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Learning Not to Drown

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


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.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 23, 2014 – Shinoda's auspicious debut opens with 17-year-old Clare's patchy childhood memory of finding blood in her home. The chapters alternate between Clare's present life in which she's a diligent student, lifeguard, and all-around good kid and her sometimes tender but often unsettling memories of her older brother Luke, a charming yet destructive drug addict. For years, the family has been plagued by Luke, now 29, who has repeatedly been jailed for violence and theft. Now, Luke is home again, and Clare hopes that Skeleton, a manifestation of her repressed memories, "will go away, the whispers will stop, and my favorite memories of Luke will snap together perfectly with the present." Instead, Luke's delinquency resumes and her parents once again protect him, leaving Clare to decide how to escape the shadow Luke casts over her life. With the aim of helping readers similarly burdened by the guilt of putting one's own needs first, Shinoda explores the intricate web of sibling dynamics and the devastation of addiction. Despite the painful subject matter, witnessing Clare's growing sense of self-worth is uplifting. Ages 14 up.
Learning Not to Drown
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Level: Grades 9 and Above
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Family & Relationships
  • Published: Apr 01, 2014
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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