Saturday, February 4, 2017

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.
But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

This book wrecked me multiple times on multiple levels. Tears filled my eyes and butterflies danced in my stomach... It pulled me in with it's lyrical prose and kept me hooked with the tragic details...

It's a story about an unloved girl trying to make it in her own world. Cass has survived family hatred, abandonment, and years in a mental hospital... When she gets a chance at normalcy (college, friends, classes etc.), it's not exactly as easy as one might think. Actually, it feels as though she is just continuing her never ending tread to keep her head above water... She nearly drowns, is pulled back into her mothers web, and slowly remembers horrors from the past. She wants a new friend and a new love, but can't help but push them away in fear of being used or abandoned again. It takes time, hard work, and a little self exploration, but eventually she finds the key to staying afloat.

This was seriously one of the best books I've ever read. It was gritty and real and everything I love about YA contemporary. There were flaws in the characters and hurt in the words, but the progression throughout the book was a beautiful transformation of pure bravery and ultimate survival. I loved it and highly recommend that readers of all ages read it!

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