Title: THE YEAR I ALMOST DROWNED
Author: Shannon McCrimmon
Source: ebook from author for review
In this continuation of The Summer I Learned to Dive, nineteen-year old Finley “Finn” Hemmings is living in Graceville, South Carolina with her grandparents. She's getting to know the family that she was separated from for the last sixteen years. Finn and Jesse's relationship seems to be going strong until they're forced to deal with obstacles that throw them off-track. As Finn prepares to leave for college, she has to say goodbye to the town, her friends and family, and the way of life that she has grown to love. At college, Finn tries to acclimate to a new setting, but quickly falls into an old pattern. Just as things start to become normal and Finn begins to fit in, something unexpected happens that takes her back to Graceville where she is forced to deal with one challenge after another. Her world nearly collapses, and she finds herself struggling to keep from drowning. Through it all, Finn discovers the power of love and friendship. She learns what it means to follow her heart and to stay true to what she wants, even if what she wants isn't what she originally planned.
Life is going great for Finn...she is celebrating her 19th birthday with her grandparents and dad for the first time in years, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, and loves her life in Graceville...what more could a girl want. But college is creeping up on her and she knows that with being so far away, that means even less time with Jesse. How will a relationship, separated by hundreds of miles, possibly work? And when the unthinkable happens, Finn realizes that she has to start making some important life decisions…what does she want out of life?
It didn't take me long to finish The Year I Almost Drowned; a few hours at the most. I was so taken up by the story I couldn't put it down. Well up until halfway through, when the emotions got too much for me, and I had to lay the book down for a break. My heart was breaking for the characters, especially Finn. I caught myself tearing up a few times throughout the book. Even at the end...but they were happy tears.
Finn's character is beyond great. I loved how she has developed over the course of the 2 books and grew into a wonderful young woman. She is an intelligent person, mature for her age, and loves with all her being. All of this makes her one of my most favorite female characters I have ever read about. She is absolutely human. And I think that is one of the best compliments I could give an author. McCrimmon gives us characters that are real and believable...ones you just can't help but love.
McCrimmon writes a beautiful, heart wrenching story. In fact, I loved this story more than book one, the Summer I Learned to Dive. I think there was more feeling, more emotion in this one. The book touches on what it is like to experience that first love, losing love, finding out who you are and what you want, and love finding its way back together again. It was the perfect read and I will recommend this to anyone...young or old. It is a definite must read and I think anyone who gives it a chance will fall hard for it as I have.