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Finding Balance

(Brave Enough #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Jase Ellison doesn’t remember having Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when he was three years old. His cancer diagnosis only enters his mind twice a year. Once at his yearly checkup at the oncology clinic and when he attends Camp Chemo in the summer. No one in his “real” life knows about his past, especially his friends at Atlanta West Prep.

Mari Manos has never been able to hid
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Flux
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Kati Gardner It can totally be a stand alone. Nothing that happens in Brave Enough is part of the plot (really) in Finding Balance.

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  133 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, contemporary, 4-stars
Thank you to the Favourite Pages Club and Flux Books for sending me an ARC of Finding Balance in exchange for an honest review.

Mari Manos and Jase Ellison are both cancer survivors. Mari can’t hide that fact because it took one of her legs, and Jase hides his past from everyone. Both have attended Camp Chemo, a summer camp for kids fighting cancer, and love it.

But when Mari transfers to Jase’s school, she could bring his carefully built image down. Will they both be able to move on?

Finding Bala
Samantha (WLABB)
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Deemed a risk due to her refusal to utilize a prosthetic or other mobility aid, Mari was forced to enroll at another school. There, she was reunited with her Camp Chemo crush, but he was less than enthusiastic about her presence.

• Pro: I adored Mari in Brave Enough and was really happy she got her own book. She managed to make herself memorable in the last book, and it was fantastic getting to know her story.

• Pro: This is NOT a cancer book. This is a book about cancer survivo
Kris (frantic4romantic)
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book having never heard of the author or reading any of her work. It always makes me wary as a reader to step out of my comfort zone to read something I’m not familiar with. I’m a reader who invests myself into what I read, so I usually don’t take it lightly.

I’m so glad I took that leap and trusted my gut on this book.

I’ve never read a story like Finding Balance and I think it was a big reason I liked it so much. This was real life fiction where we see real life struggles. Storie
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Finding Balance
By: Kati Gardner


Although I do not share the same disorders portrayed in Finding Balance, I am a disabled person with a rare disorder. Does a person forever become their diagnosis, for example, the girl with cancer, even after treatment is done? Does a disability define a disabled person? I think the answer is yes. This story is about balancing who you are with who you
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of FINDING BALANCE by Kati Gardner in exchange for my honest review.***


Nobody at school knows Jason had cancer when he was three. Cancer took one of Mari’s legs so she can’t hide that she’s a survivor. Friends and maybe more from Camp Chemo now attend the same school and Jason has everything to lose if his peers find out.

Kati Gardner is a cancer survivor who lost her leg and it shows with how much she gets right about survivor
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, various, young
Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review
Super-realistic when dealing with such serious matters, yet touching and emotional in so many ways! “Finding Balance”, by Kati Gardner (Flux), could be hard to read, but there’s so much hope in these characters, particularly in brave Mari. The leads’ personal and unique stories are more interesting and genuine than the romantic relationship, which is sweet but has some dimensions I didn’t like (Jason’s nastiness towards Mari, Mari’s do
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2020, contemporary
Mari is a cancer survivor and an amputee. She lost a limb to cancer but she refuses to lose anything else. Her amputation is a part of herself that she gracefully accepts and has learned to live with it. Sadly, others haven’t been as accepting. When her school says she can’t continue to use crutches as it isn’t safe and she can’t attend their school anymore unless it’s on a wheelchair, she has to leave behind her friends and the familiar place for a new one.
Jase had Leukemia when he was three.
Faith Noelle
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an eARC of this book, and it was so good! I finished it in no time at all. The book beautifully balanced a touching, wonderful message with adorably fun scenes of family, friendship and love. It's a book about how we put together the pieces of our own stories and accept ourselves within that. Mari and Jase are such excellent characters to follow, and I love the way that disability is portrayed through each of their eyes. For Mari, who had her leg amputated years ago, her disability is ...more
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this one was better than the first one.
Lisa Mandina
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So, I got this book from the publisher at the AASL convention in November 2019. Originally it was supposed to be published in May of 2020, but because of all the COVID-19 stuff, it got postponed until September. However I wanted to go ahead and get my review done while the story was fresh in my mind, and I’ll come back and revisit with a promo post probably in September.

Now, I haven’t read the first book in this series, Brave Enough, and I don’t know when or if I’ll get it read, although I am de
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and Flux Books for my eARC of Kati Gardner's 'Finding Balance'.

I was initially drawn to the book because when I was in school my close friend passed from Leukemia. I have also had family members these last couple of years fighting forms of Cancer and I welcomed any book that might give a perspective about this cruel disease that would help my children.

Finding Balance was everything I could have hoped for in a book that deals with topics that are often not in the forefront
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-reviews
FINDING BALANCE is a YA contemporary romance that follows Mari and Jase. Mari had osteogenic sarcoma when she was 10 and had a complete amputation of a leg as a result. She was left without any residual tissue, which makes a prosthesis uncomfortable and challenging. As a result, pretty much everyone notices her disability right away and pries into her life. When her public school says that she must use a wheelchair or prosthesis instead of her crutches, Mari is shocked- what they are asking woul ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Flux Books for sending me an ARC via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4/5 stars.
I want to start off this review by saying that I have never experienced anything like what Mari and Jason have had to go through. I do not have the same experiences as these characters, and I would ask that people try to prioritize Own Voices reviews over my own.
Mari Manos is a cancer survivor. This is something that is a big part of her life, particularly because of her amputation. Not only
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I went into this book with high hopes. I liked the sound of the plot and the look of the cover. It looked as though it would be about healing, acceptance and recovery. This story follows Mari and Jase who both have had cancer at different parts of their life’s. Jase is able to live normally without anyone aware but Mari has lost her leg, making it more noticeable.

There’s a part at the start of this novel that made me laugh and connect to one of the MC’s - Mari. I thought Mari was quite chill an
Sarah {The Clever Reader}
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Happy Book Birthday to this adorable YA Contemporary!

Mari is a cancer survivor and when she refuses to get a prosthetic leg to help her improve her mobility she is forced to enroll at a new school. As she begins adjusting to the new school and all the rumors circulating about what happened to her leg she finds herself avoiding Jace, the boy from Chemo Camp she's had a crush on. Mari doesn't let her disability define her. She makes every effort to do things for herself with little help from othe
Shar | sunsnacksseries
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley and Flux for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Finding Balance was an empowering, inspiring, realistic and cute YA contemporary romance. The story follows Mari, a sixteen-year-old who had cancer and is also an amputee, due to an infection. Along with Jase, who is a fellow cancer survivor. They met at Camp Chemo, a summer camp for who have or are going through chemotherapy.

Although everything changes when Mari moves to the school Jase attends. The friendship--and flirt
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it
3 Stars

I think this is a really important story in terms of disability representation. You have two childhood cancer survivors that deal with the repercussions of their cancer in very different ways, and I really appreciated all the different topics that this book discussed.

However, the romance was a little too toxic for my liking. By the end of the story I wasn't shipping the two main characters because of all the terrible choices that were made (and that were forgiven too easily). I think tha
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this Arc from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for letting me review the book. I liked the premise of the book. It was a sweet story of love, forgiveness, acceptance of who you are, and health. It was predictable in some places. And I loved Mari’s siblings. I wanted more of them.
Read this review and others like it on my blog, Kappa Reads

ARC From NetGalley

First of all, can we all appreciate that cover? I can't think of the last time I saw a cover that had an image of a person with a disability.

Ok, now into the proper review. This book follows two teenagers who survived cancer. Jase was a toddler when he recovered from cancer and only thinks about cancer when he goes for medical check-ups and the summer camp that is specifically for kids who have/had cancer. Mari had canc
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kati Gardner back at it again with another new wonderful story. I read Brave Enough back in 2018 and I loved it, so I automatically knew that this one will be good too which turns out to be correct.

This book tells a story of Mari and Jase whom I’ve met briefly in Brave Enough, and ever since then I’ve been wondering what their story was like. I was grateful to be given an opportunity to read an ARC of this book and to learn and find out what their story is. Let’s just say that I enjoyed reading
Shirley Cuypers
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-beta, 2020, ebooks

Original review

This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Flux and Netgalley!

Finding Balance
is the second book in the Brave Enough series and tells the story of Mari and Jase. Although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

It’s been a while since I read the first book, Brave Enough, but I do remember enjoying the book because I learnt so much about what it means to be a survivor. I liked this book a
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Finding Balance by Kati Gardner, 320 pages. Flux (North Star Editions), 2020. $12.

Language: R (117 swears, 10 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG



High school is difficult enough to navigate with two legs and a healthy body, but Mari, a junior, and Jase, a senior, are pressing forward the best they can despite their trials. However, lies, secrets, and betrayal hurt the same for those people who don’t look like everyone else -- something Ma
Lillie Lainoff
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, and I've got to say, while it's hard to imagine, FB is just as good as BE (Brave Enough, Gardner's debut).
Gardner's words ring with authenticity. Her examination into what it's actually like to be a disabled teen is necessary, important, and means/will mean so much to so many disabled teens.
I was particularly struck by the nuance with which Gardner depicts medical trauma. I haven't read anything like it before in YA.
This is the disability rep kidlit needs.
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
Wait, before you close out of this tab, you need to know that this isn't your typical cancer story. It is so much more. It is a story of overcoming your past. It is a story of choosing how to see life. It is a story I won't forget.
The characters were fantastic. Their thoughts and emotions were expressed so clearly and I felt like I knew them in real life.
One thing that I loved seeing was the Bible verses subtly woven throughout.
My only complaint about this book is the language. It could have e
Melissa See
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a disabled person, I am hungry for #ownvoices disability rep. Both as a reader and as a writer. There aren’t words adequate enough to express my gratitude to Kati for doing this. I am so incredibly proud of her.
Your Books Are Calling
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“‘I don’t do the impossible,’ she whispered hotly. ‘I live life as someone who is disabled. That is not worthy of any praise.’”
I received this copy as an e-arc from Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Mari has lived with one leg for a few years now, after contracting an infection after a limb-sparing surgery - an attempt to remove the cancer without taking the limb. During summer, she spends a week each year at
Anne (The Reading Life)
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy for an honest review.

Me, who just finished this book, and don't know what to do with myself:

See, this is why I love reading books. Books can expose you to different perspectives from various people, opening your eyes to the world.

Finding Balance (a book so perfectly titled), is a book that follows our two protagonists: Jase and Mari. Mari is a cancer survivor who had to have one of her legs amputated to live. Jase, another cancer survivor, is from a wealthier background a
Nabiha Tahsin
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
*Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the eARC in exchange of a honest review*
This book follows the two individual interconnected stories of two Cancer Survivors, Mari and Jason. Mari lost one of her legs, to Bone Cancer when she was 10, and ever since then she can't hide away this part from her life. She tries to be strong when people ask questions about her leg, and demand to know her story and even when her mean peers through in nasty comments here and there. But she is blessed
Lara Pena
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
—Thank you to Flux Books and Kati Gardner for the ARC!—

“You said something one time: that you were in control of your story. It stuck. This way, I’m in control of mine.”

If there’s one thing this story is about, it’s about adapting and being able to be in control of how life treats you. Neither Mari Manos or Jase Ellison have had easy lives by any definition. Throughout the book, we see Mari transition into a new school because her previous one did not accommodate to her as she and her family exp
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september-2020
Thank you Flux Books for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.⁣⁣⁣ ⁣

Mari Manos has been forced into a new school. At her old school, she was told not to use crutches anymore, that a prosthetic or a wheelchair was safer. However, a prosthetic would be uncomfortable for her, and a wheelchair would only get her more grief from her classmates. Mari already survived bone cancer and lost a leg because of it, so why should she be forced to give up the freed
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Kati is a recovering actor who has spent the last few years keeping tiny humans alive. In high school she was determined to play a doctor on General Hospital and possibly add in a love story with Jonathan Jackson. She would spend hours toiling away on FanFiction for my AOL community and dreaming of the day she would accept a Daytime Emmy Award. In college she majored in Theater arts and spent lots ...more

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Brave Enough (2 books)
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