Thursday, July 12, 2012

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Perfect EscapePerfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: 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 thoughts: Jennifer Brown has been one of my favorite YA authors since her first publication. She takes on tough subject matter but with enough tact to hand it to even a younger teenager without insulting an older reader.

Of the many books on obsessive compulsive disorder, this is the first book written specifically for the sibling of the squeaky wheel. While Grayson suffers mightily with his OCD, settles into the identified "sick" family member, accepts the enabling parents help, cringes at the oversimplifying parent (Just stop it), Kendra offers another perspective.

Kendra is three years younger than Grayson. She is about to graduate from high school but she carries more on her shoulders than just her brain. Grayson is a genius stuck in a mentally ill brain. Kendra is a hard worker who feels the weight of real and imagined expectations of her parents to be successful. It is her job to overcompensate for Grayson's failures. At the same time, Kendra wants desperately for her parents and those around her to appreciate her for herself and not for not being like Grayson.

The book begins with Kendra running away from trouble she made. Grayson happens to be a passenger in her car so she hatches a plan to cure him via exposure therapy and also places all of her hope on one person, an old friend that she and Grayson were close to years ago. The book is about the journey, not the destination. Brown creates a brother/sister relationship that is believable and fun. Grayson is not just a genius stuck in an OCD mind, he is also warm, funny, and loves his sister, regardless of her stupidity and quirks. It's not my favorite book by Brown, but it's my favorite book on OCD so far. It's a fresh perspective with real outcomes.

*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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