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July 2013
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My First Short Story! – The Pink Sweater

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Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

My rating: 5 stars

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her brother’s OCD. Her family’s life was always centered around Grayson, while he was always focused on carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra could creep out from under her brother’s shadow is to be perfect – which she had down to an art, until a cheating scandal ruins her perfect reputation and threatens her academics.
When the moment is right, Kendra seizes the opportunity – with her brother asleep in the passenger seat, she decides to drive away from it all. She believes that with enough distance she can figure everything out and maybe even “fix” her brother along the way. Though, after driving halfway across the country, Kendra realizes her perfect escape is about so much more than getting away from her mistake at school and her painful family dynamic. Eventually Kendra must stop running away and come to terms with herself, her brother and family, and her past.
Perfect Escape is just the right blend of happy and sad. Right from the beginning, I was hooked. Brown’s writing style and plot and character development constantly had me wanting more and more and more. I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next. Then again, that desire to keep reading is a constant for Brown’s novels. Also, like her other novels, this one is a young adult novel very unlike the others out there – it is a novel about something very real, something very deep and personal. This novel is a candid portrayal of very important issues – sibling relationships, family dynamics, and mental illnesses. Reading the story from Kendra’s point of view and seeing how her brother’s OCD altered and affected her life and the lives of both of her parents was very eye-opening. Kendra’s emotions were raw and touching and sometimes even frustrating, but that just added to the thrill of reading the novel.
Also, this book is about much more than a cheating scandal and OCD. Besides the adventurous road trip across nearly seven states, Kendra always takes the time to reminisce on the past and delves into many stories of her childhood. By the end of the novel I was very attached to both Kendra and Grayson and can only imagine how their lives and stories continue.
Once again, Jennifer Brown wrote an incredibly gripping and enjoyable novel that is truly and simply so much more than it seems.