Book Review: Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

I received a free ARC of Brave Enough by Kati Gardner from NetGalley in exchange, as I always stress on, for an honest review.

The thing that attracted me to this book and excited me the most was its cover – so much that I didn’t even read the blurb before jumping in. Sometimes, doing this and going in directly could result in amazing results like loving the book. And it was with this very hope that I became Brave Enough to jump in and read this book. Now that I have finished reading it, I can’t even find the words to explain my feelings.

Cason Martin is a ballerina from Atlanta, who is her mother, Natalie Martin’s project. Natalie pushes and prods Cason because she thinks Cason doesn’t give her best. As director of Atlanta Ballet Conservatory, Natalie has big plans for Cason – plans that include Cason attending the American Ballet Theater’s studio program in New York. Cason wants to go, too, but she only wants to get away from her overbearing mother. But her dreams seem to shatter around her as she is diagnosed with cancer.

On the other hand, Davis Channing is a high school student who has been sentenced to 300 hours of community service after rehab for possession of drugs. He has to complete this service in his oncologist’s clinic. Yes, you guessed right. Of course that is where he meets Cason. Davis has the possibility of relapsing and he struggles with himself as he fights the urge to use again.

Will Davis and Cason be able to fight their internal and external demons to find peace again? Will they be able to shift their dreams to accommodate reality and still be happy? Will they be able to find their way to each other despite circumstances getting in the way?

First off, I need to say that this book reminds me a lot of The Fault in Our Stars. But that is being unfair, because not all cancer stories are the same. They have as much power to make you cry as they have to make you laugh and hope. And Brave Enough wields the power to bring hope to a cynic, though it mightn’t be successful all the time.

Then there is the fact that the author, Kati Gardner, is a cancer survivor and an amputee herself. Kati was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 1989 and was only 8 when the diagnosis came through and when her leg was amputated. She uses her experiences to write this story of hope and dreams, and to spread cancer awareness with American cancer stats.

The copy I got is marked ‘uncorrected proof’, so all I will focus on is anything but the editing mistakes present in the eBook.

Let me start with how Cason’s mother is in the very beginning. She looks at Cason’s cancer as a ‘stupid inconvenience’, called Mari’s cancer and lack of a led a ‘disfigurement’, and soon enough, she was on my list of disliked characters. But if you are going to read Brave Enough – and I recommend you do – please don’t judge her too early. Yes, she might seem impossible and looks selfish at times, but be patient with her.

Brave Enough is an easy read. The language is nice; not wow, not bad, but above average. The narration seems repetitive in a few places. Brave Enough isn’t about anything extraordinary. It’s about hope and its importance in our lives. And that makes the story pretty extraordinary. It is because of this that you can ignore anything that might lightly grate on your nerves, though I must say those instances are far and few.

Brave Enough tells us how a disease has the power to take away your best. Once where there was at least half a chance, now there’s only anger and resentment. But it all comes back to the same thing: hope. If you have the hope and the will to put your head above the water, you’ll soon find the shore you’re so desperately looking for. And it applies to everyone in this unpredictable world.

While I’d read the book with just a smattering of sympathy, there came a point where I suddenly felt like crying. It hit me out of nowhere. Before this, I’d made up my mind that the book was a 3.5/5; a 3 even. But it was here that the book went up to a 4.

In the end, I’d just say, if you want to read a story about hope (there it comes again, this word), then do read Brave Enough. It worked big time for me. 🙂

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Goodreads.

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