November 21, 2012

Latest Read: Perfect Escape

Here are the basics ...
Book: Perfect Escape
Author: Jennifer Brown
Site: http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary

Summary: Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect - until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation. Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past. (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good:  I've read books that have focused on relationships between boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, friendships, mother, father.  But none (that I can remember) that solely dealt with siblings.  An only child myself, I've only had a glimpse into what that might be like (I'm really close to my cousins).  But I think about it sometimes -- having a brother or sister.  Someone to share my parental annoyances with.  Someone to take the attention off from me when I feel smothered by it.  Someone who could potentially be one of my best friends.  Perfect Escape was this beautifully-written and very raw exploration of that relationship between Kendra and her older brother, Grayson.  The added complexity is that Grayson, with his genius IQ, has also been dealing with a severe case of OCD his entire life.  As if a "normal" sibling relationship isn't hard enough.  In light of Grayson's illness, Kendra has felt this pressing need to be as perfect as possible.  So much of her life, from her friendships to school to how she behaves, has been defined by her brother.  To be better, more normal, less worrisome. She understandably resents it but also lets it cloud her judgement of Grayson. She's forgotten who he is.  The road trip is spent remembering that and getting to know each other again.  I love a good road trip book and this was no exception.  It felt more intense.  You're in Kendra's head and you feel her frustrations as she deals with Grayson's illness head-on (while trapped in a car, no less!).  I sympathized with Kendra on so many levels.  But then the author would show us Grayson's struggles and you realize, they're both hurting and both finding their way.  It was really well-done story.

(Minor) reservations:  Kendra, naively, places all her faith in this person from hers & Grayson's past.  And I didn't really understand why.  I mean, I get the past is hard to let go of but said friend came across as pretty selfish to me.  That whole part of the plot felt a little unresolved.  I also wished we knew more about Grayson.  Like what future did he want for himself? Did he even think about that? When he was sent away for treatment, what was that like?  As much as I enjoyed Kendra's point-of-view, her perspective and interactions with her brother made me want to know more about him.

Do I recommend?: Yes! It's a very character-driven story and again, so well-done.  If you're a fan of road trip books, you'll want to add this one to your list.

Happy reading!

4 comments:

  1. I definitely want to read this! I'm always interested in seeing how sibling relationships are portrayed by authors, especially since I have two of my own.

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    1. Read it!! I think you'll really enjoy!

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  2. I have this one sitting on my shelf and just never really heard anything about it! DEFINITELY reading it! I love my road trip books PLUS character driven novels are so my jam!

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    1. Yay! I'm a big fan of character driven stories and I LOVE road trip books too.

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