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Perfect Escape

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,130 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendr
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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2012 YA Contemporaries
78th out of 308 books — 2,624 voters
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76th out of 214 books — 1,328 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 19, 2012 Giselle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, own, contemporary
Road trip books can go from kookie to serious to fun to depressing. Perfect Escape is a beautiful story that has the perfect blend of happy and sad, leaving us with a heartfelt tale about a girl trying to escape her life, and, hopefully, her brother's OCD.

Overshadowed by her brother's illness her whole life, Kendra is struggling to achieve perfection. She's become an overachiever so that she can balance out Grayson's imperfection. We don't notice Kendra's crumbling mental state at first. She's s
Aug 09, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: teens, ala, arc
I liked this book a lot, but I didn't absolutely love it. It's a character-driven story that's all about the journey. The characters are interesting and sympathetic. I really liked the sibling relationship. I would certainly recommend it to teens.

I think what kept me from completely loving it was Kendra's back-and-forth about understanding herself and her brother. Periodically, she has a revelation about one of them, but then seems to revert back to previous thinking. Then comes another revelat
Jul 05, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
Thousands of miles of bad road! This story of a sister and an OCD brother running away after the sister is caught cheating is tiresome. The sister complains and feels sorry for herself for over 300 pages. The book also does not feel the need to resolve any of the problems in the end. It's just painfully bad.
Michelle Arrow
*4.5 star rating*

Jennifer Brown,

Okay, I'm obviously kidding (but I bet you didn't know I was) but this book seriously was gorgeous and was such a special read and something powerful and unique. I recommend this to any lover of Sarah Dessen, or just to someone looking for a heart-clenching contemporary-fiction book.

Summary: Kendra is hiding something, and is waiting to not be caught. She cheated on an exam, and did much more than you could think of. She's living a difficult life- having t
Sep 05, 2012 Brittany rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
Having read a lot of roadtrip novels this summer, this was by far my least favorite. I had a difficult time connecting with most of the characters and found myself not really caring what happened to them. I wish Jennifer Brown would rewrite this and turn it into Rena's story instead.
Jul 25, 2015 Abby rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is probably one of the most realistic representations of a sibling relationship that I've ever seen. Kendra and her brother, Grayson, are so real. Their relationship is flawed. They live in each others' shadows. They criticize each other and mock each other and tear each other to pieces. The fact that Grayson has OCD makes it all the more interesting, causing even more challenges that the two of them have to overcome. And they do overcome them. They overcome them together, and I love them f ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ellen-s-reviews
Having read Torn Away by Jennifer Brown, I expected much of Perfect Escape. I wasn't disappointed at all. Kendra, needing to be perfect to compensate for her brother's mental difficulties, has to do something desperate to remain perfect.

Despite the fact that this book isn't a suspense laden, adrenalin inducing read, I couldn't put it down. The magic of this story is all in the brilliantly crafted characters.

At first Kendra appears to be somewhat insecure, living in the shadow of her brother, Gra
Kendras Leben wird durch den an Zwangsstörungen leidenden Bruder Grayson bestimmt, ihre Reaktion darauf ist, möglichst perfekt zu sein, vor allem in der Schule notfalls mit Betrug. Ihr Kartenhaus droht einzustürzen, als ihre Schummelei in der Schule auffliegt und in ihrer Panik flieht sie mit dem schlafenden Bruder auf dem Beifahrersitz in Richtung Kalifornien.

Die Charaktere haben mir gut gefallen, vor allem Grayson war toll! Seine Schrulligkeit und sein Humor kommen wunderbar rüber. Mit Kendra
Tadashi Hamada
Meh. There wasn't anything much to this novel. Kendra wasn't anything special or interesting; if anything, she was sort of unlikeable and boring, like I wasn't invested in her character at all. Most of the 350+ pages of the book consisted of their road trip, and even then, nothing much happened except for a few flashbacks. They met a girl named Rena at the first motel they stayed at and eventually took her with them, which ended up being pointless. (view spoiler) ...more
I'm a little rusty on review writing. I've been taking a break, and picking a book I want to gush about as my first review back was probably a bad idea - but it does deserve a bit of gushing. Not to be all clichéd or anything, but this book really was a perfect escape from heavy and over complicated stories and stressful real-life. While Kendra was at times very young and selfish, I loved her voice. It was a really touching story, especially with all the sibling interactions – I just adored it a ...more
May 20, 2012 Suzanne rated it liked it
Perfection really is a sort of link between sister Kendra and older brother Grayson. She has veered towards overachievement in large part to compensate for his extreme OCD. While he stops trips to Grandma's at Christmas with total screaming breakdowns in the car because he can't handle their driving on overpasses, she moves closer and closer to the top of her class, even when they both lose their perfect neighbor Zoe. Kendra's best friend and Grayson's first love. Her parents can't stand weirdo ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Jodie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This is my first novel that I have read by Jennifer Brown and it leaves me with the strong desire to find her other novels and bury myself deep into them. Perfect Escape first caught my attention due to the fact that it deals with the main characters brother having OCD and how she struggles to deal with it. I have a close family member who struggles with OCD and refuses to take medicine. It isn't easy dealing with someone with this disorder. It makes it hard for the people around them, and I can ...more
Mickey Reed
Sep 24, 2012 Mickey Reed rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2012, ala12
See full review here!

I received this ARC at ALA2012. Here's my honest review:

Something about this didn't connect all the way with me. I still enjoyed it and read most of it in one sitting, but I didn't feel it 100%. I did like that it was really different from most YA novels I've read lately. There was no real love story, let alone a triangle. It's a road trip story, but it's also kind of a runaway story. And there were layers to this one. It isn't just what's on the surface. The book isn't supe
Originally posted at

**This review is based on an Advance Readers Copy (thank you so much, Jennifer!! <3)**

Perfect Escape is touching, heartwarming, and poignant... I LOVED Jennifer Brown’s latest novel! It actually brought tears to my eyes... but in the best way possible. After reading this, I felt sad, happy and really grateful that I was privileged enough to read this amazing novel before it is released. Thank you, Jennifer! <3

It’s a story about siblings, and family
Mar 01, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Grade: C

Perfect, good girl Kendra, four weeks before graduation, is about to get caught as the ringleader in a cheating scandal. She grabs her brother Grayson, who has debilitating OCD and is fresh out of a psych hospital, and they take to the road. The plan is to drive cross country to see her best friend Zoe, whose parents moved her to California to get away from Grayson. Along the way they pick up a young mother and her infant. California or bust.

The Good:
-Kendra, Grayson and Rena were intere
May 17, 2016 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Kendra has always felt the pressure to be perfect, as she stands in the shadow of her older brother Grayson. His severe OCD has resulted in numerous hospitalizations and has completely disrupted the entire household. When Kendra's carefully constructed life starts to crumble, she takes a lesson from her older brother and escapes the situation. Taking her brother with her, Kendra begins a journey that she hopes will help Grayson and herself as well.

As far as realistic YA fiction goes, Perfect Esc
Aug 15, 2012 Justin rated it it was amazing
Perfect Escape was just the book that I needed to break me out of the little slump I was having. I've not read any of other of Jennifer's books, but she did such an amazing job writing Perfect Escape. It's so real, and it really draws you in and you form such a deep connection with the characters. I was actually really surprised with how amazing it turned out to be.

The story is so heartwarming, while being very simple. Kendra and Grayson take a trip to California, for multiple reasons. One of wh
Jenni Arndt
Nov 30, 2012 Jenni Arndt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-own
As we all know, I am a sucker for a good contemporary story. I am also a proven lover of Jennifer Brown; her writing is beautiful and I always find her novels heartbreaking and yet uplifting. So when I saw Perfect Escape, I knew it was one I had to get my hands on.

I'm always on the lookout for a novel that will pull at my heartstrings, and at the center of achieving that lies great characters. In each of the novels by Brown I have read I became friends with the characters. I haven't come across
Farah Jay
Jul 14, 2012 Farah Jay rated it really liked it
Perfect Escape is a very different "realistic fiction" than the most ones I read out there. Kendra, the main protagonist, is always overshadowed by her older brother; Grayson, because of his OCD. Kendra's parents always have to pay extra attention to Grayson because they're always worried something might cause him to get obsessive too much. Because of this, Kendra thinks that she has to be the "perfect" child in order to make up for Grayson's abnormality. One day, Kendra gets herself into a huge ...more
Once Upon a Twilight
Sep 17, 2012 Once Upon a Twilight rated it it was ok
The cover and title of this book seemed to me as though the story would be about a couple of teenagers taking a road trip and having some life-changing experiences along the way. In reality, I guess the author must have been shooting for that but, in my opinion, the story just fell short. We are introduced to siblings, Kendra and Grayson. Kendra is an honor student that can do no wrong and is suddenly caught up in a cheating scandal at school. Grayson is her older brother who suffers from severe ...more
Katy Jane
Nov 08, 2012 Katy Jane rated it really liked it
I loved this book but not as much as her first two. Mainly because it was lacking romance which through me off since the other two had it.
1. The most interesting part of the book to me was Rena. I'm not quite sure why she was in the story, but I liked her. Her backstory with men, her current situation with Archie, and her personality were intriguing. Maybe she was in the book so Grayson could see that he could be a little normal? Or that Kendra's problems didn't seem so bad after all?
2. I have
Aug 06, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it
Somewhere between a 2.5 and a 3.

Kendra always feels like she lives in the shadow of her brother Grayson, but more specifically, she felt like she lives in the shadow of his OCD. She puts pressure on herself to be Miss Perfect, so much so it causes her to get involved in some risky business at school. When she's near to being caught for her actions, she takes her brother and runs away from it. Hits the road to escape. But on the trip, she learns so much more about herself and her brother than she
Jul 12, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Jennifer Brown has been one of my favorite YA authors since her first publication. She takes on tough subject matter but with enough tact to hand it to even a younger teenager without insulting an older reader.

Of the many books on obsessive compulsive disorder, this is the first book written specifically for the sibling of the squeaky wheel. While Grayson suffers mightily with his OCD, settles into the identified "sick" family member, accepts the enabling parents help, cringes at the oversimplif
Evie Janelle
May 08, 2013 Evie Janelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2013
From Blue Butterfly Books.

Rating: 4.3/5

I love Jennifer Brown. Her first book, Hate List, blew me away so much, I was feeling and crying for days afterwords. Even now, I'm like, "Man, that book," whenever I think about it. With Bitter End, I enjoyed it, but not as much as Hate List, and I'm afraid that's the same for this one as well. I enjoyed it. I very, very much enjoyed this book, so don't think I didn't for one second just because it didn't live up to Hate List. Jennifer Brown set such an in
Aug 02, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Siblings. They're your closest genetic relative. You love them. You hate them. You wish they would "shut the hell up and go away". Yet when someone else hurts them, it's on. But imagine what it's like to have a sibling whose behavior controls your life. You can't take family vacations because of panic-induced freak outs. Your best friend's family moves across the country to get her away from the "crazy" boyfriend who also happens to be your brother. You aim for perfection to ease the worried str ...more
Silverina La Mees

Yet another book of Jennifer Brown that was about nothing. Though this was much less about nothing than Bitter End.
I hate books where the protagonist isn't succesful in obtaining her goal. Where the purpose of a journey is gone. Where - instead of the protagonist landing on the last page in a heap of succes/happiness/something close to that - she lands on the ground from the same place she jumped. (She doesn't even have to land in succes - just make her --- I don't know! How c
Emma Oreste
Oct 06, 2014 Emma Oreste rated it it was amazing
It's not interesting at first, but when you get deeper into it It becomes better. I liked the ending because she chose her brother over her old best friend Zoe. In my words I will say Zoe is a fake best friend she forgot her own best friend when she promised Kendra that she wouldn't forget abut her but she did, and at the end Zoe is going to text back, and ask Kendra if she still in Cali. why didn't Zoe just come out and talk to Kendra and her brother Grayson , and ask how they are doing but ins ...more
Molly Grimmius
May 17, 2013 Molly Grimmius rated it it was ok
I'm not sure if I'm just a little sick of young adult lit at the moment and need an adult break, but I just didn't love this book.

The plot moved SO slowly at times...which is why I skimmed. I did really appreciate the flashbacks because some of them didn't really advance the plot they just furthered explained what we already knew.

Also did not like the main character and her reason for fleeing was little week. Yes, cheating is bad, but really that is why you are running away. I also didn't appr
May 29, 2015 Toni rated it liked it
This story is about a journey. Kendra and her brother, Grayson who suffers from OCD, take a road trip to California. Both are trying to escape their own demons and imperfections, they learn a lot about themselves, while deepening their relationship. I enjoyed this quick YA read.
Apr 22, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I was able to fly through this one! Though this lacked a deep, personal connection, I will always admire Brown's ability to write about very difficult issues with both poise and accuracy. Review coming this fall.
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Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfec
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