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Perfect Escape

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,502 ratings  ·  309 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, Ken
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,502 ratings  ·  309 reviews

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Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, own
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
Quick review for quick read. So a few confessions on my read of "Perfect Escape" - I read this book in a matter of a 2 hour marathon reading session and it was a random read I picked up from my library. I loved the other books I'd read from Jennifer Brown, so "Perfect Escape" was a definite pick up for me for the author as well as the promise of a roadtrip family story with coming of age leanings and a character with a disability (OCD).

Yet, the story itself didn't hit me as hard as I would've li
Aug 09, 2012 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
Michelle Wrona
*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- havin
Jun 27, 2012 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. ...more
Jul 18, 2012 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. ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a good book, made me laugh, cry and reinforce we don't always have to be perfect. Kendra is used to everyone treating her brother differently because he has "difficulties" being OCD. She has always acted as perfectly as she can to make up for the trouble her parents have with her brother. When her world comes crashing down around her, she finds her brother counting again and decides to take a road trip with him and fix him. Only she doesn't "fix" him, but she does fix their relationship ...more
"Perfect Escape" by Jennifer Brown is another fantastic read. I'm starting to believe that woman can't do anything wrong when it comes to writing.
Just as with her other books, she isn't scared to pick up a difficult topic in this book and doesn't shy away of showing flawed characters, people who make mistakes and who aren't always good. And an ending that is fitting to the story and not forced into a happily ever after mold.
And that's why I loved it. I loved the rawness of the emotions, I love
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
Jan 16, 2013 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
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 -the b
May 13, 2012 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
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
Jul 27, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2012 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
Mickey Reed
Jun 26, 2012 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
Jun 26, 2015 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have read other Jennifer Brown books and been pleasantly surprised at how much I liked them. I purchased several of her others because I trusted her as an author. As I started this one, I remembered that it was a YA book and wondered if it would keep my interest. It did! She has a way of writing a story that makes you want to keep reading. Yes, I was reminded of siblings and road trips and best friends and everything else in between. I am a Jennifer Brown fan, for sure!
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2018
I really liked this - Kendra was a brilliant character and I loved Grayson, despite his OCD. I also just automatically love any book with a road trip, so there was that.
Evie Janelle
May 06, 2013 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
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
Jenni Arndt
Jun 29, 2012 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
Jun 14, 2012 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
Farah Jay
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
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
Feb 21, 2012 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
Jul 12, 2012 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
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Jennifer Brown is an author with so much talent. I read Perfect Escape in a few hours, and completely and utterly fell in love with the sibling relationship between Kendra and Grayson. I’m the oldest of eight, and it’s not very often that the dynamics between siblings is so perfectly captured.

This isn’t a typical road trip novel, it’s a mix of happy and sad. It felt real though. Grayson was a sweetheart and he really cared about Kendra. I loved him from the first
Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash, read-2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
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
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Perfect Escape 1 1 Feb 07, 2020 12:09PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Book About Girl and Her Autistic Brother [s] 3 26 Mar 18, 2014 06:20PM  
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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 "Perfect Te

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