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Perfect Escape Paperback – April 16, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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$7.98 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 17 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

* "Brown skillfully navigates the emotional complexities and psychological minefields of her characters and their relationship, treating OCD with delicacy without losing sight of the big picture."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Brown paints an unflinching, nuanced portrait of siblings in a family overwhelmed by serious illness....Readers will enjoy the trip."―VOYA

"[A] road-trip novel with momentum and realistic characters that will have many teen readers hitching a ride."―School Library Journal

"The stark honesty of Kendra's feelings about living with a brother with a mental illness will touch readers, but it is Grayson's responses that really set this apart as an unflinching and heartbreaking portrayal of the complexities of such a relationship."―The Bulletin

"Kendra's struggle to face her mistakes will resonate with many young adult readers...intelligent and compassionate."―Library Media Connection

About the Author

Jennifer Brown writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with her husband and three children. She is the author of Thousand Words; Perfect Escape; Bitter End, which received two starred reviews and was named an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title; and Hate List, which received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316185582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316185585
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: C

Perfect, good girl Kendra, four weeks before graduation, is about to get caught as the ringleader in a cheating scandal. She grabs her brother Grayson, who has debilitating OCD and is fresh out of a psych hospital, and they take to the road. The plan is to drive cross country to see her best friend Zoe, whose parents moved her to California to get away from Grayson. Along the way they pick up a young mother and her infant. California or bust.

The Good:
-Kendra, Grayson and Rena were interesting, fairly well developed characters.
-Grayson's OCD was handled fairly accurately as were the way Kendra and the parents reacted to it.
-Loved the premise.
-The sibling relationship was portrayed authentically.
-The writing.

The Average:
-The plot was uneven. The beginning grabbed my interest, the middle got repetitive, a big of excitement toward the end.
-Rena. She was an interesting character, but her story, at times, overshadowed the siblings.
-THE PERFECT ESCAPE as a whole reading experience.

The Bad:
-The ending. THE PERFECT ESCAPE just stopped without resolution. I hate that.
-The ending. Hated what resolution there was.

Themes: OCD, mental illness, siblings, road trip, school pressures, teenage mothers, runaways, friendship, road trips

I think most teens will like, but not love THE PERFECT ESCAPE. Those with particular interest to OCD and mental illness will find the book more interesting.
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Format: Paperback
This book sounded perfect for me. I love reading both about road trips and about sibling relationships (rather than romance, for once!), and I was excited to see how Jennifer Brown would handle the topic of mental illness. Sadly, Perfect Escape didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations - there were plenty of parts that I enjoyed, but for such a character-driven novel, I don't think the character growth was strong enough, making this only an okay read for me.

I never really connected with Kendra. She just seemed very whiny and melodramatic, and I couldn't understand her reasoning. There's a lot of telling and not a lot of showing, making Kendra a somewhat underdeveloped character. It especially bothered me that we don't find out about the full extent of the cheating ordeal until the very ending - the revelation is underwhelming, but finding out about it earlier might have made it easier for the reader to understand why Kendra chose to run away. I get that we're not supposed to like Kendra at the beginning and that the point is to see her grow over the course of the novel, but the character growth is not strong enough to carry the story. What she discovers about herself and her relationship with Grayson is not developed enough and without further exploration, it didn't feel real to me. Since Perfect Escape is laid out to be a very character-driven story, this lack of character depth really impacted my enjoyment of the novel.

I also wasn't impressed with the Zoe-storyline. Once Kendra "kidnaps" her sleeping brother and leaves for their impromptu road trip, she has to figure out where they're going and decides they're going to visit their old friend Zoe in California.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There are several reasons why I was drawn to this book. Firstly, the main characters are brother and sister, which is something that isn't often intimately explored in Young Adult literature. I'm the only girl of four children, so sister relationships are foreign to me, but brother-sister relationships are something I know pretty well and I was interested to see how Brown would portray the relationship between Grayson and Kendra. Add in a road-trip (hello!), and Grayson's OCD, and I was totally intrigued to see how this story played out.

Perfect Escape is my first experience with Jennifer Brown, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. I liked her free-flowing style, and even though contemporary YA is not my usual genre, I really enjoyed the plot and the characters.

The plot itself is pretty straightforward - Kendra makes a huge mistake and with her brother suffering from the limitations of his OCD, she makes an uncharacteristically rash decision to just drive as far away from her personal and family issues. At first, she doesn't really have a plan, but one forms as she makes her way across the state, and without telling Grayson the real reason, she keeps on driving towards California.

What I loved most about Perfect Escape was undoubtedly the relationships between the characters. Although Grayson and Kendra had their issues, they also supported each other the best way that they knew how - whether it was the right way or not, it was done with sibling love rather than personal motivations. There are also other characters that they meet along the way, and one in particular I found fascinating and my only quibble with her was that I didn't feel like her story was explored in enough depth.
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