YA ARC Review: BRAVE ENOUGH by Kati Gardner



Author: Kati Gardner

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Pub Date: 08.21.18

CW: substance abuse, suicide

Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory. She never really had a choice of whether she learned to dance or not. Her mother, the conservatory’s artistic director, has made all the decisions in Cason’s life. But that’s about to change. Cason has been hiding an injury, and it’s much worse than anyone imagines.

Davis Channing understands all too well what it’s like to give up control of your life. He’s survived cancer, but his drug addiction nearly killed him. Now he’s been sober for seven months and enjoying his community service at the hospital. But just when he thinks he’s got it together, Davis’s ex-girlfriend, who is still battling her addiction, barrels back into his life.

Cason and Davis are not friends. But, as their worlds collide, they will start to depend on one another. Can they both be brave enough to beat the odds?

My Review:

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange of an honest review.

Wow. Raw, realistic and heartwarming. This much positivity was definitely needed and I didn’t know until I read the book. I think I need a break and think life over.

The book follows two teenagers: Cason, a professional ballerina whose career has stopped because of a cancerous tumor in her leg, and Davis, a cancer survivor and a recovering drug addict. When their paths collide, they have to learn to be brave and strong to save themselves and each other.

I don’t remember ever reading about non terminal cancer, or anything that talks about life after chemo and isn’t focused on dying. This book stood out in that respect, and the ownvoices cancer rep was a refreshing and mind-opening read.

It was an easy, fast paced read. Even though it’s based on very tough topics, I loved how it doesn’t get heavy and sad. Instead, it focuses on the brighter (also tougher) aspect of it – fighting and surviving. It makes you appreciate living more than it does to make you feel sorry for the ones dying.

The insta love between Davis and Cason was cute, and I loved reading about the two finding something in each other to be brave for. Things got repetitive sometimes, especially when it came to camp. It makes you hyped up for camp, and I was hoping to see it start from midpoint but it barely gives you a look into the camp in the last few chapters.

As for the characters, Cason and David were both so realistic. From the short dialogues to them leaning back to their parents at hard times, they sounded so much like flawed teenagers. The supportive adults were a great part of it too.

The author does an exceptional job to convey emotions and character struggles, and show raw and positive cancer and disability rep. It pulls you in the book, keeps you reading and loving it.

brave enough

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