Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Posted by

Perfect Escape
Jennifer Brown
Release date: July 10th 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.
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.

 *A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes*

Road trip books can go from kookie to serious to fun to depressing. Perfect Escape is a beautiful story that has the perfect blend of happy and sad, leaving us with a heartfelt tale about a girl trying to escape her life, and, hopefully, her brother’s OCD.

Overshadowed by her brother’s illness her whole life, Kendra is struggling to achieve perfection. She’s become an overachiever so that she can balance out Grayson’s imperfection. We don’t notice Kendra’s crumbling mental state at first. She’s strong-willed and selfless. Later, as the story moves along, as we learn how hard hard she is on herself, as we see how deeply one person’s OCD affects a whole family, we begin to notice the cracks in her seemingly perfect facade. Her character grows and evolves throughout the story, making her someone I could easily sympathize with. I understood her instead of condemning her for her hasty, sometimes terrible, decisions. Her brother Grayson is equally, if not more, compelling. Having OCD, he’s a fascinating character study. I’ve always been intrigued by mental illnesses and we get a first look at all the ups and downs of an often misunderstood disorder. With these highs and lows comes great character depth; Grayson is a very well-rounded, three dimensional character that will wedge himself right into your hearts. The siblings relationship that these two have is by far my favorite part of this novel. They bicker and disagree, they relive memories and laugh about old times – they know each other to through and through, and love each other unconditionally despite it all. I adored this. This impenetrable connection and fierce protectiveness that they share for each other is simply wonderful and glows right through the pages.

Unlike many road trip novels, we don’t meet a slew of colourful, though irrelevant, characters over the course of their trip. The people we do meet have a big impact on the story. They weave their way into Kendra and Grayson’s journey, becoming exceptional characters that will forever leave a mark on their hearts – and ours. The many adventures and stops on the way is filled with amusing anecdotes and tender moment, in addition to more serious, emotional developments. Though not abrupt, it’s not a straight up, cut and dried ending filled with closure. Like life, we don’t get everything resolved, we get hope. Hope and belief that everything will work out. Because oftentimes in life, it’s the only thing we’ve got.

Highly character driven and dealing with very real issues, Perfect Escape will make you feel every emotion you can muster. If you loved Saving June, and fans of contemporary novels focusing on mental illness and sibling relationships must add this to their reading list!

5 Hot Espressos
The following two tabs change content below.
Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

32 Responses to “Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown”

  1. Nick

    I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this, but you just convinced me that I really should. It seems so amazing ! I love books with strong sibling relationships and this one seems to have exactly that. Also, I love road trips so this should be interesting ! 😀
    I’m intrigued by the mental illness … I wonder how I’ll take it.
    Anyways, thank you for the beautiful review, Giselle ! Once you mentioned Saving June, I had no doubt that I would read the book !

  2. Jac

    5 Espressos?? I’m going to have to snag this one then!

    It sounds like a great twist on the beloved road-trip stories. I love that it’s not just a bunch of meaningless (but fun) characters, and that it sounds like everyone has a part to play.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  3. Sam

    Ha! I literally just finished Saving June and loved it, so this sounds like the perfect book for me. Great review, Giselle! I think road trip books are starting to become more and more my sort of thing so I can’t wait to give this a shot. I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. The Teen Book Guru

    Oh my goodness, Giselle, I love this review!! I am so happy you loved this amazing, heartfelt, beautiful book. This is exactly how I felt about Perfect Escape, too. Sibling books have always caught my interest, and the complex relationship between Grayson and Kendra was really one of the most well-written. And kendra’s character really hit home, for me, and I really understood what she was going through. I LOVE the ending!!! It’s perfect!! WOW I feel so… pleased and thrilled that someone else loved this amazing book just as much as I did. Fabulous review, Giselle! <333

  5. Danny

    Holy Awesome!!!! This sounds like such an awesome book! 5 stars! Love road trips and I loved Saving June too!

    Just the cover could be prettier….:)

  6. Jasprit

    Like other readers I was quite hesitant in picking this one up, but the fact that you really enjoyed it and I love sibling relationship books makes me want to red this sooner! Lovely review Giselle! 🙂

  7. Damaris (GoodChoiceReading)

    I love reading books that touch real life issues and that are character driven. I’ve seen this book around a lot lately. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it out. However, thanks to your review it sounds like my kind of read. Thank you! I am happy I stopped by today! <3

  8. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I was hoping you’d like this book so that I could finally convince myself to buy it 🙂 My wallet thanks you, Giselle 😉 Really, though, this book sounds amazing. I love road trips and dysfunctional families, and I do enjoy learning more about what makes people tick. Sounds like this book delivers all that and more! Great review, muffin 🙂

  9. Aa'Ishah

    I wasn’t interested in reading this initially, but now you’ve convinced me to give it a go! It sounds like Kendra’s an amazingly strong girl; I like that all the characters have a purpose and an impact. Brilliant review, Giselle 🙂

  10. Alexa

    This sounds like a book I would definitely want to read. Apart from the fact that it’s about a road trip (yay!), it focuses on sibling relationships (!!) and a condition that I have a mild case of. Sounds lovely!

  11. Stephsco

    I’ve been gravitating toward more issue-oriented contemporaries, especially if the issues are handled well. OCD is relevant today, I’m so glad books like this exist to explore that within the framework of a story. I’ll consider this one given your positive review! Thanks.

    On the other side, I love lighter romances too, but I need to balance it out.

  12. Stephsco

    Can I also say, I love that you included links to Goodreads and how to purchase. I was going to bookmark it on Goodreads and you made it so easy! Book bloggers, take note!

  13. Henrietta @ Leisure Reads

    This sounds like a thought-provoking, sad but sweet story about siblings. I love how you shared the emotional struggles! This seems like something I’d love to add to my bookshelves. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  14. Randi M

    Love the brother-sister relationship focus since I grew up with an older brother. 🙂 I also love YA contemporary and books about mental illness. And road trip books. Okay, between your review and this comment, I think I just talked myself into buying a copy of this book ASAP. Let’s see if I can bribe hubby into taking me to the bookstore… 🙂 Great review!!

  15. Shooting Stars Mag

    this sounds wonderful. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and wow! A rating of 5? I guess I really need this. books that deal with mental illness fascinate me as well, and I’m glad the the sibling relationship works.

    I really want to read Saving June too. 🙂


  16. Missie, The Unread Reader

    I can’t remember the last book I read that had a strong focus on a sibling relationship, so this one instantly intrigues me. Also, the OCD factor is a very unique theme to explore and I’d probably be the most fascinated with that aspect of the story, too.

    Amazing review. Thanks for highlighting this book for us. I think I would have otherwise overlooked it.

  17. Amy

    OMG 5 espressos?!! This is a must read!! Fantastic review. It sounds really great. I love when you can really get into the characters.

  18. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Awww, this one sounds SO good. I love what you had to say about the relationship between the siblings. For that alone, I’m sure to one day soon read it because I ADORE when authors explore and really give depth to a sibling relationship and interaction. Plus…5 espressos – wow! 🙂

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  19. A Canadian Girl

    I loved the way you described this, Giselle! There aren’t that many novels focusing on a great sibling relationship, and the fact that this one involves a road trip and deals with mental issues means I’ll be definitely adding it to my wishlist.

  20. kay - Infinite Shelf

    I’m always interested in books focusing on mental illnesses, and as someone with a light case of OCD, this book sounds particularly interesting to me. Plus, I read Hate List by the same author and really liked it. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  21. Vegan YA Nerds

    Well this sounds fantastic! I am about to read the author’s previous book so I have high hopes now, knowing that this book impressed you so much.

    Also, I really like that this road trip is different, and not about having a fun time and meeting a bunch of new people