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Drowning Instinct


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About the Author

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, a film scholar, a former Air Force major, and an award-winning, bestselling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. Her novel Ashes was published by Quercus in 2011. Ilsa lives with her family in rural Wisconsin.


Gr 10 Up-Jenna Lord, 16, recounts her "fairy tale with teeth and claws" from her hospital bed in Ilsa Bick's novel (Carolrhoda Books, 2012) in which severe dysfunctional behavior is the norm. Jenna has recently spent four months in a psych ward for a cutting addiction. Every adult in the teenager's life is unreliable and inadequate. She refers to her philandering, violent physician father as "psycho dad" and her mother as the "crispy critter" drunk. Jenna's grandfather has sexually abused her and her father's partner attempts to rape her. Possibly worst of all is the inappropriate behavior from a trusted, married teacher and coach twice Jenna's age. Jenna's compulsive, repetitive communication with her brother, who is on active duty in Iraq, exposes an additional tragedy. The drama goes on and on, and through it all Jenna maintains a straight A average in school. Trite statements such as "I see only you" and "I'm here for you" are interspersed throughout. The dismissive, critical portrayal of counselors and psychiatric programs may deter students who genuinely need professional intervention from seeking it. Other than mispronouncing the names of several Wisconsin towns, Kathleen McInerney's masterful performance ensures that each character and scene is easily visualized and experienced. However, the quality of the presentation does not make up for the story's flaws.-Rebecca James, Currey Ingram Academy, Brentwood, TN (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

'A novel of pain, desperation and romance that breaks all the rules. A brilliant read' Kiss magazine. * Kiss magazine *
'Compelling, thoughtful and beautifully written. I adored every word of it and I implore each and every one of you to go and read it' So Little Time For Reading. * So Little Time For Reading *
'Every page simmers with suspense, and the knowledge that something big is coming, something bad bubbling under the surface ... Jenna's story captivated me' The Bookbag. * Bookbag *

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