The First Time She Drowned

The First Time She Drowned

by Kerry Kletter

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Overview

The beautiful struggle of a girl desperate for the one relationship that has caused her the most pain. In "one of the most lyrical novels I’ve ever read. Haunting and exquisite." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star

 Cassie O'Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution—dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over and reclaim her life. But 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 the truth, and whose life must she save?


TEEN VOGUE listed as "One of the best books you need to know now."
PASTE MAGAZINE lists it as "one of their most anticipated debuts of 2016" and as "one of the best books of the year so far."
ALA BOOKLIST names it to their “Top 10 First Novels for Youth” list
Included in B&N Teen Blog's Best Young Adult Books of 2016

More praise for The First Time She Drowned:
"Lyrical, emotional...resonant." —Entertainment Weekly 

"Beautiful and passionate . . . [Kletter is] a writer of great distinction and infinite promise." Pat Conroy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad

". . . An incredible read. Be warned though—you will want to read Cassie’s story, start to finish, in one sitting. And then you will want to race to put it in the hands (and hearts) of everyone you know and love." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

"The First Time She Drowned is an exquisite and masterful dive, a brave exploration into the complexities of family, and the saving grace of friendship. Kletter’s writing is hypnotic, her characters alive, her story tragic, beautiful, hopeful. Simply put, this book is stunning." —David Arnold, critically acclaimed author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite

"[A] beautiful, gut-wrenching ache of a story. If you are at all interested in books, this is required reading." —Becky Albertalli, author of the Morris Award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
 
"The best writers are able to tell the most difficult stories with the most empathy, and that’s just what Kletter does in this haunting debut about a girl lost in the depths of her family’s secrets and shame. Complex, affirming, and beautifully written." —Stephanie Kuehn, author of the Morris Award-winning Charm & Strange

"Gorgeous, sumptuously lyrical, luminous…a feast for lovers of language. The First Time She Drowned singlehandedly shatters every argument that YA books aren't fit fare for adults." —Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for The First Time She Drowned:

"Lyrical, emotional...resonant." —Entertainment Weekly, MUST LIST

"Beautiful and passionate . . . [Kletter is] a writer of great distinction and infinite promise." —Pat Conroy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad

"Kerry Kletter’s The First Time She Drowned is the kind of book I love best—a lovely and haunting keep-you-up-all-night heart-wrencher that is both beautiful and raw, painful and uplifting. It’s utterly amazing. An incredible read. Be warned though—you will want to read Cassie’s story, start to finish, in one sitting. And then you will want to race to put it in the hands (and hearts) of everyone you know and love." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

"Sentence by sentence . . . one of the most lyrical novels I’ve ever read. Haunting and exquisite." —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

"The First Time She Drowned is an exquisite and masterful dive, a brave exploration into the complexities of family, and the saving grace of friendship. Kletter’s writing is hypnotic, her characters alive, her story tragic, beautiful, hopeful. Simply put, this book is stunning." —David Arnold, critically acclaimed author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite 

"[A] beautiful, gut-wrenching ache of a story. If you are at all interested in books, this is required reading." —Becky Albertalli, author of the Morris Award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

"The best writers are able to tell the most difficult stories with the most empathy, and that’s just what Kletter does in this haunting debut about a girl lost in the depths of her family’s secrets and shame. Complex, affirming, and beautifully written." —Stephanie Kuehn, author of the Morris Award-winning Charm & Strange

"Gorgeous, sumptuously lyrical, luminous…a feast for lovers of language. The First Time She Drowned singlehandedly shatters every argument that YA books aren't fit fare for adults." —Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King
 
* "[An] excellent debut novel....heart-wrenching....Readers who enjoy the suspense of unreliable narrators, as in Adele Griffin’s Loud Awake and Lost or Stephanie Kuehn’s Complicit, will appreciate this one." —Booklist, starred review

"This heartfelt, lyrical debut will strike a chord with older teens who appreciate contemporary fiction." —Kirkus Reviews

"An absorbing read...fans of realistic fiction will be drawn to this book." —VOYA

"Kletter’s exploration of a dysfunctional family through the eyes of a daughter is raw with emotion…a sophisticated read…lyrical.” —School Library Journa

"A complex novel that ultimately uplifts." —Publishers Weekly 

“A stunning story of family and friendship" —BookRiot

"Raw and evocative" —Buzzfeed

Best of Lists
TEEN VOGUE listed as "One of the best books you need to know now."
BARNES & NOBLE Teen Blog lists it as "one of their most anticipated debuts of 2016" and as "one of the best books of the year so far."
PASTE MAGAZINE lists it as "one of their most anticipated debuts of 2016" and as "one of the best books of the year so far."
ALA BOOKLIST names it to their “Top 10 First Novels for Youth” list

Publishers Weekly

12/21/2015
Kletter’s emotionally devastating first novel portrays life under a domineering and narcissistic mother. Placed in a psychiatric hospital at age 15 by her family, Cassie O’Malley is terrified to leave her comfortable routine and friends when she signs herself out at 18 to begin college. Unable to cope with the expectations of college life, Cassie retreats further into herself, risking her chance for a fresh start until new friend Zoey and love interest Chris encourage her to socialize. When she begins seeing Liz, the school counselor, Cassie’s flashbacks point to a manipulative mother, absent father, and siblings caught in the middle of their mother’s battles for affection and control. Kletter frames wrenching moments between mother and daughter and troubling references to suicide with the murky outlines of Cassie’s childhood memories, suggesting how easily one’s life can spiral out of control when abuse is involved. When more disturbing memories surface, Cassie must decide whether to retreat into her mother’s destructive realm or embrace her friends and trust that she is lovable. A complex novel that ultimately uplifts. Ages 14–up. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)

School Library Journal

01/01/2016
Gr 9 Up—Cassie O'Malley is 18 and can finally (against medical advice) check herself out of the mental institution she was committed to by her parents. Having been admitted into her mother's alma mater, an anxious yet hopeful Cassie attends college. While there, she finds it difficult to make friends and go to class, because she lacks coping and social skills. As childhood memories bubble to the surface, Cassie begins to question her upbringing. Kletter's exploration of a dysfunctional family through the eyes of a daughter is raw with emotion. The storytelling moves forward in time with flashback scenes to fill in the character's backstory. The author expertly establishes the familial connections, but the development of new bonds in college moves jarringly fast, especially given the complexities of and attention paid to Cassie's relationships with her mother, brother, father, and other extended family members. This book could contain triggers for students who have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a relative. It is a sophisticated read that—given more pages to develop in the collegiate setting—could easily be placed on new adult shelves. Great for fans of Stephanie Kuehn's Charm & Strange (St. Martin's, 2013). VERDICT Sophisticated readers who enjoy dark realistic fiction will be satisfied by this lyrical novel.—Stephanie DeVincentis, Downers Grove North High School, IL

Kirkus Reviews

2015-11-25
A teen who was wrongly confined to a psychiatric hospital for over two years struggles after she leaves and goes to college. Cassie's histrionic, image-conscious, abusive mother is the center of her daughter's universe in this poignant novel. As a young child growing up in a white family that "lived on the poor side of a wealthy town in Pennsylvania," Cassie does all she can to be seen in the same prized light as her older brother, but after a damaging experience with her mother's class-conscious aunt takes place, she eventually rebels, enraging her mother. The story opens as Cassie leaves the facility to which her mother connived to have her committed. At school she finds a true friend in her likable, goofy roommate, Zoey, but still returns repeatedly to the abrasive coping mechanisms that have allowed her to survive. Eventually, an unexpectedly helpful therapist is able to build a rapport with Cassie, and she remembers suppressed memories from her childhood. While there are realistic catalysts preceding this therapeutic revelation, including an intense make-out session with a boy she likes that ends in disaster, it seems to arrive a bit too conveniently, but the story's dramatic tension will keep readers engaged regardless. This heartfelt, lyrical debut will strike a chord with older teens who appreciate contemporary fiction. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780147513274
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 200,487
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The First Time She Drowned"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Kerry Kletter.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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