How to Be Brave
by E. Katherine Kottaras
originally published November 3rd 2015
published by St. Martin’s Press
young adult | contemporary | romance
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.
[PACING] snail’s pace | slow | just right | fast | holy crap just stop | inconsistent
[DIVERSITY] none :sadface: | some (minor characters) | LGBTQ | mental health | characters w/ disabilities | racial | religion
[ROMANCE] insta-love | realistically paced | slow-burn | love triangle | love square | I am confused | none | it’s complicated
[FEELS] swoons | tears | laughs | cries of frustration | eye rolls | pukes | snores | screams of horror | holy shits
[WRITING] flowery prose | conversational | choppy or cluttered | telling, no showing | boring | info dump-y | simple
[ENDING] cliffhanger | open ending | satisfactory | was that an ending? | want moarrr | didn’t get far enough | ehhh
[RECOMMENDED?] heck no | eh | to select people | mostly | YAS
The Contents of
a Generic “Bucket List” Book How to Be Brave
1. A “damaged” or emotionally unstable heroine. At first, I kind of adored how Georgia was really pushing herself to think positively and to pull herself up–she was that way for the entirety of the book. She does a lot of body-shape shaming, though. She shames on both skinny girls and weighty girls. At some point I just wanted to shove myself into the book to tell her that no one’s perfect!
2. “Quirky” best friends to join in the bucket list fun. In How to Be Brave‘s case, the best friends, to me, were kind of inconsiderate and kind of asshole-y. We have Liss, who hangs out with people who were bitchy to her best friend. There’s also Evelyn who’s weird as fuck and doesn’t make any sense half the time.
3. Stereotyping. I honestly can’t think of a character in this book that isn’t a stereotype of some sort. Georgia’s the “fat” girl who gets bullied by the queen bees, Liss is the best friend who could be “popular” if not for hanging out with Georgia, Evelyn’s the best friend who can’t get enough of getting high– The list goes on, folks.
4. A tacky and kind of pointless bucket list. Okay, I’ll admit, there were a few items on the list that I did like and thought were cute (ex. “Try out for Cheerleading”), but majority of them were either typical and/or had no real purpose (like cutting class, skinny-dipping and things like those).
5. Weird-ass pacing. At the beginning of the book, I was basically just going, “What the crap is going on?” That feeling lessened as the book went on, but still. There were also some scenes that just randomly popped up and didn’t seem to have any decent transition.
6. A hint of grief. The synopsis promised me a LOT of grief and anguish, but I honestly didn’t feel anything until the last 10% of the book. Maybe that’s just me being a rock, which only happens once in a blue moon.
7. Flowery prose. Most of this book’s told in your typical, simple, conversational tone, but there are a few scenes here and there that’s told in this sort-of poetry style that’s VERY flowery and lyrical and choppy. I’m the kind of person who isn’t into those things, unfortunately.
8. A cute love interest and an aww romance. Guys, Daniel is so adorable. He’s sweet, friendly, and with that I-want-to-pinch-your-cheeks-so-bad occasional awkwardness. His romance with Georgia was light and wasn’t the whole purpose of the book, which is great.
9. Lots of character development. Yes, I did just rant A LOT about the characters and their shitty ways. But I did end up liking/tolerating most of them by the end of the book, especially Georgia. Each character realized things about themselves and others, and some of them even changed for the better.
Have you read How to Be Brave? Do you want to? Do you like bucket list books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.