“Perfect Escape” is a young adult novel written by Jennifer Brown. Published by Little, Brown & Company, “Perfect Escape” is a book of 368 pages. Though it has no extraordinary suspense, the plot and interesting words the author uses, as well as the imagery, this book will have you keep reading until you discover the secret the protagonist has been hiding since the beginning.
The entire novel is written from the protagonist’s point of view, named Kendra. Kendra’s brother, Grayson, or “Genius Boy” as Kendra calls him, is suffering from severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD is defined as “a mental illness in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), and behaviors that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts”. Kendra, as the “normal” child in the family, has always found herself having to be perfect in order to be a replacement for Grayson.
Kendra’s world seems to turn upside-down when her best friend since birth moves from her old house, because her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Monett, didn’t want their daughter in a relationship with a mentally-ill person. Now, one of her best friends, Zoe, is gone, and her other best friend and brother, Grayson, is depressed. She feels lonely, especially when her brother went from sharing all his secrets with Kendra, to closing himself in a “bubble” which he refuses to come out of. Will Kendra ever be herself? Will she move on, or will she wait for everything to go back to normal?
Kendra has now found a replacement for the blank space in her heart, by having Lia and Shani as her friends. Her life is starting to get easy again for the first time in years. No more staying up at night, listening to her brother’s screams as her parents rush him into the hospital. No more searching for him in the middle of the night with her parents and neighbors. No more searching for him in the quarry, his only company being the thousands and thousands of rocks and a ruler. No more drama. With her brother away for treatment, her friends by her side, herself being an example of success at school, and being ready to graduate high school, her life seems to be okay – almost normal. Almost. That is until her brother returns from treatment. It is until she makes a mistake – a big one; a mistake that will cost her going to college. The mistake that will keep her from building her future. She now finds herself in a dead end. Add the fact that Zoe has been ignoring her e-mails, and there you have the perfect recipe for escape. Will she stay to face the consequences? Will she stay to see the disappointment in her parents’ faces? Or will she run away? Will we ever know what Kendra’s big mistake was?
“We all know what Grayson’s difficulties were. Grayson’s difficulties dominated his life. And Mom’s and Dad’s. And mine. Sometimes it felt like especially mine.”
For the most part, I really enjoyed reading this book. From the plot twist, to the interesting information about OCD, this book was almost perfect. I did not like the fact that Kendra is so jealous of Grayson throughout the whole book, and that she uses him as an excuse in her everyday life. No matter what she does, whether that is failing a test or being late to class, her excuse will always be her mentally-ill brother. She does not show much empathy for Grayson, and does not even try to understand him. However, after all that happened to her, she finally got to understand him and love him for whom he is. I recommend this book, mainly because of the interesting information on OCD and how it can affect people’s lives, as well as the interesting plot twist. However, I would not recommend it if you – or a loved one – are suffering from OCD, since I think that this novel might be triggering in that case. 4/5. +12.