The Survival Kit
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The Survival Kit

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,438 ratings  ·  284 reviews
When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to...more
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Lisa O.
4.5 stars

Close to perfect, really close. Why hasn't everybody read Donna Freitas already? That's right, because this book is not out on e-format yet, that's why. Publishing house(s), whatcha waiting for?

Ok, let me start by saying that I was choking up on page SIX.
Let me introduce myself: my middle name is cynical. I don't choke up. I just don't. This book had me swallowing tears at least 5 times. Geeze.
Unfortunately, it hit too close to home but nevermind that, it's not exactly the point. The...more
Reynje
Bracing yourself for an impact that never arrives is a strange sensation.

When it becomes clear that the anticipated pain is not going to make an appearance, there’s a moment of confusion before the tensed muscles release, before the flinch fades, before the shielding hands come down. A suspended second where the expectation and the reality don’t quite connect, and you have to reassess what’s going on.

As I read The Survival Kit, I think I had been unconsciously readying myself for an emotional...more
Keertana
The Survival Kit is written for the readers who painstakingly shy away from issue novels; from the inevitable pain and hurt and pure emotion that they bring. While Freitas's novel is beautifully written, capturing the emotions of grief and heartache in a seamless manner and integrating within this story a romance that is both deep and palpable, the inevitable "punch" that is common to most grief novels - you know, that moment when it seems as if the wind has been knocked out from you and the flo...more
Isamlq
A lot of what I liked in Survival Kit had to do with Rose and Will then only later with Rose with and her family, particularly her with her brother as they dealt with what they had to. It’s an emotional read, but not as emotional as I was thinking it was going to be. Sure, most of what I felt for them was something quiet and sad, yet there were moments too that felt sweet and lovely and only a couple of bits that had me (or was it Rose?) feeling maybe bitterly disappointed.

Will. I thought I had...more
Choco
Readalong with Reynje. My copy was given to me by her too. I can't thank her enough.

This one is hard to rate and review.
Let me just say that I was out of sync with this book from the start. The author and I are not cognitively compatible. If you liked the book, please skip the next part or know that this is my personal reactioin and just an example of bad chemistry between an author and a reader.

The book starts with, "I found it on the day of my mother's funeral, tucked in a place she knew I wou...more
Rachael
Nothing has been the same since Rose’s mother died. Rose misses her more than anything, and her absence makes Rose’s entire life feel off kilter. When Rose finds a Survival Kit that her mom made especially for her, she realizes that she needs to at least try to heal. Her mother left her a paper bag containing a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a box of crayons, a paper star, an iPod with an empty playlist, and a paper kite, and Rose owes it to her mother to make the most of what she’s been g...more
Paige
Rose was always close to her mother. After her mother dies from cancer, she and her family (her father & older brother Jim) must recover from her death. Rose’s mother was infamous for making Survival Kits for the parents of children she taught. These kits contained items to help the parents through their difficulties of missing their children and they were very popular. Rose discovers one of these kits in her closet, containing six items that will allow her to move on from her grief. As she...more
Steph Su
Donna Freitas is arguably YA’s best kept secret: her books are released with little fanfare, yet they are all beautifully, subtly written contemporary stories that linger in readers’ emotions for a long time to come. THE SURVIVAL KIT takes on a premise that has become unfortunately conventional in terms of contemporary YA plots, and manages to make it into a heartwarming, memorable, and utterly unique story.

Strangely enough, THE SURVIVAL KIT begins with a slew of clichés: the dead mother, the al...more
♥ Sarah
Sigh.

The Survival Kit was just one of those beautifully wistful, yet tender and gut-wrenching and haunting kind of reads. I tumbled through a dizzying cycle of emotions, as Rose dealt with the loss of her mother, and as the burden of "moving on" crushed Rose. Her life, her whole world, and her sense of self deteriorates around her, and her only way out of it all is to just survive.

At first, I was shocked and disappointed with Will. But then his indiscretion and my disappointment reaffirmed the i...more
K
Mar 08, 2012 K rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: library
As good as all the reviews claim.

Rose’s mother died on June fourth. After the funeral she discovers one of her mother’s infamous Survival Kits made especially for her. Her mom was a preschool teacher and dealt with sad parents at the start of every school year. The kits were a family project every August so that all of her new parents would have something to help them let go of their little ones. Rose discovers a hodgepodge of items in her bag and sets out to accomplish what her mother intended,...more
April
After finishing The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas, I had to immediately let my contemporary loving friends know how great it is. I practically burst into song with praises for The Survival Kit. You see, on first glass at the description, a reader might thing blah, joust another grief book, but I’m here to say with ALL my wisdom – don’t dismiss The Survival Kit. Donna Freitas’s style is similar to Sarah Dessen and honestly The Survival Kit is such a tender book, I loved it.

Read the rest of my rev...more
Naban
A picture of peonies, an iPod, some crayons, a paper star, a crystal heart, and a kite.

These are the contents of Rose's Survival Kit, and they are what helps her cope with the death of her Mother, who was a cancer patient.

After the death of Rose's mother is when everything changed. Rose is no longer the girl she used to be. She becomes the ex-cheerleader, the ex-girlfriend, and the girl who used to go to social events and had fun. Rose is stuck with her grief and the responsibility of taking ca...more
Anjali
I basically skimmed this entire book and finished it in two hours. I wanted to enjoy this book, and with a rating of 4.02 stars, why wouldn't I?

Well, here's why: The plot of a girl having everything turning into her life slowly unraveling after having a loved one died has been seen only, maybe for umpteen times. Freitas did not put any original spin with the exception of these Survival Kits that the main character, Rose, makes with her friends after receiving one of her own from her late mother...more
Ashe
Just a short few sentences on why I didn't like this...

I read to page 119 and gave up. There was nothing really wrong with the story... I just found it boring and hard to get into. Rose's mom is already dead at the start and the snippets that we read about her are too far apart to spark any feelings. (in the beginning, at least)

The rest of the characters were a little flat too. There's Rose, the grieving girl, Dad, the depressed guy, Krupa, the faithful sidekick, Will, the hidden depths guy, an...more
Kristi
I received this book as a First Reads Giveaway.
If there was a half star option, I might have given this 4 1/2 stars, but there isn't and I honestly couldn't put this one down.

The story follows Rose, a sixteen year old girl, as she struggles to come to terms with her mother's death. The different family members and those around them use different techniques to deal with their grief, and overall I found it to be quite realistic. The romance in the novel is measured in pace while still reflecting...more
Melissa
The Survival Kit is the story about Rose coming to terms with her mother passing on from cancer and how she draws strength from the survival kit her mother made for her before dying. Unfortunately, I couldn't relate to Rose's character or her grief. I didn't feel like her grief was convincing enough. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to say that her grief was not real but I did feel that it could have been written better. I did like the way Rose's relationship with her mother was written, and how...more
Zoe and the Edge
Rose is a good character. She's strong and doesn't mope a lot. I liked that her school friends were ready to receive her back into the fold as soon as she became ready. They're really supportive with her.

Krupa is the best friend. She's Indian and I really liked her. She's a fabulous bestie and loyal too. I loved how she navigated around Rose's whims and remembered the monthly anniversaries for Rose's mother's death.

Will is the silent and steady variety. The kind that makes you feel any unnecess...more
Connie
A picture of peonies, a crystal heart, an iPod, a paper star, a box of crayons and a tiny handmade kite made up Rose's Survival Kit - a kit made by her mother before she died in a devastating battle against cancer. Before her mother's death, Rose was a vibrant girl in the center of the school's social scene and dating the popular captain of the football them. Now she is a shell of her former self; quitting cheerleading and ending her rocky relationship with her boyfriend. Her only tie to her for...more
Madison
Wow. Just wow. I feel like there are plenty reviews full of the synopsis. So I'm just going to share my honest opinion about this book. This woman really knows how to write. I could NOT be pulled away from the story. I loved Rose and Will and all her friends and family. The right characters were tangible, and the right ones were just out of reach. It was amazing how the author was able to bring the emotions alive SO wonderfully. I giggled and blushed with Rose, and then I cried my eyes out for R...more
Book Angel
Oh my God! This book is so... I'm not sure how to describe my feelings right now. I finished it yesterday and I'm still speechless. Ms. Freitas writing was so beautiful and this book had my crying several times. It felt like it was my own part of a Survival Kit.

I loved, loved Rose. She was so sweet and I could defintely see why she was so lost and "empty". She was also so caring and was there for her brother and father. Even though I loved Chris, I felt like he was like a rock, weighing her down...more
Jasmin
Eines meiner absoluten Liebelingsbücher! Man kann die Geschichte immer wieder lesen, aufs neue darin versinken und es genießen. Die Liebesgeschichten zwischen Rose und Will hat mich wirklich zutiefst berührt und zwischendurch musste ich ummer wieder weinen. Ein Buch über das Abschiednehmen und vom Neuanfangen.
kb
I am happy to report that this book was nothing you would want to survive from… because that would mean the story was too awful you had to drag-read (there I go inventing words again). And this was not that at all. The writing is realistic, honest and something that feels familiar, like the author has been digging around your chest of feelings and put it into words. I also loved how there were not much of those stereotypes usually found in a grief and/or teen novel and come to think of it, not m...more
Ricki
I loved the pacing of this novel. Freitas revealed just enough to keep me satisfied while wanting more. I found myself thinking about this book every time I put it down--it has such depth. Rose's emotional strength amid the crises in her life was incredibly admirable. I didn't want to finish reading because I was so attached to her! By the end, I was already planning my own survival kits. This is a great, great novel. I would recommend it to all readers. Sarah Dessen lovers will enjoy it, but bo...more
Shannon
So, first review. Here goes:

I definitely enjoyed “The Survival Kit”. It was incredibly sweet and heartfelt. There was a Sarah-Dessen-sized void in my life that I hadn’t even realized needed to be filled, but Donna Freitas did the trick.

Among the cast of characters, Rose, Will, and Krupa felt the most authentic. Rose’s voice was pitch-perfect and while her small town high school experience was so different from what I’ve experienced in high school, her grief was incredibly tangible and her journ...more
Arianne
My love for this book is immeasurable.

One of my favorites for this year!

Rose lost her mother to cancer. After the funeral, Rose finds something unexpected - a survival kit - to cope her mother's death.

I can't find anything wrong with this book. Family dynamic is strong here. Friendship is super strong. The whole cheerleader and football scenario isn't stereotypical at all. Romance is super duper strong. Also, crying is super strong. (I shed tears) And we get Rose's playlist at the end, which i...more
Ifa A. Inziati
After Eleanor & Park, some Gayle Forman's works, and This Song Will Save Your Life, I began to search YA book with music theme on it, and I found this.

The premise is interesting. At the beginning, the author said that it was inspired by her mother which makes it look more intimate and special. I admit I was intrigued.

But somehow, it is not like what I expected. I love the playlist, I love Rose's survival kit, I even love her mother even though she's only in Rose flashback stories. The pace i...more
WJ
Opening Line: I found it on the day of my mother's funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look.

Sixteen year old Rose Madison's mother has recently passed away from cancer and Rose's world falls apart. Before her mother's death she had been a popular cheerleader, dating the captain of the football team and had a close, loving relationship with her brother Jimmy and her parents. After her mother's death, she quits the cheer team, resolves never to step into the football stadium again and her...more
Michelle Sallay
I hardly cry when I read and this book had me in tears on page 3. It isn't really that sad for the rest of it so don't let that keep you from enjoying this one. I was just surprised how fast I cared for Rose and her family.

There are maybe some slower moments and an ill timed flashback (I had to skip it and read it later because I just had to keep reading), but other than that this is a very close to perfect read.

Sweet, clean, and full of swoon. I say you read it.
Nina O'Daniels
I have read my share of cancer books. This is an especially popular theme in YA books- and it should be. I was very pleased that this book handled the situation with realistic moments and family members.

Rose’s mother died after her second round with cancer. She was the glue of the family and a beloved preschool teacher in the small town they live in. After her funeral, Rose finds a survival kit hanging from her favorite dress of her mothers. Survival kits were kind of her thing; she made them f...more
Teathebooklover
The Survival Kit is about 16 year old Rose dealing with the aftermath of her mother's death. Her father is dealing with it by drinking, her brother, Jim is trying his best to keep the family together while Rose is pushing everyone away. Then, one day, Rose finds something she didn't think she'd see again- a survival kit left to her by her mother. It is through this survival kit that Rose begins to learn how to deal with saying goodbye to her mom as well as how to finally start moving on.

This bo...more
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Donna was born in Rhode Island and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain.

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More about Donna Freitas...
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“Why is it that when we lose something big, we begin to lose everything else along with it?” 16 likes
“It's difficult to stop trying with the one you love. You always hope that this next time might work, might change everything for the better.” 11 likes
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