Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review: The Best Possible Answer by E Katherine Kottaras

The Best Possible Answer by E Katherine Kottaras
Series: Standalone
Published: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
272 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.
 


 

Viviana is having a rough few months. Her ex-boyfriend spread her nude selfies around the school, she’s feeling an immense amount of pressure to do well in school, her dad has moved out and barely contacts them, and her relationship with her mother is strained. She hopes for a quiet, relaxing summer, but between her anxiety, a job that’s more stressful than she anticipated, and the fact her best friend is moving away and they spend half the summer fighting over a boy, things aren’t going as planned.

On the surface, The Best Possible Answer is a fun, light summer read, but it balances out the lightness with some serious issues like mental illness, lies, cheating, bullying, and school/parent pressures. While I appreciated that this book tackled so many big, real-life problems, at times it felt like there was too much going on. For such a short book, I think it was ambitious to address such huge issues but do it quickly and with a healthy dose of fluff in between. If it had focused more on a few of the issues instead of so many different things, it wouldn’t have felt like such a hodge podge of ‘big issue’ elements thrown together.

That being said, I liked Vivi a lot and found her easy to relate to and sympathize with. She wanted to make everyone happy - her parents, her little sister, her best friend, her teachers - and it left her anxiety-ridden and struggling to cope. I think a lot of people, especially teens, will be able to relate to this. I liked that the story featured a strong female friendship. Vivi and Sammie fought and had disagreements and misunderstandings, but they loved each other unconditionally. If one needed the other, even during a fight, they were there for each other without question. This is the type of female friendship I’d love to see more of in YA. I do wish we’d learned a bit more about Sammie since she was such an important part of Vivi’s life, and it would have been nice to see more from them other than just talking about Evan, but it really was great to see such a strong friendship.

The Best Possible Answer was a fun, thought-provoking read. It was different from anything I’ve read, and I appreciated the overall message of not letting your past or your mistakes define you or hold you back. Vivi had plenty of growing pains through the course of the story, but she came out stronger and smarter, and with the knowledge that it’s okay not to be perfect - what matters is that you remain true to yourself.






{Read my review of How to be Brave}

Have you read The Best Possible Answer? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Did you feel a lot of academic or parental pressure during high school?
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