Drowning in You by Rebecca Berto was not a book about a simple forbidden romance. It was not a light read and one that left me with a heavy heart, but put a smile on my face too. It was sad, but hopeful. I wasn’t expecting what I read in this book, but Berto managed to ensnare me. If I could describe this book in three words, it’d be heartbreaking, uplifting and very emotional.
I’m not sure if I like Charlee because she just wasn’t very likable to me, if that makes any sense at all. However, the pain and loss she felt throughout the book for her family crippled me in a good and bad way. The hurt she was feeling was radiating out of her and was definitely hitting me all over the place. I sympathized with her in denial of her father’s true and dire condition, her worrisome feelings of being a sister and acting like a mother to her younger brother, and her conflicting emotions of wanting to be with a guy who everyone thinks caused the accident that tore her family apart. I thought Charlee was strong, even at her weakest moments and I thought she was the best out of everyone because she believed that Dexter was a good person from the start.
Now with Dexter, I can say that I loved him even when he was being a complete asshole to Charlee. I felt really bad for him because of the guilt he carried even though he wasn't really to blame. It broke my heart how he thought he didn’t deserve happiness with Charlee. It was just the saddest thing ever. The fact that he hid his diabetes from other people was sad too. Here was this boy, hurting over something he wished he could change while suffering for a condition he can never really control and falling for a girl he thought he knew he didn't deserve. I thought Dexter was going to be a whole different character from what I originally thought, but instead I got someone so much better. He was a kind and thoughtful person. He was funny and sometimes charming and I loved how he helped Charlee and stayed with her even when he felt like he didn’t even deserve to be near her. I really like the way Berto wrote Charlee and Dexter’s story. These two probably surpassed the definition of complicated. The push and pull from both of them was infuriating, frustrating and had me wanting to pull my hair out, but I totally loved them together because they were kind of unusually adorable. Plus, they had some really intense moments where even I wished I was Charlee. However, I do wish I knew why they liked each other in the first place because it would have gave their feelings and relationship more depth, but I still enjoyed their romance.I also liked mystery surrounded the ski lift accident and how Charlee and Dexter were tied together, though I wished that was explored more than it was. Berto did an amazing job with the dual perspectives of Dex and Charz. Both had distinct voices I was able to distinguish despite having a heads up before each chapter. The best part of this book was all the emotions I was feeling. Death is always hard to read and it was no different for this book. Berto knew how to tug at my heartstrings and made me feel as if the grief Charlee was experiencing was my own. She had me invested and caring for these two characters and wishing for the best for them. When an author can do that to me, I know it’s a great a book.More Reviews on my blog: Words, Pages, and Books