Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Perfect Escape 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, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

My Review:

This is the third Jennifer Brown book that I have read, so now I have read everything that she has published so far.  I have enjoyed all of her work.  I enjoyed reading about the characters and story in this book.


Kendra was a great protagonist.  For much of her life, she felt like she had to be the perfect child to make up for her older brother, Grayson.  This causes some problems for her when she finds out she doesn't understand calc at all.  She begins to buy the tests off of the TA so she can memorize the answers.  When he starts charging higher prices for the tests, she needs a way to pay for them.  So she sells photocopies of the tests to more students, and has them pay her.  Soon she finds she has orchestrated an entire cheating ring.  When she realizes that school is about to find this out, she decides to take off with Grayson on a road trip to hide from her problems. 

The relationship between Kendra and Grayson is well written in this book.  This book does a good job of showing how Grayson's OCD affects his life.  He sometimes has to walk in and out a door over 30 times before entering and exiting.  He also is always counting rocks.  Kendra often gets frustrated with Grayson's OCD, and she thinks she might be able to "fix" him.  She doesn't see that he wishes he didn't have this problem.  He would rather be like Kendra than like himself.

One of the secondary characters is Rena, who has an interesting story.  She works at the motel that Grayson and Kendra stop at first.  She is a young girl around Kendra's age.  She has a baby and is married to an older man who is the baby's father.  She ran away from home when she about 15, and the book doesn't really say why she did.  She decides she's tired of living with her husband, so she leaves, and Kendra sees her walking along the road and invites her to join them on their trip.  She clearly cares about her baby Bo, though she isn't always the best at being a mother.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


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