, but avid fans of suspense and thrillers may be disappointed. Reviewer: Lindsay Grattan; Ages 12 to 18.
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
This dark psychodrama is told in the first person by fifteen-year-old Carl Adams, whose brother, Rob, drowned in an area lake. The story opens as Carl sees his brother being zipped into a body bag; Carl has amnesia and cannot remember what happened. A girl, Neisha, who was Rob’s girlfriend, but whom Carl does not recognize, is talking to police. Her identity eludes him. Did he possibly play some part in his brother’s death? Carl’s home life, with an alcoholic mother and their poverty, is also a problem. He seeks out Neisha to learn what really happened at the lake. Rob’s vindictiveness from the grave is haunting. This creepy thriller will capture the interest of older teen readers. Water becomes a menacing character in the story and its unrelenting presence and subsequent impact on the characters as well as the reader are chilling. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith; Ages 13 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—It's a summer filled with thunderstorms when Carl, his brother Rob, and his brother's girlfriend Neisha head to the lake for a swim. A sudden storm blows up and in the wind and rain, all three struggle to stay afloat. Rob doesn't make it. When Carl becomes conscious in the hospital, he can't remember what happened, just how his drowned brother looked as he was zipped into the body bag. As Carl's memories begin to surface, so does the terrible haunting by his dead brother who claims that Carl "owes him." Although The Drowning explores the usual love triangle story (Carl was infatuated with his brother's girlfriend), there is a more ominous thread; Carl becomes convinced that he drowned his brother. He remembers a robbery attempt that he and his brother were involved in that results in death. Tension runs high as Carl believes that Rob is trying to force him to kill Neisha—even as his relationship with Neisha turns romantic. Ward has penned a suspenseful tale with a protagonist that teens can relate to. Though it ends improbably, most readers won't mind. Anyone who has lived with a bullying older brother like Rob or an especially difficult family member will be able to relate to Carl's conflicted feelings about his sibling and be relieved when good triumphs over evil.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545627719
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 521,068
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: HL560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

RACHEL WARD first won a writers' award at a regional arts festival, and her prize-winning short story turned into the opening chapter of NUMBERS, her breakout debut novel. The trilogy, which includes THE CHAOS and concludes with INFINITY, has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Optioned in advance of publication, THE DROWNING is already in development as a major motion picture. Rachel lives in Bath, England, with her husband and their two children.
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