Marie's Reviews > How to Be Brave

How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
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it was amazing
bookshelves: arc, ebook, friendship, my-poor-broken-heart, netgalley, read-in-2015, weight-or-body-related, young-adult

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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 was flawed, she made mistakes, she did stupid things, and she hurt and disappointed people - including herself at times. But she also went through a lot, learned a lot of important lessons, and grew a lot. One of the things that surprised me about this book was some of the things Georgia did. There were things that shocked me, but then I was like ‘this is what life is like for a lot of teens - drinking, drugs, experimenting’. It’s stuff I haven’t seen in a lot of books, so while I know it’s happening, it’s strange to read about. That being said, I appreciated the honest portrayal and the fact the author didn’t shy away from real life stuff.

Having watched a parent and grandparent/best friend die, many parts of the story really hit home for me. My dad wasn’t even fifty when he died, and he suffered so much, just like Georgia’s mother did. I can understand that feeling of wanting to do things to honour someone, do things they maybe didn’t get to do, and continuing to live even though part of you wants to just curl up and cry and scream and grieve forever. I liked the idea of the list being a way for Georgia to honour her mother, as well as getting her to try new things, keep going, and learn to be brave. She started out doing things for and because of other people and then learned to do things for herself. She learned that sometimes being brave is just living. Just getting by, surviving. It doesn’t have to be about grand gestures and occasions and milestones. It can be the quiet, everyday things that take courage. It can be realizing difficult things about yourself. Watching Georgia learn to be brave was a mixture of amusing, painful, and inspiring, and it was easy to cheer her on as she stumbled, fumbled, and succeeded.

When things related to Georgia’s crush took up a few spots on her list, I was worried it would be one of those books where the guy saves the girl, but it wasn’t like that at all. The romance was actually a very small part of the plot, which I actually appreciated because it suited the story. Daniel did help Georgia, and their interactions were adorable and sweet and completely believable (the awkwardness rang so true and made me laugh because I’ve been there), but all of that was a small part of Georgia’s overall journey. Their slowly evolving relationship was actually probably more accurate and true-to-life than a lot of other portrayals of teen relationships.

How to be Brave is a brave story. Kottaras took some chances, and they paid off, at least for me. This story was real and it was honest. It made me smile, laugh, and tear up. I think Georgia is a character a lot of people will be able to relate to and see themselves in. The things Georgia learned about being brave made me think and inspired me to be brave in my own life.
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Reading Progress

October 17, 2015 – Shelved
October 17, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
October 22, 2015 – Started Reading
October 28, 2015 –
40.0%
October 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: arc
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: ebook
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: friendship
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: my-poor-broken-heart
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: netgalley
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: read-in-2015
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: weight-or-body-related
November 1, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult

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