The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A lot of what I liked in Survival Kit had to do with Rose and Will then only later with Rose with and her family, particularly her with her brother as they dealt with what they had to. It’s an emotional read, but not as emotional as I was thinking it was going to be. Sure, most of what I felt for them was something quiet and sad, yet there were moments too that felt sweet and lovely and only a couple of bits that had me (or was it Rose?) feeling maybe bitterly disappointed.
Will. I thought I had him pegged. In fact, the moment he was in the picture memories of Sarah Dessen books came flying back. Were they to be another one of those pairs, her - sad and broken, him - there to help her? If I felt that way for some pages, I was soon disabused of such a notion because things between the two? Were glacial, and I don’t mean “cold” but rather glacial… as in glacially slow in progression which is not necessarily a bad thing, because then we saw, or at least, I saw them go from the barely there idea of a ‘them’ to something more. And what’s more is Will wasn’t, didn’t really prop her up all the time because how could he when he was similarly situated?
Supporting cast. I love that not once were any of them negative. Most of them are considerate, thinking individuals, and never was there a moment of them falling into stereotypes. Take Chris, the ex boyfriend. He's there and could actually be rather thoughtful. Add that fact that he (and yes, even Rose) were not the long-suffering types. They each knew where the other was coming from and acted appropriately… well, him more than her.
What added more to this for me were the moments with her family. The feelings of ‘being worried about and angry at’ one or some or all? Or even moments of jealousy or being overwhelmed about what needed doing? It all felt accurate. Sure, before the book had started there were hints that maybe Rose was wallowing, running away and not confronting certain things, but it's in this where she tries to cope; where they try to cope… sometimes successfully, other times not all. It all felt accurate, the portrayal of grief and moving on. But like I said, for her, it wasn’t the boy, but her own actions, decisions that got the ball rolling… with a little push from the rather meaningful contents of her Kit.
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