6 Oct 2015

Review: How To Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras

How To Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
November 3rd, 2015 · St. Martin's Press
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Page Count: 288
An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she's always been afraid to do - including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn't always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most - and you learn that you're stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
Firstly, I really enjoyed the positive, empowering vibe of this book. You have the close friendship between Georgia and Liss, who have each other's backs. As always, it’s great to see strong female friendships in YA. Secondly, Georgia’s voice is authentic and a definite highlight of the book. Though she’s overweight, I loved that the book didn't revolve around that; it wasn't the be all end all. Because at it’s core, How To Be Brave is about trying to live a life Georgia's mum would be proud of and taking chances. I think this quote sums it up perfectly:

"But being brave isn't about living every minute exhilarated. It's about waking up and knowing that despite the worry and the sadness and the deep, dark fear, you're going to go forth anyway. That you're going to try anyway. That you have a choice, and you're going to choose to live, today, bravely."

Isn't that quote just beautiful?

For the most part, this was an enjoyable story. The main negative I had with the book was that I wanted more from the beginning. It felt like the plot was lacking and I was left waiting for it pick up. I was much happier with the ending and by the second half, I became hooked as conflict started to arise and saw Georgia start to grow as a character, which was great. It was just what I'd wanted and made me a happy little camper.

I have to say, I wish the cover had went with a model that looked more like Georgia, instead of the traditional-looking, thin model. I know it doesn’t affect the story and authors don't have much say in the matter, if any, but it’s rather disappointing when you think about it. Hopefully we’ll start to see better cover representation in the future!

A particular scene that stood out to me was when Georgia and her friends went to to tribal dance class, which was on Georgia’s list. It was such an empowering moment for these young girls and my favourite scene in the book.

How To Be Brave is a thoughtful story and one I think teenagers will enjoy.

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