Brave enough – Kati Gardner

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I was very happy to read this book, which has many qualities of authenticity.

Indeed the author has chosen a subject that matters a lot to her, as she’s directly concerned. She explains, in the end of the book, that she had the same cancer as her heroine as a child, and have lost her left leg as a result. The story and its characters are the product of her imagination, but all the facts, the details, the emotions are quite true.

I’ve got ambivalent thoughts about the actuel tendency of presenting more and more teenagers with various illnesses in YA books. In a way it’s really great, giving information to readers, encouraging them to understand, to be tolerant, to show that a person is a person no matter what, and never their illness. But on the other hand I’m always suspicious. Some authors, even motivated with the best intentions, even concerned by the difference, sometimes instrumentalise it, using the dramatics of an illness or neurological difference to create high emotions. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing, especially if the result is wholesome for the readers, but I can’t feeling the process sometimes a little dishonest… In « Brave enough », I was quite happy, all was perfect in my point of view.

I read this book very easily, it was a good story, with strong message about illness, family and drugs. I applaud the author to have managed to write a very positive story without letting the reader forgot about the realities of cancer and addiction. Some children and some teenagers die of cancer, even with good treatments. Some people aren’t able to overcome their addiction, even with the best help. And still, hope is bright, as so many courageous people – patients, their families, doctors, hospital workers, volunteers – do their best, always.

Withstanding the gravity of the themes, the story was pleasant, with good characters, and the two stories intertwined of a teenage girl, a professional dancer, and a teenage boy, who was a « cancer kid » and is now cured but had also been using drugs. Their psychological evolution is a little bit rushed but sound and optimist, with a positive ending, which is a beautiful message!

(I thank Netgalley and North Star Editions for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

Paperback, 280 pages
Expected publication: August 21st 2018 by Flux

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