Monday, March 19, 2012

The Survival Kit (YA)

The Survival Kit. Donna Freitas. 2011. FSG. 368 pages.

I found it on the day of my mother's funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look. There it was, hanging with her favorite dress, the one I'd always wanted to wear. "Someday when you are old enough," she used to say. Is sixteen old enough?

I LOVED this one. I just LOVED it. I don't always love realistic fiction, I tend to prefer other genres. But. The Survival Kit is a must-read. It's a beautifully bittersweet novel about the grieving process.

Rose Madison is grieving the death of her mom, the cancer came back, the miraculous recovery just didn't last. Her older brother is away at college, for the most part, and her dad is losing it. Though perhaps the distinction is obviously losing it. Her dad has become a drunk, he's losing the ability to function, to take care of himself and his daughter. He's become more than an embarrassment, he needs help, more help than she can provide. But. Rose is losing it in a different way. Her way might not be obvious, but the pain, in a way, is the same. Rose, for example, has shut music out of her life. She will not tolerate music playing in her life. She knows that music will invite emotions and feelings and memories. Music will unwrap the pain. With music comes reminders of life, of love, of loss. She's not ready to feel anything yet which makes her relationship with her boyfriend an impossibility. He's patient, to a point; understanding, to a point. But he's not perfect. He is tired of Rose being the new-and-unfeeling Rose. The Rose that will not respond to his kisses, to his touch. The Rose that doesn't care about his football games. The Rose that doesn't seem to care about anything anymore. The Rose that doesn't laugh or smile.

Truth be told, Rose is tired of the new Rose too. But she's just not sure when she'll be ready to start letting go, to start feeling again, to start living again. She knows that it would be good for her to surrender to her mother's "survival kit" a kit prepared just for this occasion, a loving gift from mother to child. But is she brave enough to start the process?

In her loss, Rose notices someone for the first time...someone that DOES understand her loss, her pain, because he's lost a parent himself...

The Survival Kit is a book about family, friendship, life, love, loss, grief, and pain. It's an emotional read, very compelling, and impossible to put down!

Read The Survival Kit
  • If you are looking for a bittersweet yet compelling read about grief
  • If you are looking for an authentic story about how cancer can effect a family
  • If you are looking for a sweet-yet-not-too-perfect romance

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Amy 11:39 PM  

yaaaay! I loved this one too.

Kailana 11:59 AM  

I don't necessarily like realistic fiction, either, but I will add it to my wish list. :)

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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