"You're back!" - Dean
There are some things you just can't walk away from.Where to buy: Sink or Swim by Jamie Canosa
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?
I did not expect another story after Fight or Flight. Allie was an important character in that one, but we only got to see a glimpse of who she was: strong, independent and halfway through a bad-ass girl.
Sink or Swim tells the story of Allie after she returns the place she struggled to escape from for six months: her home. She wouldn’t have returned if her mother was not sick and in need of her. But the moment she is forced to face her living nightmare: her abusive father, she simply regresses. Six months of survival in the cruelest conditions, running from the most dangerous people simply vanish. This was even sadder that Fight or Flight because we are forced to see Allie struggle. She tries to take care of her dying mother, she tries to keep away the boy she loves and acts like an occasional punching bag for her father.
It was hard to see how she become more and more submissive, slowly being transformed into a slave, her father controlling every part of her life, threatening at every step. But even though she was damaged and afraid I considered her strong. She did everything in her power to protect Dean, her boyfriend and his family and she returned for her mother even though she never protected her from the wrath of her father.
"How awful it must have been. No escape. No hope. She was imprisoned by the dragon and no prince ever came to her rescue. It was a goddamned tragedy. One Allie was doomed to repeat."
You know how you read a book and sometimes you don’t understand the motivation behind the bad guy’s actions? Don’t worry, there is no visible motivation here either, but I know that those kind of people exist and that made the story sadder. And Jamie’s writing style made it more shocking. I honestly felt the need to beat the s**t out of both her mother and father. Skipping the fact that I didn’t understand why her dad needed to beat her over every small thing he thought she did wrong, no matter if he was drunk or not, I couldn’t process why her mother did nothing to protect her daughter. She was just damaged and simply gave up…
Then there is Dean, whom she loves very much, but she tries to keep away of her life in order to protect him and his family. I loved how he never really gave up on her, even if he was mad because she left for so long and how pushed him away. He loved her as much as she loved him and every time they agreed not to see each other he always came back, protecting her.
"She hadn’t run from him, pushed him away, and hidden because she didn’t care, or because she was angry, or afraid. She’d done it because she hadn’t seen any other option. And the real kicker was, neither did he."
I know I should feel awful for enjoying the ending, but I really think that her father got what he deserved and there was no other way to escape him. He knew way to well how to act innocent. Even after all those years not even the close neighbors hadn’t got a clue of what was happening behind closed doors.
Jamie Canosa’s Fight or Flight and Sink or Swim are brilliantly written books with heartbreaking stories, which are a must read.