Perfect Escape

358p. Little, Brown. July 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-316-18557-8; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-316-20196-4.
Gr 9 Up—Perfection is not only what Kendra strives for, but it's also something that her OCD brother can never attain. The more Grayson slips away from normalcy, the more she steps up her game at school and home, becoming an overachiever. While he has to drop out of school and enter treatment programs to even hope for a life in the mainstream, Kendra has tried to cope with losing her friend Zoe, whose parents relocated from Missouri to California to break off her romance with oh-so-unacceptable Grayson. In her senior year, Kendra encounters a course she can't perfect: calculus. When school officials search her locker for proof of her involvement in a cheating ring, she runs to the town quarry, an OCD Mecca for Grayson's rock sorting and counting for years. This time, instead of coaxing him away, she practically kidnaps him, driving away in, her junky car, Hunka. When Kendra can't conceive of returning home to face the music, she decides just to keep going, eventually settling on finding Zoe as a target of their unplanned road trip. There is no "perfect," and there is no "escape" from the consequences of her actions or from a very real illness like OCD, no matter how far she drives. A ratty hotel stop finds the siblings with two more in Hunka-teen mom Rena and baby Bo. Brown delivers a problem road-trip novel with momentum and realistic characters that will have many teen readers hitching a ride.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Caught in a cheating scandal at school, perfect-student and perfect-daughter Kendra goes on the lam, taking her older brother, Grayson, with her in an attempt to cure him of his severe OCD. Though a little overlong and not always believable, this sibling road-trip novel features a close-up, credible look at the ripple effects of mental illness on a family. Reading list, websites.

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