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The Survival Kit

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,888 ratings  ·  406 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
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,888 ratings  ·  406 reviews

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Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: swoooon
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
Norah Una Sumner
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Norah by: goodreads I guess
Everyone knows there isn’t a cure—your brain absorbs this unconsciously from ads you see on television and all those races for the cure that people sponsor. But when someone you love is diagnosed, all rationality disappears. You think there has to be exceptions to this rule, and I wanted Dr. Stellar to tell us that Mom was one of these.

As someone who lost a parent after a horrible battle to cancer,I completely enjoyed in this amazing book.For the last couple of months I've been reading fantas
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-enjoyed
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
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
♥ Sarah
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

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
Dec 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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 trie ...more
Steph Su
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As always: 5/5 stars or even more if it would be possible 🌟
I just finished it and now I‘m sitting here on my bed, crying. Yes, I love this book a lot.
There has never been a book I felt ALL the emotions whilst reading. I was angry, I cringed, I laughed, I cried. And everything in between.
This story is something so special and unique for me. Rose‘s journey finding back to life after the death of her mother, reconnecting with old friends, coping with a family grieving in the different ways, findin
Reread: March 2015

I picked this back up randomly because I wanted to see if my rating would change but nope, it's still a 4.5-5 star read for me. I still have the songs from this book in my playlist, and I still cried at the same spots I remember crying at the first time (me and my paper heart). I love the idea of the Survival Kit, and watching Rose navigate her way through her grief from losing her mother with the things she left her.

Still a fab read.

Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
It was cute and all but I got bored halfway through and just wanted to get it over with.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd give it a 4.5 because it was really cute and I needed a sweet and easy read right now. I loved how the titles of chapters were her playlist and how everything connected so flawlessly. It really sent your emotions on a twisting rollercoaster of a ride. ...more
jelly frogs
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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
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
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
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
Three and one half stars. Mild spoiler alert: I loved the concept of the creative "survival kits" and I'm sorry Jim's wasn't more integrated into the story. The characters are relatable and sympathetic, especially hockey star Will. My only quibble is that I think even a seven year old would have understood why Will couldn't go to the hospital with Rose near the end. It's impossible for me to believe that Rose didn't.

This book is partly about the power of music to heal and support the listener. B
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, library, ya
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
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 06, 2019 added it
Imagine if you lost your mom in high school. Could you survive? Rose is about to find out if she can. The Survival kit follows Rose’s story after her mom passes away. When she finds the survival kit her mother left her she sets off on a mind adventure to figure out what it all means. Rose’s best friend becomes my favorite character because she reminds me of my friends all in one. She encourages her to talk about memories of her mom to help her. This remind me of my friends who let me tell them a ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up

ALL the feels for this book! I was swooning over the love interest, and I really felt for Rose and all that she went through. I loved her brother and grandmother. I went into this book with fairly average expectations and ended up really loving it. It was well written, and seemed to be a realistic portrayal of grief. I’m glad I picked it up!
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ive read " the survival kit " it was amazing ive enjoyed it and it was 5 stars ,, but a scene changed that ,, so i guess 4 out of 5 ...more
Laura Davidoff
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
exactly the book I needed right now💕
if you ever feel down: read this✨
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the book in some ways, but I wouldn’t say it was the best book I have ever read. To be honest the only reason I read this book was for the romance (guilty pleasure). I would recommend this book if you want a short read. This book is 351 pages long, so not that long.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on hello, chelly.


The good: I should probably just say this now - I LOVED THIS BOOK. I started it late on a Saturday night and pretty much refused to sleep until I had finished. By the end, I was this teary (yet happy) mess of emotions. I don't know about you but I love books that make me feel this way. I think it's a testament to an author's writing if s/he can move you to tears or to laugh out loud. Donna Freitas definitely accomplishes that. Her writing is beautiful but s
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
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