Book Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Perfect Escape
Author: Jennifer Brown
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Released: July 10th 2012
Review Source: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from 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.

The cover and title of this book seemed to me as though the story would be about a couple of teenagers taking a road trip and having some life-changing experiences along the way. In reality, I guess the author must have been shooting for that but, in my opinion, the story just fell short. We are introduced to siblings, Kendra and Grayson. Kendra is an honor student that can do no wrong and is suddenly caught up in a cheating scandal at school. Grayson is her older brother who suffers from severe OCD.

When the cheating scandal is catching up to her and she is in danger of being completely busted for her role in it, she suddenly decides to “drive away from it all”. In the process, Kendra takes her brother, who is asleep in the car, along with her. She figures that without their doting mother in the picture, she can help Grayson get better. Mind you, his OCD is extremely severe and he is often placed by their parents in residential facilities for treatment and therapy to help him cope. Kendra is the “perfect” child who is feeling the pressure to stay perfect. I felt the story was that of a girl who spontaneously runs away and takes her brother with her. There wasn’t much that was perfect about it.

Although the siblings come across a few events that perhaps helped Kendra understand Grayson better, I couldn’t help but dislike Kendra. As bright as her character is made out to be, she reacted selfishly at every turn. Her thought process and her woe-is-me attitude was simply annoying. I liked Grayson so much more than her, just because he put up with her. Her actions centered solely around herself and the pressure she had felt all of her life to be the perfect kid because her brother was far from it.

I feel horrible in giving a book such a low rating, especially when it’s by a solid author like Jennifer Brown. But, I just did not feel touched by the storyline or the characters and can’t bring myself to recommend it to readers. I’d suggest passing on this one altogether.

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