Latest Read: The Survival Kit

Here are the basics ...
Book: The Survival Kit
Author: Donna Freitas
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary

Summary: When Rose's mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose's Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go. As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family's gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she's going through. Can loss lead to love? (Adapted
My thoughts…
The good: I should probably just say this now - I LOVED THIS BOOK.  I started it late on a Saturday night and pretty much refused to sleep until I had finished. By the end, I was this teary (yet happy) mess  of emotions.  I don't know about you but I love books that make me feel this way.  I think it's a testament to an author's writing if s/he can move you to tears or to laugh out loud.  Donna Freitas definitely accomplishes that.  Her writing is beautiful but so simple.  This is the second book about grief and dealing with the loss of a loved one that I've read this month but the author was able to do something different with it. I think it's because she captured these little details that maybe people who haven't experienced loss might not know.  Like, how the most mundane aspects of your every day life suddenly feel unbearable or reduce you to tears because they remind you of that person. Or how you may hold onto certain people even tighter or feel the need to push them away.  She just seemed to get right to the heart of Rose's grief.  And without employing any crazy drama or stereotypes.  Every emotion and every character felt so normal and real.

Let's start with Anna and her family.  I loved Anna as a main character. She felt like someone I could be friends with and I really felt for what she was going through.  But I also admired how she actively tried to deal with her grief while honoring her mother's memory at the same time.  And on top of that, she's trying so hard to hold her broken family together as they deal with the loss of her mother.  Her father has turned to alcohol and her brother is away at college.  The love between them all is so clear through their words and actions but in a lot of ways, they don't know how to help each other.  But they try to.  Her grandmother gets involved too and I adored her.  So often with books, I feel like either there's a focus on family or there's a focus on friendship, but rarely is there a balance between the two.  That's not the case here. We get to know Anna's family and see how they support each other. And I loved that.

Anna also has a great support system in her friends and of course, Will.  What I enjoyed most about her friends was that we got to know most of them in little ways.  And there was no real mention of cliques, popularity or cattiness.  She had friends that were jocks, cheerleaders and her best friend is a singer who doesn't care for sports. They just all care for Anna and give her the space and understanding she needs to get through this time in her life. Like I mentioned before, no stereotypes. Just realistic teenagers being there for a friend. The most "drama" probably stemmed from Will but even then, I thought their relationship was so well-developed. They really took their time getting to know each other in a way that felt true-to-life especially considering what they've each been through.

(No) reservations: I've got nothing but good things to say about this one.

Do I recommend?: Yes! I had to cut myself off earlier because seriously, I could go on and on with the gushing. Just trust me when I say you have to read this.

Happy reading!


  1. I'm so glad you have all good things to say about this one! I read it during a readathon in 2011 and had trouble moving on to the next book because I couldn't stop thinking about Anna and Will.

  2. I want to read it! I haven't read it (yet), but I want to get to it now after seeing your thoughts on it.


with love,