Audio Review: Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick

6adb9786 6c2b 4fc5 a93a 01a0d9afc2df zpsc2bde631 Audio Review: Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. BickTitle: Drowning Instinct
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: February 1st 2012 by Lerner Publishing Group (audio: July 3rd 2012 by Brilliance Audio)
Format: Paperback 345 pages (audio: 9 hrs and 46 mins)
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Source: Purchased from Audible
5 owls Audio Review: Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick


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 fairytale. 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 Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears 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.

My thoughts

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.

Connect with the author



Barnes & Noble paperback
Barnes & Noble Audio
Books A Million hardcover

The Book Depository

Other opinions

The Phantom Paragrapher
Reading at Berkeley High

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I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. Hi, Andrea!

    Wow, what an excellent review!! You give your readers a good feel for the book, as well as a very detailed, well-written analysis. I love to read reviews like this one!

    Having said that, I have to add that I would not read this book — it’s too depressing. Besides, I normally prefer to read paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction, and fantasy. I’m allergic to too much reality….lol.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts! :)

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