Perfect Escape
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Perfect Escape

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,306 ratings  ·  204 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, Kendra
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithMy Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickEasy by Tammara WebberGraffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
2012 YA Contemporaries
79th out of 279 books — 2,424 voters
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2012 YA Contemporary Challenge!
76th out of 213 books — 1,279 voters

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Community Reviews

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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...more
Aug 09, 2012 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: teens, arc, ala
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...more
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 to...more
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...more
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...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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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...more
Jan 16, 2013 Abby rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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.
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.
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...more
Jenni Arndt
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...more
Alexandra Middleton
Wow, I just realised this is the first book I've read in AGES without an element of romance in it. That's impressive.
Anyway, I seem to have a soft spot for road trip novels recently. It's the summer air getting to me - this is three in a row that I've torn through.
I absolutely adored Perfect Escape. I was skimming reviews on Goodreads and people didn't seem to be giving it very high ratings, but I just thought almost everything about it was perfect. After reading Hate List, I couldn't wait to...more
Farah Jay
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
Katy Jane
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...more
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...more
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...more
Evie Janelle
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...more
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...more
Perfect Escape is a novel that tackles mental illness from a different viewpoint. Namely, it focuses on how it affects the family as a whole. The main character in the novel, Kendra, has dealt with her older brother's OCD for her whole life. While her parents focus their attention on helping their son, Grayson, by sending him to different therapists and doctors, Kendra tries to hold her family together by being "the perfect daughter." But, as she discovers, being perfect isn't all it's cracked u...more
Oh gosh 6 freaking stars!!!

Maybe you think the reason is ridiculous.
Maybe you think this story is very boring, no love story like…lover or something like that.
And maybe you think this book is not worth it.

But for me, this book, PERFECT.
I don't need a book about romance-kiss-hug blah blah, but I got a perfect story about life, responsibility, and family.
This book was beyond great. I really loved it.
Also this book taught me lots of wonderful words and that I could do anything that I set my mind t...more
I knew this was going to be a tricky read. I've yet to read a novel from the point of view of someone who is living with someone with mental illness, so I expected to either feel empathy or to feel blood boiling anger at the protagonist. What I didn't expect was to feel a bit of both. Kenda has grown up aware of her brother Grayson's severe OCD. As a result of this, she is filled with resentment towards her brother and is forced into believing that she must be perfect in order to make up for wha...more
I’ve come to realise that Jennifer Brown writes books about issues. So far, I’ve read Hate List and Bitter End and both were about controversial issues. Perfect Escape is about a boy who is suffering with OCD and the impact it has on his family. It also explores the sibling relationship really well. I thought Perfect Escape was a touching and poignant story. It’s character driven and thought-provoking. It really made me appreciate how straight forward life is without OCD.

As I mentioned, the char...more
Didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did. It provided a neat glimpse into OCD, didn't give a happy ending to Kendra's problems (which I liked), and is a great book for siblings to read. Thanks San for giving me this ARC. Hope you get to enjoy it in the future!
Adriana Bayless
I've read most of Jennifer Brown's books and this one sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up. Perfect Escape follows Kendra who is a senior in high-school. She is struggling with her math class and decides to cheat. Then rumors going around at school about a cheating scandal and Kendra becomes anxious. She is scared about getting caught so she decides to head to the quarry, a place where her brother Grayson is known for spending his time just counting rocks. Kendra shows up at the quarry...more
Part road trip, part sibling competition, and part about a character with a disability or condition-- Kendra's brother, Grayson, has suffered from OCD, which means he's been the center of attention as he goes in and out of treatment facilities and they find him three miles from home counting rocks in the quarry. Kendra has always been the perfect and dutiful daughter who doesn't draw attention to herself because there's much more going on with Grayson-- until she cheats on a test and people star...more
Better than BITTER END, not as good as HATE LIST. Felt like the end wrapped up too fast, too.
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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...more
More about Jennifer Brown...
Hate List Bitter End Thousand Words Torn Away Say Something: A Hate List Novella

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