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Learning Not to Drown by Anna Shinoda

Wow. This book is incredibly well written and it is undoubtedly beautiful It narrates the story of Clare, a girl who is hunted by the skeletons in her family. Clare's brother Luke is in prison and all her life was based on giving him second chances and being humiliated by his position. Nevertheless, she loves her brother. When Luke goes out of prison for the 3rd time, Clara starts noticing him for who he truly is.

"Broken glass, broken bones, broken trust, broken home, broken family, broken heart, broken, broken, broken."

The Skeleton: I loved him. I loved what he symbolized and how the author made me imagine him so clearly. The author illustrates Clare's skeleton (the family's secret) into being an actual skeleton that follows her around mute. It allows the story to evolve in a very beautiful way.

Ryan: There is a little bit of romance in the story, but there is no kissing or sex or anything like that. Ryan has a girlfriend called Mandy and Clare really likes Ryan. At the end, its obvious they get together but in the whole story their relationship does not escalate. I am a romantic person and yet this is the first time I can say I preferred that the story didn't have such a strong emphasis on the love portion. The story was beautiful on its own and adding a romance would have just damaged the whole point of the book.

The Mother: In books usually there is a character whom you really like to meet and then kill them in cold blood. The Mother was that character for me. She was evil and she almost made me cry with anger hundreds of time. She was always on Luke's side even when he was being charged with sexual assault. Clare never stood up for herself until the very end, and meanwhile I was imagining all the way I could rip her mother's head. When she steals Clare's money to get Luke out for bail that did it for me and I wanted to lounge at her.

Luke: I kind of liked him at the beginning I mean, he is portrayed as a really sweet guy that obviously had problems including violence and drugs. He was always violent to his brother Peter and nice to Clare. I think I started opening my eyes to him just when Clare opened her eyes too. I guess I wanted him to stop lying and get his act going, unfortunately that didn't happen.

Clare: I loved the main character. She was a bit weak at times, but I thought that was realistic. Sometimes authors try to put a main character so strong I feel they become emotionless. Clara wasn't like that because she was filled with confused emotions and I loved it. Her voice and thoughts are strong and her transition were really hard so I understand her weaker moments.

The author also does a beautiful thing of narrating the past and the present juxtaposed with one another. Adding depth to the story and allowing the reader to understand both Clare's past and her present.

--4.5 stars-- BEAUTIFUL!