REVIEW: Learning Not to Drown. by Anna Shinoda

Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.

There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.

To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.

Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.

Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.

Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet.


I have been waiting for this book from Mrs. Anna Shinoda since she announced 10 years ago that she was going to publish her own books.
She did not disappoint!  I loved this book!  All her hard work and dedication to releasing this book showed!
This book was well worth the wait.  Anna hit subjects in real life that a lot of us had or have dealt with one time or another whether it be in our own lives or life around us.
Even though this book is marked as a Young Adult book, this book can be read by adults.  Its story line is full of emotions that we can all relate to.

Clare is a seventeen year old who has spent her life dealing with her Brother Luke’s bad life of being in & out of jail for the wrong decisions he has made.  Clare in the beginning of the book felt whiny to me at times but once I read more into the book, I got why she was.  When dealing with all that is going around her, how could you not whine, feel taunted and so indecisive when trying to figure out what is the right or wrong thing to do with yourself.  As a young adult, it’s normal for Clare to battle with her inner self and Anna Shinoda puts us into Clare’s mind.  I love books that get us into the characters mind.  It is a great feeling to read a story and feel what the character is feeling. 
The book goes back and forth in time. The story flowed for me and had me guessing what would happen next.  Some might not like the back and forth but I felt it helped the story with understanding why things were the way they were.

Clare's mom was a tough character.  I did want to throw my kindle at the wall because at times through the book, I could not believe Clare had to deal with her.  I know we all go thru a period of time when we dislike our parent/s but OMG her mom was one hell of a woman!    I wanted to jump into the book and save her from her mom. Just totally give Clare a hug and tell her it was ok! I totally felt her Clare's pain!

Clare & Luke’s parents are in total denial of Luke’s actions and they are constantly making excuses for him.  Even though Luke can’t keep himself straight, he always manages to make his interactions with Clare memorable. 

Drug addiction, family secrets, and the finding oneself by breaking free from all the chaos of it all is what Clare learns to do...
which is "Learning Not to Drown."

Anna Shinoda you totally did it! I loved this book! You made this emotional read an outstanding one!

Everyone go read this book and spread the word about it.

I look forward to reading more of your books! 

5 Cherries Popped

Raised in a town so small it lacked a stop light, there was little for Anna Shinoda to do except climb trees, go on hikes and read books. Her voracious appetite for reading led to writing, and by the fourth grade, Anna had her first book bound through the Young Authors program. In middle school and high school, she served as editor for her high school paper. Upon graduation, she was awarded scholarships on the merit of her writing and pursued a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies at Long Beach State. Anna worked in music Public Relations for several years after college and eventually discovered a love of writing for young adults.
Soon after devoting full-time attention to writing, Anna became a member of the Society Of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her work has been nominated twice for the Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award.
She married musician Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park in 2003. She has led efforts with the band’s non-profit, Music For Relief, in the U.S. and abroad.
Anna writes to promote healing in young people, whether it is confronting the unknown or facing a difficult truth. Drawing inspiration from her experiences as an adult with her memories of her own childhood, Anna Shinoda has many stories to tell.
Learning Not To Drown is her debut novel.

Contact Anna Shinoda:

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