Perfect Escapeby Jennifer Brown
Published July 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads: Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.
I don't know about you all, but I am always a fan of a road trip novel. Actual road trips? I probably couldn't handle it. But I could read about them forever. Perfect Escape is unlike most road trip books for a couple reasons: 1) The main characters are brother and sister (instead of love interests/BFFs) and 2) The brother, Grayson, has pretty severe OCD. To say that a road trip is outside of his comfort zone is an understatement.
This is my first Jennifer Brown book, and I was definitely not disappointed. From what I understand she's not afraid to write about the tough topics. Her other novels have focused on school shootings and abusive relationships, while her most recent novel is about sexting. Though the OCD focus of Perfect Escape may not be as heavy or hard hitting as her other novels, it gave me more of an understanding of the disease and opened my mind to the effects it has on others.
Road trip books aren't exactly formulaic, but what you do know is that they always serve the same purpose: major character development. Perfect Escape is no exception. Kendra runs away, dragging Grayson with her, because she's afraid of the fallout of her cheating in school. She justifies bringing Grayson with her because she thinks taking him out of his comfort zone will help him overcome his OCD. By the end of the novel Kendra and Grayson both show great development and have bonded in a completely new way.
I was occasionally bored or frustrated with what Kendra did or said. The control freak/perfectionist inside of me was wrankled by a few of the decisions Kendra made, and it was difficult to get over it a few times. But overall I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more Jennifer Brown in the future!