Book Review: Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

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Book Review: Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda StanleyDrowning Is Inevitable Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 8, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 280
Format: ARC

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run. In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.
Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

(Last Updated On: November 1, 2021)
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I’ve been reading so many amazing contemporaries this year and Drowning Is Inevitable is absolutely no exception. The story follows Olivia, who’s about to turn the same age that her mother was when she committed suicide: 18. Olivia lives with her grandmother in her mom’s old room; she even wears her mom’s old clothes and listens to her mother’s old music. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that her grandmother is constantly calling her by her mother’s name: Lillian.

Olivia lives next door to one of her best friends, Jamie. He has a hard life at home, especially with his bullying father and his mother who just puts up with it even though it’s putting the family in danger. One night while Olivia is at Jamie’s house for dinner, things get out of hand with Jamie’s father, and Olivia does everything she can to help Jamie escape. She even grabs her other friends, Max and Maggie, to come along for the ride.
I’ve never really read a book that’s contemporary where characters were on the run, which is a huge part of why Drowning Is Inevitable stuck out to me as unique. The characters were on the run the entire time, and I felt so horrible for them, especially because of Jamie and his life. Even while they were all on the run, Olivia was struggling with the problem of her mother’s suicide, since her eighteenth birthday was fast approaching. She’d be older than her mother ever had been in her life, which was strange and different.
I think Jamie was definitely my favorite character. He was broken and torn and I felt horrible for him, especially because he was such a kind and sweet person. He always had the best intentions at heart, and Olivia always saw that. That’s why the two of them were best friends. Maggie was pretty spunky and awesome too-she was planning on going to Manhattan to be a fine arts major in college, so she was pretty cool. Max, on the other hand, aggravated me a little. I was so upset that Olivia and Max ever dated in the first place, but it was obvious that he loved her a lot. He just drank so much and put her in danger too many times; it was upsetting. However, I’m pretty sure that he was supposed to be.
Drowning Is Inevitable is a suspense-ridden on-the-run story filled with a great cast of characters that you won’t want to miss.

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  1. Great review! I haven't heard much about this book, but it sounds really good.
    I'm very intrigued by the fact that they are on the run for almost the whole book. It seems like a really cool and unique book, but emotional too. It seems like there's so many thing going on in this book.
    I'll have to check it out!

  2. I think, I've only read one Contemporary in which the characters were on the run (Infinity + One) but I just simply wasn't crazy about that book. However, based on your review Drowning is Inevitable sounds exactly like my kind of book. Also, that cover is absolutely gorgeous. Can't wait to get my hands on this novel.
    Lovely review. 🙂

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