I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
How to Be Brave by E . Katherine Kottaras
To Be Published on November 3, 2015
An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.
Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
This story is fun and messy and so real. I loved it. Georgia, a senior in high school, is dealing with the recent death of her mother. In her last letter to Georgia, her mom charged her to “be brave” and “try everything.” In this spirit, Georgia creates a list of 15 things she’d like to do. With the help of her best friend, Liss, she sets off accomplishing the items on her list.
This book jumps right in. The pacing was so good. Details and backstory were filled in as they were needed, but the story flowed well from the beginning. I was compelled to keep reading this book, and I’d sneak in little bits whenever I could throughout my days.
Things derailed for Georgia about 2/3 of the way through the book. But that’s life, isn’t it? Things don’t always go according to plan. Mistakes are made. New opportunities and challenges present themselves. I found that I didn’t mind the rather strange twists the story took. It added to the authenticity of the characters.
I wasn’t completely on board with the amount of drug use, so I think this book is for older teens and adults. But otherwise, I thought the message was good.
There is some poetry sprinkled throughout the story. I enjoyed that. Sometimes it flowed really well with Georgia’s first person narrative. Other times it seemed a little forced, tacked on to the end of the chapters. But overall I think it adds to Georgia’s voice.
This book was an enjoyable, quick read.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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