Book Thoughts: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

(**I received the book from the publisher in exchange for a thoughtful review.)

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.

Finally, a book that I’ve read that is very, very strong without a hint of romance within the text! After I had read the summary of this book, I told myself I had to read it. How could I not? It’s interesting, it’s different, and it’s real.

Most books build up to a situation that sets off the novel; the writing of Perfect Escape jumps right into Kendra’s feelings. Like the rest of us, she wants to feel and be wanted and not feel overshadowed –which, in this case, is a big part of her relationship with her brother. I’ve never even been close to the protagonist’s situation, but I felt like I knew exactly what she was going through because her feelings are described extremely well.

Last year, a teacher in my class took a poll of my class. He asked if any of us would be capable of doing something insane (such as that time last year when a man ate another man’s face) if under the right pressure and influences. Although most people denied that they could go that far, this book demonstrates that every person has a breaking point. Kendra is a perfect student and a perfect child; she has great grades, participates in plenty of activities and stays away from drugs and alcohol. I see myself in her. From my POV, I think running away is pretty scary because you’re venturing into unfamiliar territory with nothing to fall back onto. Yet this is just what Kendra is willing to do. This book opens your eyes to what makes people snap, and how they deal after that point.

Although Kendra and her brother Grayson are in a serious situation, they both still have time to be teenagers. The siblings are scared, nervous and frustrated; yet they still joke and fool around. For example, even though the two of them find themselves in a disgusting motel, Kendra licks a wall just to creep her brother out. As gross as that is, I understand the reasons for her actions and I would find myself laughing at her too if I was there with her.

This journey opens the reader up to all different kinds of people. Forget the jocks and nerds in a clique setting; I’m talking about the diversity of individuals in the real world. The story focuses on a perfect child and a boy held down by his disorder, and along the way they meet others; some of which have made poor decisions, forcing them to realize that people change faster than they think. This book reminds you that you never really know what a person is going through.

What else can I say? Perfect Escape is a truly fantastic novel. It’s real, raw and powerful. I really hope you decide to check this novel out because if you don’t, you’re definitely missing out.

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