“We all knew what Grayson’s ‘difficulties’ were. Grayson’s difficulties dominated his life. And Mom’s and Dad’s. And mine” (4). Written by Jennifer Brown, Perfect Escape is a realistic-fiction novel that explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the ups-and-downs of a sibling relationship.
Her whole life, Kendra has felt restricted by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him and his family to live a very controlled life. Kendra has always been expected to be perfect, but when a cheating incident threatens her reputation, the pressure of perfection becomes too much. In her car, with Grayson asleep next to her, Kendra unexpectedly decides to run away from it all.
Kendra seems like a very likeable, intelligent, and strong-willed character, although she has some problems that become more noticeable as the plot develops. We see how hard she is on herself, as well as how OCD can affect one’s family. Grayson is a genius, but he has a severe mental illness, and I actually felt bad for him at some points. On their little road trip, Kendra and Grayson get a chance to bond together and see each other’s perspectives.
When I first started reading Perfect Escape, I was a little doubtful and didn’t know what to expect. However, it turned out to be a very intriguing book. It was different from most YA books because it really didn’t have a love story. In addition, the book was deep, with many underlying plots and themes.
Overall, I found this book to be very enjoyable, emotional, and humorous. I loved how it made me connect and sympathize with the characters right away. I thought this book was the perfect blend of happy and sad, and its heartfelt tone made me almost cry at the end. Perfect Escape was definitely a great read, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone over the age of thirteen!
-Kaylie W., 9th grade