Two and a half years ago Cassie O’Malley’s mother left her locked up in a mental institution against her will and her sanity. Now 18, Cassie has made the decision to leave the institution and go to college. Once there she made friends and melded into the life that she always wanted to live. So much so that she began to wonder if she could actually rebuild the broken relationship with her mother.
Even though you don’t know whether Cassie really is a danger to herself at the beginning of the novel, you come to realize that her relationship with her mother, Bevy, has always been unhealthy and destructive. Cassie has been seriously emotionally damaged by this.
Bevy has always loved Cassie’s brother Matthew unconditionally. He can do nothing wrong in her eyes, while everything Cassie does is criticized. No matter what Cassie does, she never has her Bevy’s approval.
Even though the reason Cassie was sent to the mental institution was a sham perpetrated by her mother, she does suffer from anxiety and depression. Who wouldn’t with the life she has led?
This is a very powerful book that sheds light on mental illness, self-worth and how our own image is formed at a very young age and how hard it is to change that image. It is also a great example of how so many YA books are great novels for adults as well.
- The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
- Hardback: 352 pages; Philomel Books (March 15, 2016)
- Paperback: 352 pages; Speak; Reprint edition (March 14, 2017)
- Kindle: 1158 KB; 343 pages; Philomel Books (March 15, 2016)
- Audiobook: 10 hours 19 minutes; Jorjeana Marie (Narrator), Listening Library (Publisher)
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