Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave

By Jen White

Blurb: After their mother's recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven't seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.

Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations. 

When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.

Genres: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Pages: 320 

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave is a middle grade story that feels distinctly middle grade as far as the voice of the protagonist and such, but at the same time I really enjoyed. This is kind of rare for me, because recently I’ve found that I really only love middle grade when the narrator sounds a bit older than the norm in this genre. So this is probably a miracle that will only happen once every thousand years, and you should all bask in it. 

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave is sometimes saddening to read because these poor girls have been through so much. But it is also fantastic to read, because the whole story takes place in such a short amount of time, yet the people that Billie and Liberty meet and the way they stick together and care for one another makes it contain the richness and complexity of a story that takes place over a much longer period of time.

Billie and Liberty are two sisters recently abandoned by their father. They have to stick together to try and get in touch with their mother’s friend, but that’s more difficult than it sounds. I just wanted to hug these poor girls; I can’t imagine going through something like this and handling it as well as they did. Liberty’s method of staying calm and having to be mature for her age really made me like her and feel sorry for her at the same time.

All the people that the girls meet, even though some of them are only a part of the story briefly, are all really well written; they all feel human. Some are rude, some are cruel, some are nice, some are scared. Whatever they were like, though, they all seemed to have been well-thought out, rather than background-fillers.

Of course, there’s the question of why Billie and Liberty have been left by their father at a gas station, and I was so angry when I found the answer. But it’s also not a hundred percent black and white as far as how awful their father is, for reasons I can’t disclose, and I liked that.

I really, really liked this story. I think it deals with some topics that aren’t too common in middle grade, and it does them in a way that still retains the genre’s feel. It’s definitely something I’d recommend.


  1. It seems like these characters undergo so much growth! Aww it's so sad to hear they had a tough beginning ;(

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

    1. Yeah, it was, especially because they are so young, but everything worked out in the end so I was really happy. :)

  2. Wow, I haven't heard of this one and it sounds so good - especially because you were emotionally connected
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. Yeah, it really is. I definitely recommend it if MG is your sort of thing. :)


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