Drowning Instinct

Drowning Instinct

by Ilsa J. Bick


$16.16 $17.95 Save 10% Current price is $16.16, Original price is $17.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, June 20


There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord's first sixteen years were not exactly a fairy tale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Iraq. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and everyone cries for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain...magnetism.

And there are stories where it's hard to be sure who's a prince and who's a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761377528
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2012
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe, former Air Force major, and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. She has written extensively in the Star Trek, Battletech, Mechwarrior: Dark Age, and Shadowrun universes. Her original stories have been featured in numerous anthologies, magazines and online venues. Ilsa's YA paranormal, Draw the Dark, was also a semifinalist for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (as Stalag Winter). Ilsa currently lives with her family and other furry creatures in rural Wisconsin and across the street from the local Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: They're very quiet and come around for sugar only once in a blue moon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Drowning Instinct 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never written a review before. Nor have i ever been so emotionally attached to a book. This book is a definite must have. I fihished it in one day because i just could not put it down. Right from the start I liked Mr. Anderson. Or should i say Mitch? He isn't persistent or annoying. I found myself anticipating his arrival in each chapter. And i love Jenna. I understood her so well throughout the book. I had no clue as to what to expect at the end, it was very unpredictable. Please dont delay in getting this book. This is coming from a teenage girl who isn't into "romantic" books nor do I agree with a relationship between a student and there teacher. Yet Now, this is my favorite book hands down.
Keely-Ann More than 1 year ago
Holy. Hell. What an emotional ride.. I think I experienced every possible feeling a human being can have reading this little heartbreaker. "They call it the drowning instinct. It's when drowning doesn't look like drowning. ... you don't look like you're in trouble. You don't scream, but that's because you can't... You're just there, so people don't notice your dying. ..." I read it practically in one sitting ~ unable to put it down ~ and I remember looking up from it from time to time, catching the breathe I didn't realize I was holding, and shaking my head in disbelief as if the movement would knock the shock out of me. There are some very controversial elements in this story ~ factors that have seemed to influence some readers to give this book a more negative review. An older man. A teenage girl. High school teacher. Troubled student. Sounds like a recipe for disaster ~ or at least some jail time. But, although situations like this would ordinarily cause me to cringe, I actually felt... hope?... for these two tragically broken people... The story is told in Jenna's voice as she "confesses" the truth of an incident into a policeman's tape recorder.. And from the very start, it's made completely clear that she is... damaged... Jenna has been ~ nearly literally ~ through Hell, back, Hell, and back again... Her family is a well-masked mess, and she has the horrific urge to release her pain through seeing her own blood seep from her skin ~ she's a cutter, but she's trying not to be... She moves to a new school ~ one she thought would be like any other, until she meets Mitch...er...Mr. Anderson. It begins innocent enough. A well intentioned teacher trying to help one of his students thrive... so when does it come to the point where it crosses the line? The thing is, Mitch is just as torn apart, and he sees a mirror image of his broken heart in Jenna.... They seem to feel that they pull strength from each other's tragedies... but, at the same time, they destroy each other and themselves... This book is almost overwhelming at times.. Jenna is struck hard with one obstacle after another ~ it's amazing she's able to hold on at all.. A drunken mother and Psycho Dad ~ parents who are too busy with their own dysfunctional relationship to see what is happening with their daughter. A pedophile for a grandfather, a brother away at war... and in the middle of all that, her beacon of hope, Mitch Anderson... the only one who sees her and brings her the truth.. or does he? The writing is poetic and Jenna's voice distinct in its resigned tone. Not a light read with its elements of self-destruction, denial, and betrayal.. But oh-so-worth your time.. Five out of five stars from this reader.
nlsobon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are books that stay with you long after you finish them; ¿Drowning Instinct¿ is one of those books. In the beginning of the story, we meet Jenna and Detective Pendleton (aka Bob). We know something has happened. We know that Jenna has been pulled from the water, and we know that the detective insists that she¿s a victim, but we don¿t entirely know why. Until she tells her story into the recorder.I wasn¿t sure what to expect with this one, but after reading ¿Ashes¿, I¿ll pretty much read anything Bick writes. ¿Drowning Instinct¿ is, in all honesty, a story about a group of broken characters. And in this one, there are no happy endings.Since there are a lot of shocking revelations throughout this novel, I¿m going to do my best to avoid spoilers. I will say this, in most stories, there is that happy ending. There is a time when the hell the characters go through begins to seize, and eventually, everything is okay. And really, in life, things don¿t always work out that way. Bick manages to convey this wonderfully as she explores the personal demons Jenna, her parents, her teacher, and even her school mates are battling.Jenna¿s life is far from perfect ¿ she¿s falling apart, all while watching everyone that she cares about fall right along with her. Her family is falling apart. She can¿t stop thinking about the feel of a blade pressed against her skin. And the fire. And Matt. She¿s created this fantasy, because she knows that if she accepts the truth, she won¿t be able to take it. But when Mitch comes along, eager to help her, eager to fix her¿Jenna opens up. She allows the fantasy to fall, to face reality, but reality isn¿t much better.The characters are each facing their own struggles. They all want to ignore the truth that¿s staring them in the face, because they are fearful of what will become of it. But everyone has a breaking point, and they all manage to reach theirs. It isn¿t a happy story. No, in fact, it¿s far from a happy story. But I couldn¿t put this one down.I will say this, I will continue to read anything that Bick puts out.Here¿s a quote from ¿Drowning Instinct¿ that I think sums up the story rather well:¿Everybody breaks sooner or later, Bob. Anyone can drown. Sometimes you see it. Most often, you don¿t because the body protects and the skin hides, so drowning doesn¿t look like drowning and some people scar so nicely.Take it from an expert.¿
Melanie_McCullough on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everybody breaks sooner or later, Bob. Anyone can drown. Sometimes you see it. Most often, you don't because the body protects and the skin hides, so drowning doesn't look like drowning and some people scar so nicely. Take it from an expert.This is just one of the many insightful passages featured in Drowning Instinct, but it is one that will stick with me forever, as will Jenna's story. I can't get it out of my head. When we first meet Jenna, she is in the hospital, frozen and wet, having been pulled from the lake. She is questioned by a detective who provides her with a tape recorder and instructs her to tell her story. It is through her recordings that we learn the truth of what happened and how those events led to her near drowning.When it comes to books, I'm a pretty good judge of what I will and will not like. So, when I requested a copy of Drowning Instinct for review I was fairly certain that I would enjoy the book. I expected it to challenge me, to test the gray areas of my morals. I'd never considered the possibility that I would find a love story as hopeful and as tragic as it was wrong. Drowning Instinct is an exceptional novel. So perfectly formed. And so filled with pain and heartbreak and love, that I was left breathlessly sobbing and shaking at the end. This novel tore me to shreds and broke my heart. It skewed my perspective to the point that I was hoping for something that I shouldn't have been. Or should I have? I don't know any more. I don't even know what else to say except that I absolutely LOVED it. I could go on and tell you how much this book has affected me, right down to my bones, but honestly, this is something the reader needs to experience for themselves, in precisely the way Jenna has laid it out for them to understand. I will tell you that this is a tough book. It's not pretty or optimistic. It's dark and real. But it's also intelligent, intense, and provocative. It will break your heart and no doubt leave you questioning much of what you believe about right and wrong.
WilowRaven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts:My heart is in my throat! I just finished this book and I can't believe what I read. God it was so good! And that ending! I cannot find the words to describe how I feel right now. Holy crap! There is no way my words could do this book justice. Truly a fantastic read for me. Extremely hard to put down!I love the way in which this story is told. Our MC Jenna is sitting in a hospital room talking into a digital recorder that her friendly neighborhood police detective just handed her. She proceeds to tell Officer Bob her story. She tells US her story and wow - it really feels like she is talking right to you as you read. And her story? It's not for the faint of heart. Her actions are questionable. The people she is suppose to trust aren't the best role models. The things she does in for the people she cares about don't really show her at her best. And, these people? Not the best types to have in your life.Jenna sounds like a mess, doesn't she? Well, she is. But she's also very real. Do I agree with what she did? Maybe not, but I understand how it could happen. I understand that people are capable of so many different things and even when you think you have it all figured out, one act, one word and your world can fall apart. Final verdict:To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. Drowning Instinct will get under your skin and it won't leave you alone. You'll carry around these characters with you for a very long time. My first Ilsa Bick book and surely not my last!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Very well writen the main character had an amazingly clear voice and mind unlike some of tge other books I have read. I felt with Jenna and I can also relate to her on many things. The ending always gets me and makes me emotinal. I fell in love with jennna and also with mitch. This is a must read !!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bok is just amazing. I will admit it was a bit hard for me to get into it at first,but once I was hooked I could not set it down. I think her writing style is phenomenal, and she truly knows how to ask life's hardest questions in such a unique way. My favrite author of all time now. I just started White Space and I'm already hooked. Love Ilsa so much!
eternalised More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, with a great cast of characters. Main character Jenna has gone through so much that she seems distant, cold, but at the same time as reader you can’t help but connect with her. Jenna’s hardships just about broke my heart. Don’t start reading this one if you’re looking for something light, but if you want a book that’ll change your life, this is an excellent choice. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheSeparates More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing read. A novel that will make your chest ache. This is one of those books that you read, and it stays in your brain for days after. And then after those days pass, you'll still think about it every now and then. It certainly was and is that way for me. Jenna is a girl who doesn't have much. The "not much" applies to the aspects of life people generally want the most: friends, family, happiness, love. And she doesn't ask for more either. She just zombies through her days. That is until she meets Mr. Anderson. And he seems to be the perfect teacher, a brilliant man, and a loving father and husband.   And he shows her the first act of kindness, more than anyone else in the novel seems to have done for her. But then you'll think , Is he saving her? Or, is he drowning her?  You can try to decide that after you read the book, but this might be one of the novels where you won't be able to find an answer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw this book in the store and it was the only one left. I read the back and didn't think it sounded spectacular. But I read the prologue and was hooked. I didn't buy the book then, but went back about a month later and it was still there. I bought it. I was completely addicted and probably would have finished the book in one day if I didn't have school. I like Mr. Anderson from the beginning and couldn't wait until his arrival in each chapter. However the ending and a little before that I hated the book. I guess I just don't like romances nor teacher and student romances. The ending did schock me. I actually was depressed after the book. I made myself get out of it but, everytime I think of the book I literally start hating the world. It is not a book I would recommend (unless you just want to read the beginning and middle), because of the way it made me feel. I just don't agree with what they did. I also didn't like what she did in the very ending. Like the last sentece, I mean how could you do that to Bob?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is phenomenal and i will never forget it.
The_Busy_Bibliophile More than 1 year ago
After reading Katie’s review of Drowning Instinct over at Blook Girl, I picked up the audio version, and I’m so glad I did. Jenna is rescued from a near-drowning and while in the hospital, an officer gives her a tape recorder and asks her to record what happened, how she ended up in the frozen lake. So she starts at the beginning: her troubled home life, her arrival at a new school and everything that happens after. She pulls no punches and spares no details. Jenna is a hot mess. She’s had an unfortunate upbringing which includes a fire that nearly killed her, being molested, living with a drunk mother and a super controlling father, being abandoned by her military-bound brother and self cutting. Unsurprisingly, she has some issues. She was a likable character, though. She had her moments of whining or brattiness, but she deserves some slack. The infamous teacher, Mitch, well… I had some issues. He’s relatable and nice enough, and I understand he has his own issues, but he’s an adult. I’ve seen many reviews that say this story shows it’s not all black and white, that there are some gray areas, but I disagree. An adult is an adult is an adult. He should know better, no matter what’s going on in his life. But, let’s put that aside for now and just go with it, for the sake of this review. As a general character, I did like Mitch. He was kind and friendly and I think he truly wanted to be there for Jenna, who clearly needed someone to be on her side. The other characters were there to be mean or bad to our 2 main characters, so we’d feel sorry for them. And they succeeded. They weren’t full characters, more like caricatures of people. But that’s okay, they served their purpose and I really just wanted to spend more time with Mitch and Jenna. Because even though I would oppose such a relationship in real life, I loved reading about it! They had some great scenes together, very sweet and romantic (if maybe a bit clinical). Ilsa J. Bick has a way with words (not a surprise to me, having read her book Ashes), but I was still impressed with the way she weaved the story together. There was a bit of action, a lot of mystery, some romance and even witty dialogue. Several times I found myself anxious to know what happened next, and this was the only frustrating part about listening to the audio version – where I would normally skip a bit to get to the next scene, because I just couldn’t wait, I was forced to wait for the narrator to get there. Speaking of the narrator, Kathleen McInerney did a fabulous job of bringing the story to life. At first I thought she sounded too young, but it worked and she soon became Jenna. Also, since the entire story is Jenna speaking into a microphone, there was a certain “rightness” of listening to the story, as opposed to reading it. This is sometimes a hard story, for the subject matter, but it’s an interesting one. The writing is taut and kept me on the edge of my seat many times. And you know that bit from the book’s summary: "There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)" Keep that bit in mind. The Sum Up: I love everything about this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to follow at first but okay overall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read plenty of books before this but i have to say this one is now listed as one of my top favorites. The book was amazing. Definitely something to read.
AminaA More than 1 year ago
WOW I could not put this book down, I hope this is not the end of the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely one of the most interesting novels I've read so far this year. If you want a book that's not your average love story, this is for you (unless you really dislike anything involving a young student/teacher relationship). Despite the taboo romance, I suggest reading this book because there's simply no other story that's told as beautifully as this. I've read a few novels that involve taboo student/teacher romance and none have come up to par with this book. This story has a bittersweet romance and a plot that leads you on an emotional roller coaster. You'll feel sorry for characters, be angry at others, and be left in a panic frenzy wondering what will happen next. How the story closes off is not something I would have expected...but then again, there's a lot of things you'd have never expected to occur in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Possibly one of the most emotionally intense books I have ever read. Anyone who loves staying on their toes while they are reading will absolutely love it.
Coot More than 1 year ago
read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good! I loved it so much I wrote to the author and she was so nice! A must-read in my book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though it was hard to like Jenna, the main character, I was still able to enjoy the book. Just like Romeo and Juliet, this book was very tragic. I had a very different story in mind after reading the summary, so it was hard to adjust to the book. Jenna isn't a very sane person, and sometimes it was just too hard to imagine her mind and point of view. I had such a frustrating time reading this book, I hated some characters, and then the book would change my mind. In the end, i really enjoyed this book. Even though, it left me in tears.