#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review of “Lost on the Water” by D.G. Driver

Posted Monday, 27 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

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Acquired Book By: Earlier this Spring, I participated in an event uniting book bloggers and Indie Authors called #ReviewPit. One of the authors I discovered during this event was D.G. Driver – her s/o about the novel on Twitter was most enticing (see also tweet) but it was the premise which captured me the most – the fact this was a haunted ghost story and was within the realm of a #YAFantasy arc was something I wanted to read the most!

I was seeking stories during #ReviewPit which caught my eye for their uniqueness but also what was quite lovely is how most of the stories which intrigued me to read were actually within the realms of Fantasy! I found this wicked interesting and it is why I was thankful during #WyrdAndWonder Year 2 I could continue to celebrate my love of Indie Authors & Indie Publishers and Press!

I received a complimentary copy of “Lost on the Water” direct from the author D.G. Driver in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Finding an entry of #YAFantasy during #ReviewPit:

When I first learnt of the #bookishTwitter event #ReviewPit, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect – I keep a watchful eye on twitterverse events where writers are seeking betareaders or where authors are seeking publication (ie. #PitchWars, etc) as I generally find #newtomeauthors this way and I do like to champion the writers who are on their path towards becoming published as this is something I can personally relate to as I’m a writer whose currently moonlighting as a book blogger and joyful tweeter! It is lovely to reach out into the Indie community on Twitter and continue to seek out the stories I desire to be reading. Ever since I first started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story, I’ve had an eye out for Indie Press, Publishers and the writers who are seeking alternative publication – either through the Indie side of publishing directly through established publishers and press; or through Small Trade publishers or taking the full-Indie route into Self-Publishing or Hybrid publishing options.

This is what made #ReviewPit such a keen event for me – I decided to just jump into it and see what I would find. It is run similar to other events where you get a pitch about a story and you are given a clue of a nod towards its genre of interest. I quite literally had such a wicked joy just scrolling through all the lovelies being offered, I wasn’t entirely sure how many would be available to receive as print editions for review but I decided to give myself the chance to just seek out the authors first and request which ones were available lateron.

Lost on the Water appealled to me on different levels of interest as I felt this could become a beautiful coming-of age story-line with a backdrop which involved a speculative tale of involving either a singular ghost or different kinds of ghosts therein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review of “Lost on the Water” by D.G. DriverLost on the Water
Subtitle: A Ghost Story
by D.G. Driver
Source: #ReviewPit Author, Direct from Author

One girl's daring adventure turns into a long frightful night lost on the water.

Forced to leave the California beach behind to spend the summer with her grandma in rural Tennessee, Dannie is certain this will be the most boring summer of her life. Things start looking up when a group of local kids, mistaking her short hair and boyish figure, invite her on their 'no girls allowed' overnight kayaking trip. Obviously, her grandma refuses to let her go. But Dannie suspects the real reason is that the woman is afraid of the lake, only she won't tell Dannie why.

Longing for freedom and adventure, Dannie finds an old rowboat hidden behind the shed and sneaks off on her own to catch up to her new friends. It seems like a simple solution ... until everything goes wrong.

Dannie soon discovers this lake is more than just vast. It's full of danger, family secrets, and ghosts.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, LGBTQIA Fiction, Paranormal Suspense, Thriller, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1680466553

Published by Fire & Ice Young Adult Books

on 21st June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 208

Published by: Fire and Ice YA Books (@FireIceYABooks)
an imprint of Melange Books LLC

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #LostOnTheWater + #DGDriver as well as #YAFantasy #GhostStory and #YALit
alternatives #iReadYA, #ParanormalFantasy or #Paranormal #Fantasy

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Promo banner for "Lost on the Water" provided by the author D.G. Driver and is used with permission.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

About D.G. Driver

Donna Driver

D. G. Driver is an optimist at heart, and that's why she likes to write about young people making an impact on the world. You'll find among her books a teen environmental activist, a young girl teaching people about autism acceptance and to stop bullying people with special needs, a princess who wants to be more than a prize for a prince, a boy who wins a girl's heart by being genuine and chivalrous, and a girl who bravely searches for a friend lost along the shore of a dark lake.

She is a multi-award winning author of books for teens and tweens, but you'll find some romance and horror stories in some anthologies, too.

Like Dannie from Lost on the Water, Driver grew up in Southern California, but now she is landlocked near Nashville, TN. When Driver isn't writing, she's a teacher at an inclusive early childhood development program. She might also take a break from writing once in a while to strut the stage in a local theater production. You're guaranteed to find her belting out Broadway show tunes anytime she's driving.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

ahead of accepting my #reviewpit selections I enquired about the stories:

Whenever I am about to read a #newtomeauthor, I like to get a feel for their writing style and how they are approaching their genre of interest. It is part of my due diligence as a reader and as a book blogger – however, I do not always have the pleasure nor luxury of interacting with an author directly ahead of accepting a novel for review consideration. This is why the event #ReviewPit is such a wicked lovely idea – as it encourages direct communication between the novelist and the book blogger and/or reviewer.

The only difference in my acceptance of receiving “Lost on the Water” is that I didn’t have any pre-reading questions as I found out quite a heap about it online as you will soon see:

I’ve been researching your story “Lost on the Water” – I am most impressed! :) I love gender nonconforming girls – mostly because I’m one myself!! I also like that it appears on the surface you’ve written this in a traditional YA format where it is about her coming-of age story and isn’t laced with explicit violence, overt vulgarity or anything over the top in sensuality. Those are my three bookish turn-offs to be honest and I sometimes get upset when YA pushes itself too hard into the Adult market without realising that YA needs to be YA. A few times I’ve enjoyed some Upper YA stories but overall, I love to seek out the traditional YA stories as those are my favourites.

I also love ghost stories, the paranormal and mystical backgrounds in stories – which is why I love certain authors who write Urban Fantasy and Magical Realism as well.

I wanted to share with you my dear heart readers the information I was given per book during my #ReviewPit queries in case one of the lovelies I’ve been reading this #WyrdAndWonder is catching your own eye of curiosity! This way, you’ll see the process I went through to accept the stories and what I was most concerned about prior to reading them.

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my review of lost on the water:

Dannie is your typical teenage girl whose feeling the angst of being left behind from her parents trip to Paris – you can feel her anger at being placed with her grandmother. It would be a hard situation to accept, as why couldn’t she tag along even if the reasons her mother outlined might not sound ideal to her – everyone has their own interests in life and if Dannie wanted to present herself differently than other girls’ it seemed like hardly the right reason to use when explaining why she couldn’t go with her parents. It felt like something else was holding her parents back from saying “yes” to Paris – almost as if this was something Dannie needed to do right now. Spending time with her grandmother and in a towne that was surprising Dannie as being one her mother knew so little about as compared to the details shared about the place alluding to a more familiar acquaintance.

She’s on the fringes of independence, too. Where she doesn’t want everyone to do everything for her but rather give her the space to figure things out on her own. This includes of course carrying her luggage and making her own mind up about bathroom breaks on their mini-road trip which in retrospect of course is playing your freedoms on the wrong footing. Sometimes the better thing to do is to take the advice you don’t think you need but also fight for the independence you want to have in a more productive way than just sounding like an angered teen without a clue as to how to use your voice for the good.

Her relationship with her parents is slightly strained but its her inability to be open to new experiences which sets the tone early-on in the story. Dannie likes her conveniences in life and by having to spend any amount of time in the lake country with her grandmother in a towne she’s never heard of in Tennessee seemed to affect her more than anything else. You can sympathise with her father – how the open country, the cleaner air and the feeling of not being crammed into a city all the time would appeal to anyone seeking a healthy diversion from their regular life; yet, for Dannie all she saw was the negative. She viewed the towne as a disappointment and the open space – wells, honestly what should have been viewed as a luxury most people never have she found a way to feel disparaged by it all.

As Dannie was getting settled into her room, she noticed something in the window – a particular something which shouldn’t have been seen – this was the moment where I felt Driver was about to take us through her portal of the paranormal, of how easily it would be to slip through the contemporary world as we perceived it and understood it – exchanging it momentarily for this otherworld which was just outside our grasp. It was only a slight of hand moment – where if you blinked, the moment would dissipate and you’d lose it completely. Yet. It was there almost as if a cloying of foreshadowing to lure you forward and to see what Driver was about to reveal when her ghosts came full circle into the foreground.

Dannie and her grandmother haven’t synced in regards to how they interact with each other – there has been a disconnect in their family which has spilt into their relationship as Dannie doesn’t have the kind of trust most granddaughters have with their grandmothers. She doesn’t believe her grandmother understands her interests or even knows what she might enjoy – either by the food she might offer her or the activities she might suggest. Dannie judges people first – even within her own family before she allows them to win her over by something they do to be kind. You can see this during her first night at the house – she devours more random television than you might believe possible and she’s overly critical of what breakfast will involve by the time her grandmother offers her food in the morning. Rather than finding her hopes for a boring trip to a fast food iconic breakfast stop (ie. Waffle House) she’s greeted with a homemade spread of baked and cooked delights; a breakfast I might add anyone would feel loved and blessed to have to kick-off their first morning with their grandmother! My personal favourite was the homemade biscuits with homemade blueberry jam to accompany them; can we just say #beyondYUM!

With the encouragement of her grandmother, Dannie braces herself for riding a bike into towne, where she wasn’t expecting to find the local boys at the pizzeria. She was more interested in the small arcade set-up in the place than what the locals were going to do with their weekend – until of course, their conversation intrigued her enough to eavesdrop. I had to smirk and laugh a few times whilst observing Dannie feeling a bit less confident in her choices of dress and how she was presenting herself to others – this was the first moment where we saw her raw vulnerability about being a non-traditional girl and how how she was perceived by her peers was affecting her confidence. It also was a moment where she was experiencing a change in perception about how she interacted with boys – how one of them in particular was getting her attention more than the others. It was one of those marked moments in a young girl’s life where she starts to contemplate things she hadn’t previously and she had to settle her thoughts about the changing emotions she was experiencing.

At the same time, these boys weren’t into girls – at least not for their plans to spend time on a local island overnight and to take part in a rite of passage this small towne has been enjoying for most of the generations who have lived there. Dannie recognises that her misconceptions about the South were a bit outdated but also, how sometimes what you think you understand about an area can sometimes be right as well. The boys were accepting of her on one level except for the one boy (Chris) who felt it was his right to out her for being a non-local (something I was expecting to happen) whilst the others took it as a given she would be accepted (in their minds as a visiting boy) due to how her grandfather had left such a strong impression behind on the townespeople before he had passed. This also struck a chord in how Dannie perceived herself with her friends and how her actions back home were a stark difference in how these local boys behaved themselves in this towne. It was an interesting moment of teenage enlightenment and how by visiting new places and interacting with kids outside your regular sphere of engagement, you start to have periods of growth if your open to change and the growth that comes with maturity.

Driver explored what it would be like for Dannie to hide her gender from the boys but also how by hiding her true identity she had an anonymous experience of being a different person than she is regularly known as being as well. She could peer into this tight-knit group of friends and be amongst them long enough to draw empathy for their friendships and to see how she might pass as a boy whilst trying to balance the difficulties doing that would involve for a girl who never wanted to ‘pass as a boy’ to begin with as she simply wanted to be herself but without the confines of traditional feminism. I picked up on how Driver also re-directed the reader to connect how a memory with her mother about a dress also had newer meaning in this scene as the dress was Dannie’s symbolism for outwardly projecting a feminine gender marker whilst owning to the feelings she was feeling as being more traditionally acceptable than for having those feelings dressed as she was where everyone mistook her for being a boy. In other words, Driver was letting both Dannie and the reader decide for themselves how to handle gender misidentification and when is the right time to be truthful about your own identity when your still sorting yourself out.

Whilst on the water, Dannie starts to view the towne and her family through a different lens entirely especially when she finally meets up with the boys who share hidden family history which would have benefited her more if her parents or grandmother had been more forthcoming with her sooner. Most of the time she’s on the water she’s either by herself or she is with one of the boys – being that her boat is more burdensome to navigate as a single rower than a kayak, you quickly notice her disadvantage. There is a point where her and the other boy in the kayak separate and she meets back up with the group itself on the island.

It is there where things get a bit more interesting – I kept waiting for the parapsychological aspects of this story to enter into the story-line but each time I felt I was nearing their inclusion I felt they were further off in the distance. In some ways that was a disappointment because your quite literally bobbing round a lake with Dannie and trying to sort out why you bothered attempting something so dearly foolish whilst wrestling with your conscience as the hours move day to night.

And, yet, if you put the thoughts of the paranormal aside what you have instead is a lovely story that involves a family with secrets, a towne with a keen sense of honour and respect for a lost boy and a girl whose coming into her own skin in a towne she never knew anything about until her fourteenth summer! From that point of view, it is a beautiful story but its not your traditional ghost story by what you might consider a standard of the genre. It is more a story about a ghost and about a family who has ghosts in their past and how time can heal all wounds. That is the key takeaway truly – how in order to heal you have to give yourself time. The other half of the message is being open to adventure, to gaining new experiences and of being true to yourself at all costs.

By the time I reached the last chapter, my heart felt warm and my joy was eclipsed because at the end I wanted the kind of heartwarming ending I was hoping I’d find. Gone were the expectations of this turning paranormally suspenseful as it wasn’t that kind of story to be read. In place of that was a happiness for finding a coming-of age story about a girl named Dannie who had a lot of growing to do whilst she navigated a lake and a new batch of friends whilst bonding with her grandmother. Overall the time you spend in this novel is well spent because you get caught up in her life and it is nice seeing a girl grow in her self-confidence and becoming the person she was always meant to be even if that was non-conventional in the eyes of others.

Equality in Lit: Non-Binary and Gender Expression:

One thing that sets Dannie apart is how she cuts her hair and how she is more non-binary than she is traditional girl (by the sense of what people would generally perceive) as this novel explores her gender expression. In many regards, I felt Driver was creating a character who was owning her own sense of self rather than putting any kind of labels on her – the beauty of which, you see Dannie as Dannie sees herself without the conceptions of society to say what is right, wrong or in the middle of where today’s tolerated acceptance lies. It was a bit of freedom too because instead of having a teenager being threaded through stereotypes and/or commonalities of other teenage stories you just perceive Dannie as she wants to be seen rather than placing your own concepts of whom she ought to be on her person.

At the moment, I can’t recall if I’ve read about other non-binary girls in fiction – whether I was reading an adult release or a YA – as I am thinking Dannie might be the first character I’ve come across who felt organically herself. Meaning – this wasn’t being marketed as the kind of book where you would meet a girl whose non-binary and yet, she is definitely uniquely drawn to highlight the fact there are a lot of girls out there who are their own personable definition of being ‘girl’. I could definitely relate to how she’s more athletic than not and how she likes to be involved in sports which generally are sidelined strictly for boys. In that vein, I felt it was a fitting novel because it proves that despite the majority perception, there are girls’ out there who are writing their own story for how they want to embrace their gender identity but also what fuells their interests in life even if it is not a traditional outlet some might perceive as being against their gender.

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on the speculative musings d.g. driver:

Subtle is a good word for how Driver starts to envelope us in her vision for this story’s arc where it goes into the realms of the paranormal whilst a rather ordinary teen is our fusion into that otherworld. You are full of expectations for this novel – of where the paranormal elements are going to insert themselves into the timeline of the story and yet, in the end, it wasn’t that kind of story as Driver had other visions for it. You have to see this story first as a coming-of age tale with a family whose shrouded in secrets and of whom has never addressed half of their own living history with each other. If you understand that much of the plot, you’ll soak into the background of the tale with a joyful heart because its Dannie who brings everything out of the shadows and back into the Light.

Driver has written a compelling adventure where the teens have a hearty amount of independence and a knack for self-sufficiency which is not entirely commonplace today but isn’t completely obsolete either. In fact, I would suspect this story would inspire a lot of teens to realise that they can achieve far more than they expect out of themselves whilst those who find making friends harder once high school begins – this story gives them an anchour of hope about how sometimes its not the friend circle that needs fixing but rather sometimes where your living can dictate the circle of friends your able to have in your life. As with Dannie – Driver does a beautiful cross-representation of the life Dannie has in California against the kind of life she curates in Tennessee. There is a difference in attitudes but also in approaches to how best to live life and how to interact with people – a strong lesson for a country right now which finds itself divided on larger topics than just how to be kind to strangers and community members.

I enjoyed her approach to crafting the story even though in the last quarter of the novel I had to shift my expectations for it as I kept holding a candle out for this to become spooky or to have a similar ending to The Sixth Sense where everything you felt was normal was actually completely outside of the boundaries of normal as there ever could be. Again, its not that kind of ghost story. Instead you find a gentleness to this novel – the kind of ghost that could literally sneak up on you because of the gentleness of its footprints in the story. And, I believe there should be more stories like that to where its not always alarmingly shocking or where their presence isn’t always seen but perhaps felt and how its felt means the most in the end.

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Fantastical Elements:

→ Ghosts (and the elements of how they interact with us)

→ Unexplained events (ie. objects moving without cause)

→ Urban Myths and/or Local Lore

This isn’t a traditional ghost story but it does have elements of ghostly behaviour as well as a few unexplainable events throughout the story which give you that chill factor but of a different kind than the one you might expect to find. I marked this for ‘urban myths’ because there is a culture of myth in this towne – the boys Dannie befriends have grown up in that culture and as Dannie spends more time with them, she learns the particulars of what that culture involves. I don’t want to say more about it as it becomes quite obvious what I’m referring to as you read the story itself but just to say, it is the kind of culture that lingers in the background and gives further depth to the story Driver was compelling you to read.

All ghost stories have unexplained events happening within them and this one definitely has a few uniquely quirky happenings! I liked how Driver shaped those moments into the story but also how those were the moments that staid with you the most because of what they referenced and what they meant to Dannie.

I also loved the ghost in the story and that is all I can say as there isn’t enough to quirkily talk about it without delving too close to the truth of the ghost.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This book review is courtesy of: D.G. Driver

Promo banner for "Lost on the Water" provided by the author D.G. Driver and is used with permission.

Read what my fellow book bloggers felt about the story:

Review of “Lost on the Water” | Books and Such

Review of “Lost on the Water” | Between the Lines

“Review of “Lost on the Water” | Sci Fi and Scary

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reading this novel counted towards

my 2019 reading challenges:

Beat the Backlist banner created by Austine at A Novel Knight and is used with permission.

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whilst being read during my participation of:

Wyrd And Wonder banner created by Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.
Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com.

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To continue reading my #wyrdandwonder posts:

Be sure to visit my TBR for Wyrd & Wonder as I’m updating the post frequently throughout the last week & a half of the event with new links to the posts & reviews I am sharing with everyone following my showcases!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of  “Lost on the Water” as well as the author photograph for D.G. Driver, author biography, book synopsis as well as the promo banners were all provided by the author D.G. Driver and are used with permission of the author D.G. Driver. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. 2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from 123RF.com. Beat the Backlist banner provided by Novel Knight. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 27 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Parapsychological Suspense, Supernatural Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance

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4 responses to “#EnterTheFantastic with #WyrdAndWonder as #JorieReads | Book Review of “Lost on the Water” by D.G. Driver

  1. I just found your comment on my blog in my spam – sorry I’m just getting to it. Thanks so much for mentioning my review on Books & Such. This is a fantastic review!

    • Ooh, don’t worry at all!! This sometimes happens to me as well – I have no idea why but quirky things happen with our blogs. I’m just thankful you saved my comment + knew I was trying to talk to you about this novel! Secondly, how wicked lovely you came by my review and enjoyed reading it!! I truly appreciate your feedback and hope you have a lovely bookish Sunday!

      It is a special treat getting the chance to find fellow readers who champion Indie Authors!

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