When I think about YA road trip books, the usual words that come to mind are: light, romantic and fun. Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown is a road trip read, but of the more heavy variety. While Perfect Escape did not blow me away by any means, I am still looking forward to checking out and reading other books by Jennifer Brown.
Kendra has always felt intense pressure to be the perfect kid, because her brother Grayson suffers from very severe OCD. Kendra eventually cracks and is implicated in a huge cheating scandal. Uncertain on what to do, she basically kidnaps her older brother and starts driving, deciding to visit old neighbor Zoe, whom she has had very little contact with lately. Kendra is convinced that Zoe can fixe Gray. Obviously, as a reader, I knew it could not end very well with Zoe.
I really liked Jennifer Brown’s plotting and characterization in Perfect Escape. The book moves at a nice clip, with only a few parts dragging. Some of the teaser snippets, basically the parts where Kendra hints at her scandal and also what happened between Grayson and Zoe, felt a bit contrived for drama/excitement factor. I really wanted to just find out what the big deal was without the hinting.
As for Kendra, she is easy to relate to, especially if you have a sibling who is differently abled. I do and I can verify that yes, it sucks when that sibling gets all of the focus and attention. Yes, sometimes you have to blow off steam about them to your friends, but god help the person who hurts that sibling. Jennifer Brown really paints that dynamic realistically, at least from my own personal point of view and it’s definitely not a challenge to see why Kendra feels so pressured or where she’s coming from on this, even if her decisions are questionable.
However, I could have done without a lot of Kendra’s inner monologuing. She tells her revelations and feelings instead of showing them. I think that really hinders the book. I was not into all the introspection and would rather see Kendra learn the big reveals by actions, rather than her telling me what she learned.
In all, Perfect Escape isn’t a bad book by any means, and is rather easy to escape into the pages. For me, a few things really detracted from my enjoyment, but I would not hesitate to recommend this book if you enjoy issues-based books and books with a lot of introspection.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.
Other reviews of Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown:
Xpresso Reads – “a beautiful story that has the perfect blend of happy and sad”
Fiction Folio – “a very emotional read”