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The Best Possible Answer

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AP exams—check
SAT test—check
College application—check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for—check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks a private picture of her to the entire school—a picture only he was supposed to see. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2016

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About the author

E. Katherine Kottaras

2 books96 followers
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 author of the YA contemporary novel, HOW TO BE BRAVE (2015) and the forthcoming THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER (2016), both from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen.

Praise for HOW TO BE BRAVE:
“Georgia’s realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc. A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.” Kirkus Reviews

“Kottaras’s debut traces Georgia’s struggles and triumphs as she reluctantly sets out to fulfill her mother’s final wish for her to try new things and be fearless. Georgia’s Greek-American heritage offers a distinctive backdrop for the novel’s themes of emotional healing and self-discovery, while Georgia herself emerges as a realistically flawed and genuine protagonist.” –Publishers Weekly

“The book’s strongest sections are the lyrical flashbacks that tell the story of her mother’s life and death, but Georgia’s struggles with weight and body image are also handled with care. A perfect book for anyone trying to figure out what they want their life to look like, and how to be brave enough to make that life a reality.” —Booklist

If you have questions or would like to contact her directly, please visit her at ekatwrites.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 189 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,725 reviews1,277 followers
February 17, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley.)

“I will not fail.
Not again.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl who had sent nude pictures to an ex-boyfriend and had them published publicly.

Viviana was an okay character, and I could understand why she was so against having another relationship after her last one ended so badly, but the way she kept telling her best friend that it was alright to go after a boy who wasn’t interested in her (he was interested in Viviana), seemed like asking for trouble.

The storyline in this was about Viviana taking a summer job at the local pool with her best friend Sammie, and hanging out with Evan, the boy she had had her first kiss with when she was younger. We got a bit of a mystery over what was going on with Viviana’s father, and Viviana being quite anti-relationship after her ex-boyfriend posted naked pictures of her online. Because of this the romance side of the story was quite slow, and we even got a bit of a triangle when Viviana kept telling her best friend to go after Evan instead!

The ending to this was pretty good, although the truth about what Viviana’s father was up to was quite shocking.

7 out of 10
Profile Image for Amanda.
196 reviews45 followers
November 3, 2016
I would like to thank St. Martin's Press & E. Katherine Kottaras for my copy of the ARC.

I loved the cover for this book and with the promise of coming of age with a slight romance in the mix, I thought it would be for me. While it was an ok read plus I read it in a couple of hours it didn't blow me away, so due to this, I would have to give two and a half stars.

Viv is obsessed with being perfect, with her parents breathing down her neck to always hit perfect grades and make good life choices, suddenly she finds herself lost. With a scandal involving her ex-boyfriend and some x-rated pictures brings her world tumbling down the only person she can trust is her best friend. After she has a small accident causing her to have a blackout due to stress her parents decide she is to take it easy this summer instead of the time away she had planned, so when her bestie gets Viv a job with her at their apartment complex pool for summer it's going to be fun... right?

I feel there was too much happening in the book too quick for it to be so short, plus I would never do what Viv did to her best friend, really? Would you risk a friendship of a lifetime for someone you don't know You knew what was going to happen there instantly as the story progressed. As for everything else it was just a bit all over the place, I don't get why some parts were even put in the book. I did love the parts where they would make up stories about their neighbours, myself and my friends used to do this when we were younger which brings back some hilarious memories.

I didn't really connect with any of the characters, yeah they were cute and preppy but they never made an imprint on me which is a shame. I feel that Viv's parents were completely out of order, I don't know if it's because I'm so close to both my mum and dad and they always just want me to be happy. As for the x-rated pictures, most people and have been there and done it, it's the type of world we live in today so I totally felt her pain even though it hasn't happened to me but a similar occurrence has graced my presence in my younger years.

I'm glad that I read the book as I wasn't disappointed, it just wasn't for me, but I can see why people would like. Young romance readers would love this!

Please check out my blog www.amandaminnockx.tumblr.com

"I can't delete my past," I say to Sammie one night we are packing up her stuff. "He either excepts me as I am -nudie pics and all- or he doesn't, and then I don't need him in my life."
"It's glad to see you finally owning it," Sammie says, laughing. "Nudie pics and all. That's awesome."

Profile Image for Hristina.
515 reviews77 followers
September 6, 2016
Ever since I read How To Be Brave last autumn, I have been waiting for Mrs. Kottaras' next novel, and she does not disappoint. Her writing is spot on once again, if not even better than what she showcased in her debut.
This time around Mrs. Kottaras brings us a story about trying to overcome traumatic experiences and learning to love yourself, that is filled with relatable characters. I was hooked from chapter one, and I would've finished it in one sitting if it wasn't for reality getting in the way. It's brilliantly executed, I loved every bit.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,710 reviews701 followers
October 3, 2016
3.5 stars

I really liked the premise of this and was quite eager to get to it.

I liked Vivi well enough. She's smart and is dealing with a lot of personal things. I enjoyed being in her head and reading her figure things out. Sammie and Evan were interesting characters, and I absolutely loved Vivi's little sister, Mila.

The idea of a slice of time usually irritates me, but it really works with this story. And man, there are a lot of things that happen. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, some of it is ridiculously dramatic.

Overall, it was a quick and mostly cute read. I'll definitely keep a look out for future works by this author.

**Huge thanks to St. Martin's Griffin and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews855 followers
November 21, 2016
I was really excited for the format, but in the end it just turned out to be an excuse for clunky backstory/expositional passages (e.g. Let me tell you: All About My Best friend) which seemed more like a 'previously in my life' catch up before the main event. I'm not sure how well the format of college tips and advice even worked in the latter half of the story when it was more about Vivi ='s family issues rather than her stressing out over college.

Also, best friends fighting over a boy? NOOOOO. Had I known this was going to be a part of the story, I probably wouldn't have read it. It's ridiculously problematic.

Lastly, I found Vivi to be 100% too melodramatic. There's one bit where she's in an argument with a guy and she completely yells at him and then is all like 'I can't do this anymore' and jumps into the pool with all her clothes on and swims about a bit. It's not like she ran away. Everyone that was involved in the conversation can still see her and is probably thinking 'what the heck?' right now. (Plus, I prose was so eye-roll inducing sometimes, full of sentences like 'I can't take it anymore', 'I'm done', 'I'm broken and no one can fix this,' layered on top of each other.) She was always running away from her problems instead of having good communication and not freaking out.
Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 6 books1,077 followers
May 30, 2016
I was lucky enough to read this book early and completely fell in love with it. It's authentic, gripping, emotional, and all kinds of amazing. So excited for this one to hit shelves!
Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
532 reviews168 followers
December 21, 2016
*This review can also be found on YA Books Central! Huge thanks to the publisher for the review copy in exchange of my unbiased opinion.*

A Touching Contemporary Novel!

The Best Possible Answer is a book that's been on my radar for several months and now that I've had the chance to read it, I am pleased to say that it lived up to my expectations. I've been searching for a book that would give me insight to what happens when a person works herself (or himself) too hard trying to please everyone's expectations but her own while facing other earth-shattering problems, and this book gave me just that. It's down-to-earth, extremely relatable, and inspiring!

What I liked:

First of all, I loved the chapter headers. They're about College application and essay tips, even a few sample questions about Vivianna (the main character) for the SAT's. They were funny, light, informative, and oddly the perfect way to describe Vivi's situation (including how her mind works!).

I had high expectations for Vivi's character, yet I was still surprised at how strong she ends up being. She has her lows in the story, like any other person in the world, but she eventually surpasses them. However, if I had to name one specific thing about her, it's how she deals with her panic attacks. I have never experienced one, but I have reached high levels of stress to the point of getting sick due to overwork, and it's not pretty. And yet, Vivi lives through this over and over again as her world is shattered by secrets too close to home. That takes a lot of strength and I admire her for it.

Another great thing is her friendship with Sammie. Having grown up together, these two girls are inseparable and always there for each other. They might face a few struggles along the way, but I love how they eventually work it out. It's seriously the kind of friendship we all wish to have in our lives!

Vivi also spends a lot of time working at her building's pool along with Sammie, and it worked as the perfect setting to give this book a great summer vibe. It allows to meet so many more awesome characters--like Professor Cox--and a chance to escape the turmoil of being at Vivi's house.

What left me wanting more:

The romance. Even though I did like Evan and Vivi as a couple, I wish to have seen more of them together. The cover alone suggests this book has a cute romance in it, but there wasn't that much. I wanted more Evan, more feels, and why not? more kisses (or near-kisses, I'm not picky). I understand that there were more important things to handle than a summer romance, but since it is brought up, it's hard not to want more.

I also feel that there's more to Professor Cox's story. He's such an interesting character and it would have been great to learn more about him, though I did love every scene he appears in!

Final Verdict:

The Best Possible Answer is a noteworthy read that deals with serious themes like cheating, anxiety, and family issues but also one that is light enough to have readers smiling throughout its pages as the main character pushes through each of her problems. It's heartfelt, inspiring, and definitely one I would recommend to readers of all ages.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,481 reviews902 followers
October 30, 2016
Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Hmmm... this one had its moments, but didn't do it for me 100%. There were a whole lot of plot elements and for me they didn't all work together.

It's the summer before Viviana's senior year, and she's got a plan: spend the summer at an engineering academy, SAT prepping, etc. But her crippling anxiety attacks start getting in the way. Her shifting relationships with her absent, high-achieving father and her best friend, who likes the same guy as Viviana, have her seriously off-balance. As Viviana's plans start to crumble, she begins to question her goals, and who she wants to be. It seems to me that would be enough plot for a book (and the chapter headings modeled after standardized testing were clever and funny).

But then there was material for almost two more books smashed in there - some backstory about Viviana sending naked pictures of herself to an ex, backstory that was used as a reason for Viviana's anxiety attacks. I didn't really think this added anything to the story and was sort of perplexing to me. Because it happened before the book begins, the reader isn't really sure what happened or why. Viviana seems like such a responsible, level-headed person, with her endless college to-do list, that this seemed really out of character, and the book didn't really explain why she did this. Much later in the book she says something bizarre, like "when when I love, I love with all my heart" (and naked pictures, apparently.) The nudie pix incident was also used to explain trust issues she had with the new guy (the ex shared the pictures, which were supposed to be private) but for me that just muddled the issue that Viviana was falling in love with a guy she knew her best friend Sammi had feelings for.

Then a big part of the plot has to do with Viviana's parents. Her mother has had health issues, and her father is sort of inexplicably off in Singapore. Without spoilers, I think that this storyline could have stayed if the SAT stuff went. But to me, all of these elements didn't really work together: college, nude pics, anxiety, best friend triangle, parent drama. Plus there was this whole thing about an eccentric professor that was interesting, but again, I think it might have belonged in a different book.

tl;tr Interesting plot elements, but for me, too many of them in one book.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a free advance copy of this book for me to review.
Profile Image for Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt).
570 reviews52 followers
September 12, 2016
*ARC provided by St. Martin's in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first read by E. and I have definitely become a big fan!
This book follows Viviana, who is an academic overachiever. Her life has taken a turn for the worst after a certain 'incident' arose and she has to try and keep it together while everything crumbles around her. Her summer plans fall through so her best friend, Sammie, gets her a job at the community pool along with her. My heart honestly twisted painfully through most of this story.
Viviana didn't deserve any of the things she was experiencing and it hurt to witness them. I loved how she managed to help others even when she was falling apart inside. Her character development was phenomenal and she deals with things that can be easily relatable. Forces beyond her control kept tackling her but she ended up being one of the strongest heroines I've read about.
I adored her friendship with Sammie. Their loyalty towards each other was more than palpable and there was no room to doubt them. My respect for their friendship was, and is, off the charts. It's not often that such a reliable friendship shows up in books.
Usually, I don't enjoy books this much when the romance isn't a prominent factor, but I'm glad to say that it worked for the best. My heart may be healing from the blows it took but I still loved the story. Not only is this about coming of age, but it also stresses the fact that even adults make mistakes. And unfortunately, some of them you can't come back from. This book tackled family drama in a way that I haven't read before. Because of that, it left me tearing up when certain secrets came to light. They hit a sore spot within me and it wasn't difficult to step into the shoes of the wronged.
I really enjoyed E.'s writing style. She worded certain life events into essay questions and it was a nice change of pace. I read this book in one sitting (on a roadtrip to the bay area, actually) and it was difficult to say bye. I wanted the story to keep on going and going but of course, it didn't. This was an easy read but not easy to swallow.
4.5/5 stars!
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,172 reviews1,307 followers
March 5, 2020
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Best Possible Answer really surprised me! This book is all about overcoming difficulties and contains a main character who overworks herself. I didn’t know that it would be set at a pool, one of my favourite locations ever! I loved the mix of fun and seriousness and would recommend it if you are a fan of the same thing.

This book is all about dealing with hardship. After her ex leaks pictures of her, she overworks herself to the point of being hospitalized, and her parents announce divorce, Viviana takes the summer to calm down and work at the local pool. I loved how this book is light yet deals with serious topics and sadness. There is also a big theme of friendship and family, which is one of my favourite things in books. I would say that this book is perfect for curling up with on a rainy day.

Viviana is an interesting character who I really sympathized with. She deals with so much stress in her life and her family situation doesn’t help. I feel like AP students and academic overachievers will be able to relate to her, even if the situation is on the more extreme side. I admired Viviana’s determination to get through her issues and her ability to recognize that she should change her ways and not strive for perfection all the time.

I adored the setting in The Best Possible Answer. The book is set at an apartment building with a pool where Viviana works. In the building and across the street are these quirky neighbours that Viviana and her friends create backstories for. The pool is one of my favourite places to be and I was thrilled when it was introduced. Although it’s fall, it is still nice to read about summer and days in the sun.

The Best Possible Answer is a fun yet intense book with a perfectionist main character. I loved the setting of the pool and the summer vibes. I would recommend this book to those who like their contemporaries more on the serious side.
Profile Image for Madison.
1,065 reviews59 followers
July 30, 2016
Is this book:
A) about family, family implosion and how to ride the chaos of family
B) a story of strong friendship and how it can hold you together
C) about second chances and learning to trust yourself again
D) a fun story of summer friendship and romance
E) all of the above

"Hint: test-prep research shows that you should actually always pick E."

It is funny how a writing style can change everything. In anyone else's hands this novel could have been run of the mill. But instead it is a charming book of friendship, family and mistakes and secrets that shake one's trust in others. I was charmed from the first page. I loved the chapter headers. I loved how this wasn't a simple romance where love fixes everything, but instead a story of what love is, how it hurts and when it is worth the risk to reach out and trust another person, whether that's a romantic interest, your best friend, your family members or yourself.

Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe (love her name!) desires perfection. Grades, SAT prep, college applications, future career choice, social life to study balance. Everything must be orchestrated to keep her father happy. But when this story starts Viviana's perfection has already fallen to pieces around her. Her father has left. Her grades are in shambles. She is having panic attacks, her mother can't look her in the eye, she is the talk of the school and her ex-boyfriend spread private photos around that will kill any chance of her gaining acceptance into Stanford.

Viviana might start the summer wanting to hide under the covers of her bed, but her best friend Sammie convinces her to get a job with her at the local pool. There she meets a new group of teens - ones that don't know anything about the photo, her grades or where she wants to go to college. Evan is particularly cute and seemingly very interested in Viviana. But Viviana doesn't want to risk trusting a boy ever again, especially not one her best friend has a crush on.

There are plenty more complications, but the heart of this story remains Viviana's discovery of her family's secrets, how she shares this story with her best friend and new friends, and how she learns to cope with her past and future. Trust is a huge theme in this book. The Best Possible Answer was a quick and fun book to read with a positive message of starting again.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Find more reviews on my blog Madison's Library.
Profile Image for Rita Shaffer.
406 reviews9 followers
August 24, 2017
3.5 This definitely kept me interested and I think students will like it, but parts of it were a little too tidy while others seemed incomplete.

I do appreciate the clear message that mistakes do or have to define us!
Profile Image for Claire.
79 reviews
April 3, 2017
This book was a pretty decent book. It was definitely a general book with romance and family problems, but I liked how the author didn't have a traditional ending, and put in a cool twist. I also liked how unique the characters were, but I do feel like at the end of the book, the author left a lot of things hanging. Overall, it was a pretty good but short read.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,417 reviews384 followers
November 5, 2016
This was quite a mixed read for me, despite it being my favourite genre, YA. The author is new to me and whilst she does write well, I failed to connect fully with the character of Viviana. Viviana is a complex young person emerging into womanhood. She has severe anxiety, in part, due to the stresses of parental separation and betrayal by her first boyfriend. I did feel for Vivi in regards to her anxiety but I found observing her somewhat tense and a little stressful! Vivi has a mother who I did not like and for a while, an absent father. When I finally got the measure of her father, boy, he was pretty unlikeable too; poor Vivi. There was a friend, Sammie who I really liked.

The story line in this book didn't really grab me until the latter half, but I did feel the need to know some answers to questions. There were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming and I enjoyed where that took the story. I would definitely read this author again.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
9 reviews
July 18, 2016
This was one of the best books I ever read I couldn't out it down. This book is about a girl named Viviana who did something she wasn't supposed to and after that ended up getting hurt and her mother wants to hover over her so closely to make sure she doesn't do it again and to make sure she isn't still hurt. Viviana soon goes to work euth with her best friend Sammie and meets a boy named Evan. This book is filled with exposed secrets and family fights I recommend this book for all.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
May 20, 2019
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher via NetGalley.

Being grade-obsessed is bad for your health and I'm speaking from experience when I say that. Every single school year for me was a stressful one filled with honors and AP classes (excluding science; I quit that honors class track solely because they required a science project every year), little A/B student me trying hard to have my first all-As school year, and a lot of crying. Seriously, someone should have talked to me about seeing the school counselor because I didn't know they could have helped me until after I graduated. Not much good then!

Why do I need to tell you all that while reviewing The Best Possible Answer? Because Viviana is a whole lot like me. The book opens with her finishing up her junior year of high school and going home after her third AP exam only to have a panic attack and end up in the hospital. Her mom cancels the plans Vivi had for a summer at an academic camp, so Vivi has to stay home and deal with her problems: the sexting scandal in her recent past, her parents' rocky relationship, and the growing crush she has on a boy that her best friend Sammie is very much into.

Though novels like Jennifer Brown's Thousand Words have made sexting the A-plot multiple times already, it's very much a C-plot in Vivi's life. Her cruddy ex-boyfriend leaking the intimate photo she sent him happened all the way back in January, after all, and the fallout from the event is finally settling down by the time Vivi's summer begins. It's... somewhat refreshing? how this problem that can be a life-consuming issue is kinda the least worst thing in Vivi's life as the novel goes on.

The A-plots of crushing on Sammie's crush/Vivi's first kiss from way back when, Vivi's parents' separation, and her suspicions her dad might be cheating while he's working on a project in Singapore create a hurricane of emotion and intrigue that will keep readers attached to The Best Possible Answer. Vivi isn't even the only character hurtling toward a mental breakdown! Her neighbor Professor Cox is headed for his own, very different mental health crisis and does things like "bomb" the community pool with tomatoes on his way there. The rep he provides is questionable at best, but I'm not the right person to dig into it.

TAKE YOUR MEDS, PEOPLE. That's all I'm saying.

The cheating dad plotline in particular isn't going to unfold the way readers think and there's no way for it to end but ugly. Without giving much away, he reminds me of Donald Trump--and I make no secret of my distaste for the poorly made up, curdled milk-filled manbag that is somehow the US president.

The Best Possible Answer isn't a light read to any degree, but it still captures that sweet feeling of summer while throwing heavy thing after heavy thing at readers. Whether you want to read it while cuddled up in the dead of winter or during your summer sessions of pool-lounging, this book is a solid perennial read.

And I mean it, don't let grades affect you so much that you have panic attacks. When I asked my photography professor to be excused from the print photo project I'd suffered my attack over, he did just that for the rest of the year. (I think my struggles with the first print photography project and that time I got development chemicals in my eyes also contributed to his decision. Print photography and I really don't get along.)
Profile Image for Just a person .
995 reviews294 followers
September 8, 2016
3.5 liked it a lot

I wanted to read The Best Possible Answer because I liked the sound of Vivi. I am drawn to books about anxiety, young people making mistakes and how they learn from them, and the complicated family dynamics that it hints at.

Vivi is it dealing with panic attacks at the beginning of the book and her mom has finally realize how much stress she's only trying to do so much and be so much as an honor student and although she is trying to encourage her to slow down part of the problem is that she won't admit what else is going on with Vivi. We know from the synopsis that her boyfriend had leaked some pictures of her and it really affected her in a lot of ways and her mom just wants to look at the school aspect of it and tell her to calm down instead of trying to face the emotional pain that she's facing with that.

As far as family dynamics that's pretty complicated as well. Her dad is not living with them and not on good terms with her mom even though her mom just dealt with thyroid cancer and well things are looking okay she's still got a lot of uncertainties. Vivi has a younger sister who looks up to her a lot and wants to be closer. When her mom takes away the normal academic summer camp that she usually goes to that one chance to and it also brings her new friends into the picture. Vivi's father is a story unto himself. He has a lot of secrets, and he has hurt those around him in a lot of ways. Vivi figures out some of the things that he was hiding, and it only adds to her confusion and identity issues.

I liked the friendship aspect in this one as well. Vivi and her best friend Sammie live in the same building and they have been friends for years. They've always been close, but their own family issues that left them hurting have allowed them to bond even more and know that someone else understands. I do wish that the whole aspect of both of them liking the same guy wouldn't have been there, but it did allow for a lot of character growth and for them to look at their relationship and how to work on it.

I liked the story line, how Vivi realized a lot about herself, her life, her plans for the future, and how she interacts with others. She wasn't in the best place at the beginning but she certainly learned a lot and while the main story lines were tied up, she still had a lot of room to grow, make choices, and move on with both old and new friends.

Source: earc from Netgalley via St. Martin's
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not affected by the book being free.

Bottom Line: Good read, had decent emotional connection, and complex family dynamics.
Profile Image for Cynthia (Bingeing On Books).
1,645 reviews119 followers
November 9, 2016
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ugh, I wanted to like this one. I really did. There were parts that I liked. I could relate to Viviana's need for perfection and all the tension she felt at not getting everything done that she needed to. And I liked the panic attack part of it. But that was about it. First, the story should have just focused on Viviana's need for perfection and her desire to please her father. But alas, there was way too much focus on romance. Viviana meets Evan and OF COURSE, Sammie (her best friend) likes him too. You see where this is going, right? Viviana had a bad experience with a guy so she doesn't want him. She also doesn't want to hurt Sammie. Sammie likes Evan and Evan likes Viviana and Viviana likes Evan, even though she insists way too many times that she wants nothing to do with him. Yeah, that wasn't predictable at all. I thought Sammie just acted like a big drama queen. She has a crush on Evan, but he completely ignores her for Viviana and she gets mad at Viviana for it. Annoying. I wasn't a fan.

In addition to the romance, there was a LOT of family drama. Let's just say that her father sucked. But I hated the way Viviana treated her mom and her sister because of it. Her sister, Mila, was freaking adorable and only eight years old, but Viviana acted horribly to her. I get that she was mad at her dad, but come on, it wasn't Mila's fault. And Viviana just made these impulsive decisions and she didn't communicate AT ALL. Yeah, yeah, I know what you are going to say: she's a teenager, so it's expected. Sorry, but I think eighteen is old enough to be able to communicate with your jerk of a dad and to refrain from being mean to your eight year old sister.

I would have LOVED more focus on Viviana's panic attacks, as well as the fact that her plans for the future were a result of wanting to be just like her dad and wanting to please him. But I didn't feel like any of that was resolved. There was some resolution to the family stuff and to the Evan stuff, but as for the stressed out about colleges stuff, there was nothing. And it seemed like her panic attacks went away and she was fine again. Weird.

Sorry, but this book was just not for me.
Profile Image for Meg - A Bookish Affair.
2,445 reviews191 followers
November 20, 2016
In "The Best Possible Answer," chronic overachiever Viv is trying to continue to over-achieve while trying not to pay attention to her life as she knows it falling apart. Her dad has disappeared. She doesn't understand it but she's trying to protect her beloved sister from worrying about it as well. The guy that should be interested in her best friend is interested in Viv instead. She is stuck in a job at the local pool rather than at engineering camp, which is where she wants to be. Oh, and she is still dealing with the fallout of nude selfies of her being passed around school.

So you can see that there is a lot of stuff going on in this book. While I enjoyed the book, I think that the story definitely could have been a little streamlined. It felt like we got a little detail about all of the problems instead of a lot of information about a few problems. I found myself wanting to understand more about what was going on with specific issues and not being able to get into the book quite as much due to the lack in focus.

The issue that I found myself most interested in was the situation with Viv's family. Her dad disappears for almost a year and is supposedly working in Asia but they never hear from him. Viv's mom doesn't want to talk about what happened or when he might come back or even if he might come back. As the story unfolds, we eventually find out what's going on and it turns everything Viv thought she knew upside down. It's in this situation that we really get to see who Viv is and how she deals with vulnerability.

Overall, I liked the concept of the book and found it engaging. I wanted to know more about some of the key issues in the book but it was still a good read!
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215 reviews42 followers
October 30, 2016
This book surprised me very pleasantly. I was expecting a fluffy romance, but it's much more than this and I love it to pieces.

The main character of "The best possible answer" is a girl who's coping with anxiety due to family drama, academic pressure, and the fact that some naked pictures of her are spreading wildly. This way we get to see that, despite what some people might think, panic attacks are real, that mental health is important, and you need to take care of yourself.

This is a book about knowing, accepting, and loving yourself. Because you're the most important person of your life, you matter, and people who can't aknowledge your value don't deserve you.

"The best possible answer" is also a story about love, and I'm not talking about romantic love. It appears in the novel, of course, but it's not the key point. I refer to self love, family, and friendship. Specially friendship, because the bond Viviana and Sammie share is too pure for this world.

I'm glad this book exists and I won't stop recommending it to everybody.

[I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.]
445 reviews6 followers
July 17, 2016
Loved this young adult novel and couldn't put it down. Beautifully narrated with a powerful message about growing up and learning to love oneself.
Viviana is a high school senior concentrating on applying for early admission to Stanford and striving for perfection. When an ex-boyfriend posts personal pictures of her, life becomes chaotic. With the help of her best friend Sammie, she learns to survive amidst bullying from schoolmates and disappointment from her family. A devastating family secret leads to more upheavals in Vivi's life. With the help of some new friends , she learns that imperfections don't really matter and being yourself is the key to happiness.
I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it!
51 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2021
Nice quick easy read. This book is age appropriate for teens to early twenties, or moms with teens.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 19 books2,396 followers
September 4, 2016
Read this in one sitting and liked it a lot. The whole test/study guide preparation thing worked really well for me, and Kottaras just has a way of writing heroines I find so relatable. Cute romance, great BFF, compelling family-centric storyline... definitely recommend and honestly wish it'd been out in time to be a summer beach read, because even with its heavier stuff it just felt so perfect for that.
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6,316 reviews215 followers
August 17, 2017
The best possible answer is about Viviana, who is in high school, and is dealing with a bunch of stuff all at once. It starts off with her waking up in the hospital because she fell asleep on her bike ride home and fell off her bike. Vivi sometimes has episodes and her family thinks its because she's overstressing and overworking herself. Vivi's dream is to go to Stanford, like her dad, so she's been studying so hard for her AP exams and her finals. She also has the best friend in the world, Sammie, and she knows about all of her troubles (especially her episodes) and tries to take her mind off of everything. They start working at the pool in their building and accidentally start to like the same lifeguard, Evan. Unfortunately Evan is really into Vivi and not Sammie and Sammie is really into Evan--so of course Vivi being a good friend tries to get them together...too bad it doesn't work out at all. Also, Vivi finds out her dad has another family, who has 2 kids, as well as another kid from a previous arrangement. Basically this book was a huge rollercoaster with Viviana going through a lot of ups and downs. It was a really interesting book. I really liked Evan and Vivi's relationship as well.
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2 reviews
August 4, 2021
The Best Possible Answer definitely kept me entertained although it’s not lighthearted. This book was about a stressed girl named Viviana. It’s her Summer before senior year and she is really starting to feel pressure about getting into the best school while also feeling stressed about the relationships in her life. Trying to control panic attacks also play a key role in this book.

It seemed like every horrible thing that could have happened to this poor girl happened. This ranges from anxiety, panic attacks, friendship issues, trust issues, moving away, cheating dad and more. The only happy thing in this book is the romance between Viviana and Evan but even that wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
216 reviews8 followers
January 20, 2018
Chapter headings are set in the format of SAT or college admission application questions.

Teen pushed by her parents to be perfect so she'll get into Stanford gets a boyfriend against their wishes. Then she makes the mistake of sending him a nude selfie, which he shares, it goes viral, her life death-spirals and her parents' relationship implodes.

While she's trying to pick up the pieces, the first guy she ever kissed moves back into town and her best friend wants him. He wants her instead, but she's sworn off guys as being trouble and vowed to salvage her academics instead. Then she finds out that her parents are a pair of lying hypocrites.
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541 reviews85 followers
November 1, 2016
This was my first young adult book, and I enjoyed it. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this author. The author potrays the main character viviana in important parts of her life. Taking exams, trying to get into a good college and dating and to top it all off her family have all the dramas as well. it's a lot to cope with, she has a good support system in Sammie her best friend and Evan. It's interesting to see the outcome of all the trials and tribulations of her life.

Thanks goes to net galley and the publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ☆☆Hannah☆☆.
2,974 reviews38 followers
April 5, 2017
Overall I liked this book. I will admit it was hard at times to want to continue. Her parents were so awful. Thankfully her mom got better as the book went along. It was nice that no matter what happened her and her best friend were able to overcome anything. Especially, since they were complete opposites.
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