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Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Perfect Escape
by Jennifer Brown

5 Stars: Keeper
Hardback: 368 Pages
Publication: July 10, 2012 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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.

I love books with a strong sibling relationship. Imagine my joy when I found a book centered on a sibling relationship. The story didn't disappoint; in fact, it was better than I imagined. It isn't all-around happy--Kendra has her fair share of frustrations, tears, and worries--however, I was perfectly happy reading this story. I understand the complexities of a sister-brother relationship (though I'm the older one in the relationship), and I can empathize with her feelings, though I haven't had to cope with her situation. Kendra has felt overshadowed by her brother and his OCD problems. While she realzies that it's not really his fault that he has these compulsions, she can't help but feel as though her life is run by him. His return added on top of her fear of having her future ruined by a cheating scandal drive her to run away with her brother, who also has had enough with his OCD issues, far from their problems at home.

The emotions run rampant in this novel. Kendra and her brother have their issues, Grayson dealing with people treating him as though her could have an emotional breakdown any moment and Kendra dealing with the pressures of being the perfect, normal daughter. Both think the other have an easier time and have their moments of jealousy. It is also true that Kendra has her selfish reasons for the trip and for trying to cure Grayson of his disorder. Nevertheless, she and her brother have a strong bond; they love each other and do their best to look after each other. I love them. Seriously. They're amazing siblings for all their imperfections; it is a human thing, imperfection. My eyes were tearing as I neared the end of the novel.

The story explores the impact of OCD on a family and how their friends and others view them. Grayson is a genius and a nice guy; however, people express their disappointment on how his OCD prevents him from reaching perfection, and they don't look further than his OCD to appreciate who he is as a person. Not many characters are introduced in this novel. Each one is important in how he or she influences the major characters, especially the ones that stick around for more than a few scenes. There are fun roadstops, bad jokes that made me and my brother laugh (I shared them with him, as he was in the room with me), and there were some stormy moments that tore at my heart when Kendra and Grayson released pentup emotions.

More than a story about two sibling on a road trip, more than a story about cheating and OCD, Perfect Escape is about family, friendship, and acceptance. It is about the imperfections that make us who we are. I wanted the story to continue, so we can find out more about what happens later. At the same time, I appreciate where this story leaves us because it's the moment of realization, and it's the point where Kendra needs to reach. This story left me feeling happy and satisfied. There's nothing more I could have asked of Jennifer Brown from this story. I look forward to seeing more books from her!

A copy was provided by Little Brown for review.

3 comments on "Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown"
  1. I love that this is about siblings and about mental health and how that affects the rest of the family. It's a charming way of handling a road trip.

    I hope OCD was done in a respectful way but also showed how challenging it is.

    Great review:)

    1. It wasn't all that charming for Kendra and Grayson, but they do bond more over the trip and come to terms with their respective situations. I don't know many of the practical facts about OCD, but the book shows how different people respond to it. Some not so well and others, like Kendra, who love Grayson but struggle to accept OCD as a part of who he is.

  2. I have seen this book around a lot but never payed much attention to it. I must say after reading you review it make ME want to read it :)


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