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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | Perfect Escape | Jennifer Brown
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Perfect Escape
by Jennifer Brown
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
NO. PAGES: 368
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
ISBN: 0316185574
READ & REVIEWED BY: Eden - StorySnoop

The Story
Perfect Escape—Book Review

Seventeen-year-old Kendra has always lived in the shadow of her older brother Grayson, who has severe OCD. His disorder forces him to lead a very carefully scripted life, and the only way Kendra knows to stand out in her family is to be perfect. And she is perfect at being perfect, until a cheating scandal at school threatens her academic present and future. On a lark, with her brother asleep in the car next to her, Kendra decides to leave all her problems behind and just drive. Maybe distance will help her figure things out. The siblings are suddenly on a road trip, complete with bad hotels, gas-station food, flat tires and crazy roadside attractions. Somewhere along the way though, Kendra will need to stop running and finally come to terms with herself.
The Scoop
Perfect Escape—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Perfect Escape is a beautiful and very readable story about siblings, and the shadows that each inevitably casts over the other(s). Kendra embarks on her impromptu road trip frustrated by Grayson's extreme OCD, and what she sees as her mother's inability to deal with it the way she would. Kendra thinks she can "cure" him with her version of tough love. She is also fully aware that she is running from the shame and punishment that she knows is coming for her participation in a cheating ring at school. It is clear early on that while Grayson suffers from very obvious compulsions, Kendra is also fairly obsessive about perfection--feeling that this is the only way she can be noticed in her family. Both siblings are so consumed with their own demons that neither is aware of the effect that they each have on the other. Their road trip experiences ultimately teach them the classic lesson about walking a mile in another man's shoes, which leads not to a cure or easy answer for either, but more importantly, to a new level of mutual respect and understanding that the reader will certainly appreciate as the most important step in a healing direction for both siblings. Readers who may suffer from OCD, or know someone who has, will definitely appreciate the thorough exploration of the illness, and of anxiety in general. The protagonists do endure some frightening incidents that they don't know quite how to handle, but seem to muddle through anyway. Grayson has an episode the likes of which Kendra has seen, but never been forced to deal with from start to finish. A young mother that joins them along the way has a baby that winds up hospitalized for a serious illness. An old friend upon whom Kendra has pinned all of her hopes lets her down, finally forcing Kendra to look inward to find the strength to solve her problems on her own. Language is not frequent: a-s, scr-wed, bullsh-t, b-stard.
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