Brave Enough follows the story of two teenagers: Davis, a cancer survivor who turned to recreational drugs to deal with the psychological effects and is now trying to stay sober, and Cason, who has the potential to be a world-famous ballerina but discovers she has a form of cancer in her leg which could spell the end of her career. Davis and Cason come together in the most unlikely of circumstances and help each other to realise that you are not defined by your past or your present.
Brave Enough explores themes such as cancer, drug abuse, friendship, crime, and family.
Brave Enough is an interesting read but I am really struggling to go beyond that adjective. I did finish the book but I felt like I was finishing it for the sake of it and not because I wanted to. The characters, in my opinion, are underdeveloped. Even by the end of the book, I could not envisage them (and I consider myself to be a pretty imaginative person!) or really feel any emotion towards them. That is not to say that I necessarily expected to empathise with them – I have never had cancer – but I couldn’t relate to them on any level.
There are some interesting storylines, such as Davis’ struggle to stay sober, and I definitely got caught up in the violent dynamic between Davis and his former dealer. I think this was the only time I felt an emotion when reading the book and kept hoping Davis would stay sober.
I really grappled with Cason as a character. I wanted to feel something for her – love, compassion, hate, anger – just something. And I didn’t. Not a thing. She goes through a really intense situation in the book and I found the descriptions of her physical and emotional being lacked depth.
A positive message that comes from this book is that you do not have to be defined by your past or your present and that your future is still in your control – it just might not be what you originally thought it might be. For any young people reading this and going through a difficult situation, this is a great take-home message. There is also a lot of discussion about confidence and self-esteem which I think may be empowering for some people.
There’s a saying that goes something like “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination”, and I had to remind myself of this when reading Brave Enough. I reminded myself that this was about Davis’ and Carson’s journeys, individually and together, rather than there being some huge climax and wonderful conclusion to the book. But my experience was one of watching their journeys from afar (very far) rather than being there with them. Three stars.
I know some people have loved this book, so if you have read and reviewed it then please let me know as I’d be grateful for any other views on this book.
Brave Enough by Kati Gardner is available to pre-order on Amazon*.
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