Book Review: The Drowning (Rachel Ward)


Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 274
Release Date: April 29th 2014
Summary (From Goodreads):

What happens if you’ve done something terrible? But you can’t remember what. And you don’t know how to put it right …When Carl opens his eyes on the banks of a lake, his brother is being zipped into a body bag. What happened in the water? He can’t remember And when he glimpses a beautiful girl he thinks he recognizes, she runs away. Suddenly he knows he must find her – because together they must face the truth before it drowns them.


I was intrigued by this book as soon as I read the prologue. It was only a couple of pages but it draws you into the story so well you can’t help but be hooked.

The protagonist, Carl is left with amnesia after an accident that’s left his brother dead. His confused state is just another thing that pulls you into the story: information is leaked in dribs and drabs as it comes back to him. Small things like where he lives and who his neighbours are, and then much bigger things, like his relationship with his mother and, of course, the events that led to his brother drowning.

The book reminded me of a Kevin Brooks novel in the way that Ward handles the mystery so skilfully. Each time I though I’d figured out what had happened she’d let slip a little more information that would throw my theory overboard.

The characters were well developed and you get a great picture of them from just a few snapshots of information. And everything is just so vivid. The description of Carl’s house and his mother gave me such an image of the kind of poverty they lived in and the relationship they had and I empathised with him immediately.

I loved the relationship between Carl’s dead brother and water and thought it such a creepy concept. Imagine fearing water and having to avoid it, especially when living in rainy ol’ England. It’s so depressingly, terrifyingly impossible, and the inevitability of his encounters made it even scarier. I was also impressed at how individual each encounter was: it’s a real tribute to an author’s talent when they can write about the same basic thing (water in this case) over and over again and still make it fresh and interesting. It never felt like I’d already read about this: each time was new and beautifully described.

Overall, a really great read for any lover of YA – and I say that as I normally go for much more fantasy based books. But not one that I’d read in the bath…

I will be interviewing Rachel Ward as part of the UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour so if you have any questions you’d like to ask, leave a comment or drop me a message!

My Verdict:


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