cover love: drowning instinct

There are times when I’ve been to a gallery or art museum and I’ll stare at a piece of artwork that clears my head of all assumption. I’m just standing there, slack-jawed, leaning ever-so-slightly in to the point where I stumble just a little. I’m not just looking. I’m gawking.

Whether it’s an overwhelming feeling of sadness, joy, or anxiety, it’s still overwhelming. It’s that feeling that hits you before you start to ask questions about meaning and motive. In the case of Ilsa J. Bick’s Drowning Instinct, I was immediately uncomfortable.

But immediate discomfort doesn’t automatically label this as a bad cover. (Cover love, remember?) Drowning Instinct’s face does come off a bit like a poster for a David Fincher thriller, but it doesn’t make it any less intriguing. When Kelly sent this cover art my way, I needed to know what Bick’s novel was about. And I wasn’t really surprised to find that the subject matter made me even more uncomfortable.

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.

Doesn’t exactly seem like a sweet and fun read, does it? A cool (as in color temperature) and limited color palette, coupled with a bold uppercase title sucks the warmth out of the room and makes you feel like you can’t breathe. And that photo choice? That’s just intense, plain and simple. I can certainly appreciate cover art when it’s being completely transparent, and in a sea (heh) of other Water Girls on YA cover art, Drowning Instinct floats effortlessly to the surface.

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15 thoughts on “cover love: drowning instinct

  1. I completely and utterly love this cover. water covers just really interest me because i always NEED to know what’s the deal with the water and why is she wet and dripping and WHAT IS HAPPENING.

  2. Probably one of the FEW water covers that stands out. And the description totally hooks me, too.

  3. Ooooh cold. Those drips look like icicles. Brrrrrrr.
    I love that the obvious cover would include any number of those submerged girls in pretty dresses (another use for SGiPD!) that we saw this past year, and instead we get this!
    In other news, I’m with you all on the description – enticing.

  4. I’m with your first commenter – I’m completely drawn to water covers. I love them and I couldn’t exactly tell you why. So it’s not supririsng that I love this cover, though it makes me feel completely uncomfortable, right down to my toes.

  5. I love this one too, particularly how the hair and the water merge together.

    Incidentally, if you turn it upside down you get the classic Ophelia pose (i.e. her expression makes it look like she has already drowned). Cool!

  6. I know you’re all about the cover. But that summary had me at hello. So intriguing!! And such a cool take on the drowning girl cover. Much better than another pretty dress…

  7. I agree with Kelly, this cover definitely stands out amongst the multitudes of water focused covers. Now the question is how long until ten more pop up looking just like this? *sigh*

    I’m far more interested in the story (though it’s a bit dark for me) than the cover I must admit.

  8. I also love the cover. It made me scroll down just to take the whole thing in. Finally, a cover with some character and emotion to it!

  9. love this cover (and i am not a fan of al the recent crop of water themed ya covers, a la mara dyer)

    i love the clarity on here, the perfectly placed water bubbles. and i love the blues and the shadows. awesome.

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