Author: Leesa Freeman
Publication: March 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I received a free ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Luke used to have a future. He was going to swim in the Olympics and graduate college along with his twin sister Bethany.
Adriana used to have dreams. She was going to marry Rob, Luke's best friend, and build a life with him.
But life had other plans for this pair. After surviving an accident that took the lives of both Bethany and Rob, Luke and Adriana are barely surviving. Now Luke is confined to a wheelchair and Adriana is afraid to live.
After being forced into working at a summer camp for children with special needs, Luke and Adriana start to heal and open up to the possibility of a new future.
"I knew without a shadow of a doubt that all it would take to fall was a whisper, a featherlight touch, a breath, and I'd shatter in her hands."
This novel is full of emotional highs and lows, love, heartache, the deep chasms created by profound loss. It has all of this and more. The novel is told in first person from Luke's perspective, picking up months after the accident that put him in a wheelchair. We get to see him struggle with himself, trying to embrace the life that he can't change.
I have always had an extreme fear of breaking my back, or having some other form of spinal injury, so reading about Luke's injury was intense for me. Maybe if I didn't have that fear I wouldn't have appreciated this portion so much, but when he talked about his injury I felt his pain. I felt like I was there, feeling what he felt. It would definitely be a challenge to have to face all of the tasks you once did with ease, now knowing if you would ever be able to do them again.
Luke was a great main character. His struggles were so true to life and charged with intense emotion. Freeman did a wonderful job showing his pain over the loss of his sister and best friend. His memories of Bethany were some of the most powerful things in the novel for me. I felt like she was just as much a character as any of the living characters, and I really appreciated that. Sometimes I feel like these characters are glossed over in novels, and we don't really get to see how they shaped the other characters, but here it was great to see just how important Bethany had been in Luke's life.
The relationship between Luke and Adriana was beautiful and sad as well. Obviously there was some form of survivors guilt after the accident and again we actually get to experience some of that guilt and pain along with them. It really was beautiful.
The rest of the characters were great too. I really enjoyed Gina. She was so full of life and wanted to push everyone to be the best they could be. It was great. Uncle Wally and the rest of the people at the ranch were great during their appearances as well. And Will was a great friend to Luke and Adriana. Luke and Adriana's families were also a great addition to the story. You got to experience some of the pain of the accident from several different perspectives.
Overall it was a really nice, emotion infused novel. There is some strong language at times and a few sexual scenes, but none particularly graphic. If you enjoy contemporary novels, you are likely to enjoy this. Be prepared for an emotionally charged read infused with life lessons about learning to face your fears and continuing to live even through heartbreak.
You can order the book on Amazon(US link) here: Into the Deep End