Some Ilsa J. Bick Love via Student Book Reviews

When I was going through my YA Lit students’ book reviews to form this post, I didn’t realize at first that the two I chose were both for books written by Ilsa J. Bick.  Once I realized that, I decided to stick with these two reviews since I haven’t reviewed either book on my blog and also because both books are so vastly different.

Title: Drowning Instinct

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Student Reviewer: Felicia

Summary (From Goodreads): There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain… magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.

Student Review:

Drowning Instinct is definitely a great book; I could never put it down and wanted to read it anytime I could. This book is good because everything seems so real and you see a teacher student relationship at a different level. This book explains how people can fall in love no matter what age and Mr. Anderson never took Jenna for granted and never tried to hurt her. I liked this book because it’s not the typical “creepy” old guy trying date a younger girl. Mr. Anderson liked Jenna for who she was and not her age. He made sure he was careful and made sure they didn’t get caught or get in trouble. This book was also different in a good way because in the beginning of the book it starts off with a good beginning and explains why she is using a tape recorder to tell her story. I personally loved Jenna as a character because I understood her and could relate to her. I also loved this book because I got so connected with their relationship they had, and the way Ilsa J. Bick wrote it made it seem so realistic. Drowning Instinct has a very well matched cover to the book and I really like when the covers of books go along with the story.

There weren’t very many negative things in this book besides how serious Jenna’s life was.  It seemed like five different YA novels put into one book. Another main thing I didn’t like was that this book almost made it seem alright for Jenna and Mr. Anderson to have such a serious relationship. I don’t think its anywhere near right for people to have relationships like that and this book kind of made me change my mind about that and I don’t really like that because it’s illegal.

Drowning Instinct is very far from being even close to bad. Ilsa J. Bick gets you so connected with the characters and you don’t want to put it down. This book teaches you a very good lesson about love and trust. I suggest everyone read it if you haven’t!

Title: Ashes

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Student Reviewer: Noah

Summary (From Goodreads):

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

Student Review:

At first I was rather reluctant to read this book. At the time I had a lot of school work and didn’t have time to read. Truth be told,I was just being lazy. I read the first chapter and set the book down. Though I believe it was Epictetus that once said, “No great thing is created suddenly.” This quote rings very true with Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

Though I wasn’t gripped at the beginning of the novel I quickly became absorbed in the story of Alex, a teenage girl with a brain tumor and the camping skills to keep her alive. The book quickly changed from being a “What’s going to happen next?” book to a “What’s going to happen next?!?!” and after that I was hooked like an addict.

With it being a survive the zombies (Changed) and survive the wild book (And I do love these types of novels) I was exultant to find out that it wasn’t the whole premise of the novel. There was an element of romance which was quite refreshing in this story.

I warn the people like me, with very vivid and active imaginations, that this book is very horrid at points and can be rather disturbing due to amazing description. However, I still request that you read this book because it is brilliantly written and planned, and I do believe you would enjoy this novel.

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