Review of The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Life absolutely got away from me for the past few weeks but I am back in action with another review! The Unsinkable Greta James follows the story of upcoming indie star Greta James in the wake of her mother’s sudden passing. As a result of her grief, she has a breakdown on stage prior to the release of her second album which goes viral. In an attempt to escape the aftermath, she agrees to go on an Alaskan cruise with her dad who seemingly has never been a fan of her career choices and consistently compares her to her brother Asher. This trip is full of lots of emotions and growth, as it was supposed to be an anniversary celebration for her parents.

This was a little bit of a slow burn for me. I honestly wasn’t super captivated at first and was very frustrated with how clearly unimpressed Greta’s dad was with not just her success and her in general when compared to her brother Asher who has a wife and kids and lives in the suburbs. But then something switched for me. Even if I didn’t totally love the characters, the larger themes of grief and the love interests that Greta reflects on and experiences with Ben on the cruise struck a chord with me. I think everyone has a “Luke” who is the person they thought they’d spend the rest of their life with, but the universe had other ideas and a “Ben” who is the person that shows you what love should be like, even if it’s not necessarily meant to last. Also, Smith perfectly captures the often complex web of emotions that comes along with grief in both Greta and Conrad’s actions throughout the book.

Overall, this book definitely grew on me. I think I’ve been reading a lot of Colleen Hoover lately who really dives deep into heavy emotions and expected this to do so in the same way but Smith has a very different, more subdued writing style that elicits the same heart-wrenching moments without overwhelming the reader with emotion. Even though this wasn’t my favorite book in the world, I enjoyed it enough and would definitely read another book by Smith.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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