There are some things you just can't walk away from.
When sleeping in vacant warehouses and dark alleys becomes preferable to living at home, something is seriously wrong. But when word reaches Allie that her mother is facing a life threatening illness, she has no choice but to return to the place of nightmares. Leaving wasn't a choice, it was a necessity, and if returning hadn't been equally necessary, Allie never would have set foot back inside that hell-hole.
Dean is no stranger to hardship, but the day Allie walked out of his life, taking his heart right along with her, was hands-down the most frustrating. Six months later, she's back and Dean refuses to rest until he figures out exactly what the hell happened.
Now, Allie's drowning. Drowning in lies. Drowning in the truth. Drowning in pain, and anger, and fear. But there comes a time when every drowning person must decide whether they will . . . Sink or Swim?
If you've been a reader of my blog or reviews for any length of time, you'll probably know that I'm a huge fan of the contemporary books. Doesn't matter if it falls within YA, NA, or Adult, if it's contemporary, I probably want to read it, especially if it contains a little romance. Therefore, when Sink or Swim landed on my radar a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to read it, and thankfully, it turned out to be everything I hoped it would.
Sink or Swim begins the story of Allie, a girl who's been running from her past for the past six months. However, everything changes for her when she learns her mother is ill and near death. Given no option but to return to the place she used to call home, Allie arrives back in the small town she left behind, hoping to slip in without causing a ruckus. That's not what happens, though. Suddenly, Dean, the amazing, sweet boy she left behind, is knocking on her door, wanting to know why she left, wanting a way back into her life. Then there's her horrible dad who plans to make her pay for leaving, and her mom who Allie doesn't know whether to love or hate. Everything that she thought she had left behind is back in full swing, and she doesn't know how to deal with it, especially when everything begins to spiral into a life or death situation.
Gritty. It's probably the best word to describe Sink or Swim. This book deals with child abuse, a pretty hefty subject. However, Jamie didn't candy coat the subject, and I was and am grateful for that, even though some parts of this book were hard to stomach at times. She made the situation realistic and heartbreaking, especially within the character of Allie.
Allie was someone who had seen the hard parts of life as well as the good, and she always tried her best to separate the two from each other. Allie's pain and confusion over her dad's abuse and her mother's refusal to leave jumped off the page and came to life. I felt so much for Allie and her situation. I hoped that she would be able to find a way out, and I was grateful that she had someone as tough and strong as Dean to help her out. Dean was an amazing guy, and I always loved seeing his POVs included. It was heartbreaking to see him forced to stand by while such horrible things were happening to Allie.
I won't go too much into the exact plot of this book, as I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say Jamie did a great job of making the book suspenseful. Often, I didn't know exactly how everything was going to end. Would Allie find a way out? Would she find a way to let her voice be heard? Would she ever find a way to be with Dean? I honestly couldn't tell, and that made me rush through this book in such a fast pace, because I NEEDED to know. I also enjoyed how Jamie switched between Allie and Dean's viewpoints throughout the books. It was interesting to see everything through both their eyes, and I feel that it made the emotions come pouring out even more.
Gritty and heartbreaking, Sink or Swim is a book that will have readers hooked from the first page to the last. I simply can't wait to see what Jamie has in store for us next.
Sink or Swim (Amazon, Goodreads) is now out!
Source: eBook provided by author for review
Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Ravena, NY with her wonderful husband and three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird and the rabbit.