The First Time She Drowned
by Kerry Kletter
Book: Stand Alone
Pub Date: March 2016
Genre: Young Adult
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.
My Review: This book is full of emotions. I can’t even list all the emotions you’ll feel, but anger was a big one for me.
Cassie just wanted to be loved. She never really got it, no really cared, paid any mind, and then her family decided to just dump her at the nut house. Seriously, all I wanted to do was get Cassie out, tell her family off and then watch her grow into the real world and thrive.
However, things just didn’t go that way. Instead after she gets dropped off, she cries for days. Just wants to go home, when in fact she if going to learn that she has no home now. Her family visits maybe a handful of times. When the visits are described, it just made me hate them even more. Basically I hated her family through the whole book and that never changed.
As for Cassie, she is finally 18. That means she is leaving, going to college, and hoping to live a more normal life. This is where things shift. For the next few chapters, the book loses my interest. But I read on, and eventually the book grabbed me again and I went through the rest quickly. If it wasn’t for those few chapters this book would be perfect. However, the author did an amazing job with the emotions. This is not an easy topic, but the author really pulled it off and I can’t wait to read more by her.