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How to Be Brave

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  202 reviews
An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.

Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do b
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by St. Martin's Press
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Rachael I was confused about that also. I had a hard time picturing Georgia as overweight because I pictured her like the girl on the cover.
Zachary ehhhh... the novel is somewhat explicit... some swear words are there, a bit of nudity, and that's it.

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Average rating 3.45  · 
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Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
The Contents of a Generic "Bucket List" Book How to Be Brave

1. A "damaged" or emotionally unstable heroine. At first, I kind of adored how Georgia was really pushing herself to think positively and to pull herself up--she was that way for the entirety of the book. She does a lot of body-shape shaming, though. She shames on both skinny girls and weighty girls. At some point I just wanted to shove myself into the book to tell her that no one's perfect!

2. "Quirky" best friends to join in the bucket
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

How to Be Brave is a book I was really looking forward to, because I’ve grown to love books that have to-do lists. They’re an easy way of implementing a fun plot and create character growth. Georgia, the main character in this novel, needs her to-do list as a way to start living, a promise she made on her mother’s deathbed. Try everything, do everything, and live your life. That’s the tagline for Georgia’s Live Life list, which includes things such as “get high”, “go skinny-dipping”, “j
Evelyn (devours and digests words)
How To Be Brave is a heart-warming debut that tackles down what normal teenagers face nowadays: insecurities, bullying, but most of all this is a book about self-discovery and finding the courage to speak out, stand out and do shit you thought you'd never, no chance in hell, would ever do. Like sky-diving from a plane, for example.

I mostly avoid contemporary because most of the time, the books in the genre captured reality so well that it scares me. I love being ignorant, see. And the idea
E. Kottaras
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My father passed away when I was seventeen, and my mother passed away when I was thirty. My daughter was ten months old when my mother died, and I found myself sandwiched between the death of my best friend and the presence of this new life. It was a dark and confusing time – I wanted to drown in my grief but also knew I had to keep myself afloat for the sake of my new baby. That’s when I turned to writing. On my darkest days, my husband would tell me t
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.)

“The Do Everything Be Brave List
In no particular order
Dedicated to Diana Askeridis”

This was a really good coming-of-age story, and I really liked Georgia.

Georgia was a girl who I could relate to; she was overweight and unhappy, and not brave enough to wear an orange dress that she loved. She was bullied, and had to cope with that as well as the death of her mother,
Paula M
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Wow, you are annoying.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

This was a very sweet young adult novel. Georgia doesn't want to go back to school. It's her senior year, her mom died just a few months ago, she's over weight and picked on, so she just isn't looking forward to dealing with these things so soon after her mother's death.

She has a best friend named Liss that has her back and takes up for her when she is bullied.


I love Georgia's character though because even though all of this is going on, she
Copy received through NetGalley.

Review on my blog illbefinealonereads

Update (Sept. 4th 2016): For some reason I have only put the link to the review (why am I lying with 'some reason', I used to do this at the beginning), so here is the review I wrote then:

Laced with interesting poems, colorful characters, and a story like you haven’t read before, How to Be Brave is the next big YA book. I expect you all to include it on your to-read list. You’re going to love Georgia’s journey towards self-
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ugly-cry, ya

After Georgia's mom dies - she creates a list of ways to be brave. There are things she's always been afraid to do but decides it's time to start taking some chances. When her list leads her into situations she wasn't expecting, Georgia finds out how strong she is and how brave she really is.

This was such an emotional YA story. There are so many issues addressed in this book from bullying, suicide, death and drugs. I knew this was an emotional book going into it, just from reading the descri
How to Be Brave is a celebration of life, from the captivating open page to the emotional ending. Kottaras acutely and poetically depicts the painful struggle of re-finding yourself after a defining loss—and the stark effects of both success and failure along the way—in a lovely, heartfelt debut.

You can tell that's what I think because I blurbed it, and that's what I said ;)

As someone who went through the process of watching a parent dying*, this book resonated with me so strongly. At the risk
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
I really liked the idea of this, so I was eager to see how it all played out.

I liked Georgia well enough. I loved the idea of trying something new and being spontaneous. Liss and Daniel and Evelyn were all decent characters, but everyone seemed a bit clichéd. I wanted to fall in love with these characters and root for them to the very end and that didn't happen.

My main complaint was that I wasn't a huge fan of how her friends acted in the second half of the story. What happened and what is imp
Lia Angelidou
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Arc kindly provided by the publisher, via netGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

It takes courage to become an adult. You have to be brave in order to survive the teenage years but we all grow up at some point, right? In this book, we follow Georgia’s struggling journey to adulthood.

Writing Style

I love first person POV when used properly and when th
Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm
Self-consciousness, self-esteem, fear, pain, suffering, deceit, denial, bullies, death. All her life, Georgia lived in these spheres. Fifteen years later, she decided to wake up and live again. A truly moving book that will eventually make you believe that there is still a second chance in life and love.

I ended up ugly-crying, hanky-sniffing and eyes-bawling with this book, so emotional and heartbreaking. You'd think this is another story about fulfilling bucket lists. Let me tell you, there's
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras follows Georgia on her journey of grief, finding herself, and surviving her senior year of high school. After her beloved mother passes away after battling with multiple health problems, Georgia decides to follow her mother’s advice and learn to be brave. She creates a list of fifteen things she’s always been afraid to do and begins to check them off one by one. Tribal dance? Ask out her biggest crush? Try out for cheerleading? Naturally, things don’t nec ...more
Joood Hooligan
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting into when I signed up to review this book. I signed up for a YA Debut tour and was matched up with this one, so I decided to give it a go and read it. I rarely read synopses for reviews anymore, but I gave it a quick glance over and it looked like it would be interesting.

And it was.

This was a heavy read for me. Not that it was depressing or what have
Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.

4.5 stars

In many ways, How to be Brave wasn’t what I was expecting. Despite the synopsis, the cutesie cover made me think it would be light and fluffy, so a lot of it really surprised me. It was more mature than I expected, while still managing to really capture the feeling of being a teen. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, sweet, funny, and ultimately hopeful.

I really liked Georgia. She had a great voice and she was easy to connect to. She
Meredith Tate
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
**I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review**

"It's the first time I've mentioned my mom in a while. I know it. Liss knows it. She's always here and never here."

Every once in a while I come across a book that really resonates with me. Not often, but sometimes. This was one of those books for me. Told in first person, with bits in verse, HOW TO BE BRAVE is a quiet YA about a high school senior named Georgia trying to move on and figure out her life in the wake of her moth
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc

Quick Points about How to Be Brave

- Characterizations
The characters in How to Be Brave were very difficult at times. I didn't feel like they were as well-fleshed out as they could have been. It frustrated me because I was unable to connect with the characters in any way. Georgia, the protagonist, came across as emotionless, despite her battling with the grief of having just lost her mother. I didn't think that her emotions and feelings were written in a way that touches readers. Instead, by
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
You can see the original review on my blog at http://www.forwardsandbookwords.wordp...
I had so many mixed feelings about this book. I honestly don’t even know where to start.
The book has a very basic plot. In order to take her mind off the tragic end to her mother’s life, our protagonist decides to make somewhat of a bucket list in order to help herself live her life to the fullest sinc
WTF Are You Reading?
It is very true that How To Be Brave is a very well written, and at times extremely poignant 'coming of age' story that deals with a whole host of issues in the life of 17-year old, Georgia Askeridis. It is also true that said story does an excellent job of putting its reader in the heart and mind of its brave, emotionally intelligent, and sensitive heroine.

The Problem(s)?

The List
The plain truth of the matter is that there is truly no need for this list.
It does nothing to enhance Georgia's conn
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is yet another books which is centralized on a kind of bucket list. While I haven't read Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, I'm pretty sure that book was about some kind of bucket list, too. A book I reviewed earlier, 18 Things, also featured a bucket list.

Now you might see where I'm going with this. I'm a bit tired of contemporaries that have the same kind of plot point. It kind of takes away the originality of the book, and honestly, I couldn't care less about whether the protagonis
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
An ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This review contains spoilers (a lot) Read it on your own rick

(view spoiler)
Kelly Hager
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't know what it is but I am drawn to books about grief. I also love books that focus on friendship and ones that focus on personal growth. (I like character arcs, basically.) And so a book that does all three? YES PLEASE.

And honestly, I love Georgia. I love her so, so much. She's a plus-sized lady (and in high school, so God love her for that) and she doesn't really focus on her weight. She is okay with the fact that she has curves and she never really obsesses about it. She wants to lose a
Halston Seabolt
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, loved this book. I could totally relate with Georgia. Not with the losing her mother, but with the weight. I wasn't exactly obese but I was overweight for my age and height. I still struggle with my weight today. I really loved that this book touched on that. I personally haven't read my YA books that deal with this subject very much. I felt so proud of her for doing all the things that scared her. To actually finding her voice and telling people what she needed to say to them. Hav ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Just to be clear, this is a teen book. I was pleasantly suprised with this book. It deals with a girl who has just lost her mother. It goes into her dealing with the death while trying to keep the promises she made to her as she was dying. It deals with high school drama and the pressure to fit in. I loved the external characters in this book and loved the way they interacted with each other. I think the subject matter was spot on and dealt with in a nice and uplifting way. I would definitely re ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Read the ARC from Netgalley so I didn't really notice how off the cover is until now but that girl is WAY smaller than the main character is described! I was also annoyed by the fact that Georgia's personal growth coincides with weight loss. But Georgia likes herself and even though she's bullied she doesn't internalize it and that made up a bit for some of the other flaws in how the book deals with the character's weight.
Allison B.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
In How to be Brave at first I liked it, it was just a normal girl trying to overcome her fears with her friend. But, then it gets really out of hand, with sex and a lot of drugs. The end, yes held a great message but in the middle of the book... I could have lived without reading it. I might choose to read this again if I couldn't find anything else I kind of liked.
Isabel (The Reader & The Chef)
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
How to Be Brave is a captivating and emotional book that I enjoyed reading. However, I must confess that I had contradictory opinions while I was reading. It started really well and I really liked the MC, but then there were parts inside the story about her that didn't sit well with me. I still think it was a great book.

Georgia (the MC) starts the story with the difficult task of learning to live without her mom after she passed away. She is determined to live a good life in honor of her mother'
Kyley Johnson
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This book has a very moving story. It is full of drama and characters that are easy to become attached to. Its a very light read and an overall good story.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
Torn between 3.5 stars and 4 stars.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The pacing was sometimes strange, and there were moments where I had trouble believing that a person in a certain situation would actually behave the way they did in the book. Also, I expected this book to be more of a journey, and that's my main issue with it. It felt to me that the main touchstones set up at the beginning of the book (weight/body, grief, bravery/the bucket list) were picked up and put down at odd moments,
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E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, but now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true.

She is the auth

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“But being brave isn't about living every minute exhilarated. It's about waking up and knowing that despite the worry and the sadness and the deep, dark fear, you're going to go forth anyway. That you're going to try anyway. That you have a choice, and you're going to choose to live, today, bravely.” 3 likes
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