Book Review: How to Be Brave by Katherine E. Kottaras

Summary from Goodreads:

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase theHTBB 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 but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of How to Be Brave via NetGalley this fall and am grateful for the copy.  Death of family members and friends is something I see students reeling with more and more as I get further into my teaching career.  I want to be able to put the right book in the hands of a student who may need it at the right time.

How to Be Brave has the potential to be a rockstar novel.  I felt a need to get to know Georgia, the main character, right from the beginning of the book.  Her list of fifteen ways to be brave is the “bucket list” of many teenage girls and I wanted to travel with her as she conquered all of her fears.  Unfortunately for me, that is where it fell flat.  Yes, this was very realistic to what happens a lot when death hits a teenager – good girls gone bad. Drugs. Alcohol. Hook ups. Mistakes.  What disappointed me is that I don’t want death to drive people to make these decisions that they would have never considered beforehand.  I felt that this book, while very realistic, perpetuated this standard and allowed it to be okay.

I gave How to Be Brave 3 stars.  I do think teens will like this one.  It just wasn’t my favorite.


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