30 October 2011

Perfect Escape; Jennifer Brown

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

I loved Hate List and was a little disappointed by Bitter End but this is a return to form for Jennifer Brown.

Kendra's life has been overshadowed by her OCD brother Grayson's problem, and she's tried to be Little Miss Perfect to compensate. There's only one glitch, and she's aware that things are about to radically change for her: possibly expulsion, being kicked out of the National Honor Society and worse. It's not clear exactly what she's done, but it is clear that it's Something Bad. That this all coincides with Grayson's return home after some time away at a hospital doesn't help.

So Kendra decides that the best solution to all this is to get into her car (after having convinced Grayson to stop counting rocks at the nearby quarry) and drive to California, home to her former BFF Zoe. Zoe's parents didn't like the relationship Zoe and Grayson had, and abruptly moved her away - so there are lots of unresolved emotions on all sides. This road trip doesn't meet with Grayson's approval, but slowly he seems to warm to the idea and enjoy the adventure.

Throughout the course of the book I had to remind myself that Grayson was OCD, not ASD; he was always capable of normal interpersonal interactions except when his obsessions took over. Kendra spends time distracting him from his fears and obsessions and the normalcy of their brother/sister relationship is realistic. It was also interesting to see that the book ends on a semi-cliffhanger, in that we don't know how things will get resolved vis-a-vis her problems at school. I liked that sense of "this adventure's over, another one is going to begin but not here", because too many neatly tied loose-ends bothers me. So yay for that!

ARC provided by publisher.

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