ARC Review: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterAuthor: Kerry Kletter

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Philomel Books

Publication Date: March 15, 2016

352 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I’ve been finding it difficult to write this review. For several reasons, I suppose. It’s so lovely, and I know no matter how I say it, my words will never be able to properly describe just how beautiful Kerry’s prose is. And don’t you find it difficult to talk about books that seemed to have crawled into your heart to live?

So I’ll start with what I said on Goodreads immediately after finishing the book:
Wow. Compelling, emotional, raw, and real with some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read.

Let’s talk about that prose, okay? It’s so real and enthralling and gorgeous. I love all of the allusions and metaphors for the ocean and water throughout the book, and you can really feel that in the ebb and flow of Kerry’s prose. It pulls you in the way your feet sink into the sand right at the water’s edge. I was sucked in from the very beginning; all you’d have to do is read the prologue and you’ll be pulled in immediately.

This book is the perfect one to recommend to those adults who think YA books aren’t for them. It’s the definition of a crossover book. TFTSD is intelligent and sensitive, emotionally mature and sophisticated. This book is difficult but realistic, heavy and serious but needed. It’s about the way we see ourselves and how those around us can change that. There are some seriously difficult themes but there is also hope and I think that was my favorite part of all.

The bottom line: An emotionally difficult and serious book that deals with those things in some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read.

Shout out to Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles who was kind enough to get me an ARC!

The First Time She Drowned Pre-Order Blast

TFTSD_PreOrder_Banner

New books are amazing. New books that come with free gifts are even better!

Debut Young Adult author Kerry Kletter is giving you just that!
Pre-order THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED on or before March 14th, 2016 and you’ll get a signed poster and bookmark! Supplies are limited to 50 sets, and ship ONLY in the US.

Getting your free poster and bookmark is as easy as 1..2..3..4..

  1. Go to whatever book seller you like and pre-order THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED (links below in case you need them!)
  2. Screen shot your receipt!
  3. E-mail that receipt to meandmyshelf(at)gmail(dot)com  ATTN: TFTSD Pre-Order
  4. Fill out THIS FORM so Kerry knows where to send your goodies!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterCassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, she enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, 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 the truth? 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.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

PRAISE:

“Beautiful and passionate . . . [Kletter is] a writer of great distinction and infinite promise.” —Pat Conroy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad

“A lovely and haunting keep-you-up-all-night heart-wrencher that is both beautiful and raw, painful and uplifting. An incredible read.” —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

“Sentence by sentence . . . one of the most lyrical novels I’ve ever read. Haunting and exquisite.” —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

The First Time She Drowned is an exquisite and masterful dive, a brave exploration into the complexities of family, and the saving grace of friendship. Kletter’s writing is hypnotic, her characters alive, her story tragic, beautiful, hopeful. Simply put, this book is stunning.” —David Arnold, critically acclaimed author of Mosquitoland

ABOUT KERRY:

Kerry KletterKerry Kletter has had a lifelong passion for story. She holds a degree in literature and has an extensive background in theater, having appeared in film, television, and onstage. When not writing, Kerry can be found surfing, running, working with animals, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic. A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Kerry now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her partner, screenwriter David Zorn. The First Time She Drowned is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @kkletter.

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Check out my interview with Kerry and her MC Cassie!

Guest Post | Kerry Kletter, The First Time She Drowned

Today I am so so excited to be hosting Kerry Kletter, author of one of my most anticipated debuts of 2016 – THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED, as well as her MC Cassie for an interview. I cannot wait to read her book, and this interview just made me even more excited for its publication date: March 15! Read the interview, learn more about the book and Kerry, and then add it to your Goodreads TBR/pre-order it!

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ABOUT THE BOOK
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterPublisher: Philomel Books // March 15, 2016

The beautiful struggle of a girl desperate for the one relationship that has caused her the most pain 

Cassie O’Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution—dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over. She attends college, forms new friendships, and even attempts to start fresh with her mother. But before long, their unhealthy relationship threatens to pull Cassie under once again. As Cassie struggles to reclaim her life, childhood memories persist and confuse, and Cassie must consider whose version of history is real, and more important, whose life she must 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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Books-a-Million |Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The Book Depository
[FYI: None of these are affiliate links]

Describe yourself in 6 words.
Cassie: Barbed wire & broken glass & love-seeking eyes
Kerry: loyal, cheerful, emotional, empathetic, determined, worrier

Describe where you live in 6 words.
Cassie: Trapped inside walls in every way
Kerry: In my bed writing, mostly. J

What is your greatest fear?
Cassie: That I am unlovable
Kerry: Losing someone I love

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Cassie: Salem witches
Kerry: You know, I think I feel entirely too ordinary to identify with any specifically! But more generally, the women I resonate most with in history were the rule-breakers. I’ve never been terribly good at following rules— particularly ones I find unfair, unjust or unnecessary.

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
Cassie: I stand up for myself and my friends
Kerry: Same.

What is your motto?
Cassie: The truth shall set you free
Kerry: Leap and the net will appear.

 Name 3 of your favorite songs.
Cassie:
1) Someone Save My Life Tonight – Elton John
2) Freebird – Lynard Skynard
3) Try – Colbie Caillat

Kerry:
Hmm, how to choose?
1) In the Garden – Van Morrison
2) My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams
3) Jersey Girl – Bruce Springsteen (shout out to my roots!)

Who are your favorite writers?
Cassie: JD Salinger
Kerry: Well Cassie doesn’t read much but I do!

In adult literary fiction I love: Elizabeth Strout, Donna Tartt, Jo Ann Beard, Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Jennifer Egan, Jumpha Lahiri, Dave Eggers, Pat Conroy, Nicole Krauss, Emily St John Mandel etc.

In YA I love: Jennifer Niven, David Arnold, Nicola Yoon, Charlotte Huang, Sabaa Tahir, Stacey Lee, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Kuehn, Lance Rubin, Moriah Mcstay, Laurie Halse Anderson, Marcus Zusak and Ruta Sepetys. That’s off the top of my head so I’m sure I will kick myself as soon as I hit send because I’ve forgotten ten people.

I’ve also been lucky enough to read some 2016 debuts as well that I’m so excited to talk about more during the year but for brevity’s sake I will say here that my number one new author obsession is Jeff Zentner whose The Serpent King (March 2016) is one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Cassie: to feel different inside, to feel worthy of love.
Kerry: I’m not a big fan of anxiety so I’d probably nix that tendency in myself. Or maybe impatience.

Describe your book in 6 words:
Language, loss, hopefulness, courage, complexity, friendship

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ABOUT KERRY
Kerry KletterKerry Kletter has had a lifelong passion for story. She holds a degree in literature and has an extensive background in theater, having appeared in film, television, and onstage. When not writing, Kerry can be found surfing, running, working with animals, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic. A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Kerry now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her partner, screenwriter David Zorn. The First Time She Drowned is her debut novel.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Waiting on Wednesday: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterPublisher: Philomel Books

Author: Kerry Kletter

Release date: March 15, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will for something Cassie claims she didn’t do. Now, at eighteen, Cassie enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, 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 the truth? 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.

Why I’m excited: I’ll tell you why I’m excited. I’m excited because of Jeff Zentner’s (author of The Serpent King) review of The First Time She Drowned. You can read the whole review on Goodreads, but let me give you a snippet: “This is a gorgeous, sumptuously lyrical, luminous book. I read it like it was a fire and I’d just been pulled from a frozen lake. It’s a feast for lovers of language. The descriptions in it made me feel like I was experiencing the world for the first time.” He also says you have never read a YA book like this one. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. NEEEEEED. Plus, look at that cover!!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver JeffersPublisher: Philomel Books
Author: Drew Daywalt / Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Release date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The companion to the #1 blockbuster bestseller, The Day the Crayons Quit!

I’m not sure what it is about this kid Duncan, but his crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters! Having soothed the hurt feelings of one group who threatened to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.

Why I’m excited: I LOVED THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT AND THIS IS THE SEQUEL!!  Like, how do I even put into words how much I want to read this one? More Crayons, more Jeffers’ illustrations, more CRAYONS. New colors and new letters! The Day the Crayons Quit was my favorite picture book from last year. I’m ready to read my favorite for this year.