BOOK REVIEW: “How To Be Brave” by E. Katherine Kottaras

Title: How To Be Brave
Author: E. Katherine Kottaras
Publication: November 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Teen, YA Fiction
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley

How To Be Brave


SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the 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.

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

As a big body positive advocate, I was excited to read “How to Be Brave”. The description made it sound like right up my alley. A girl who doesn’t always fit in because of looks and stereotypes finds a way to live with the pain of changes in life, negativity and finding herself. E. Katherine Kottaras delivered in “How to Be Brave”.

The story follows Georgia, a teenage girl who does well in school, makes her parents proud, and hangs out with very few friends. She is “larger” than the other girls at a size 16, but doesn’t let that hinder her. The story picks up a few months after the death of her mother, and Georgia is finding herself struggling to communicate effectively with her father, step out of her comfort zone, and live her life the way she wants to. She finds the courage to try new things and rebel a little only for it to seemingly backfire in her face.

Kottaras writes a perfect coming-of-age story. Georgia is the every day girl. She is real. Not everyone can be the captain of the football team, head cheerleader, or beauty queen. But everyone has greatness buried inside them and Kottaras shines this message through the entire story. Just because you are placed in a specific category by peers does not mean you have to mold yourself to their way of thinking. Kottaras writes the struggles of Georgia’s friends around her and you watch as Georgia figures out who she is. It’s one of the most enlightening books I’ve read in a long time. If I was a teacher, I’d make this required reading for every student in class. It shows the truth about how kids should look at themselves compared to how the world seems so wrapped up in cliques and what you “should” look like and be like. I love how not everything is perfect for Georgia and that even when she is struggling, she is still growing. You watch her develop into a young woman from a confused and unsure teenager. She doesn’t let size, stereotypes, or anything come in her way. She will be ready to take on the world now. I loved the tied in “to do” list talked about throughout and the different characters that were introduced; each adding a new layer and P.O.V. to the story.

Everyone who has ever doubted themselves or felt “different” should pick up a copy of “How to Be Brave”. Kottaras writes in a poetic manner that draws you in and holds you there through the whole story. I finished the book in a day if that tells you anything. I cannot wait until Kottaras releases another book. I will be first in line to pick it up!

Pick up your copy of “How To Be Brave” by E. Katherine Kottaras on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore TODAY! Also add it to your TO READS list on Goodreads and don’t forget to let the author know what you thought after reading.

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