How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Closer to a 3.5.
The whole "bucket list" book for YA is absolutely a trend right now, and I don't think I expected that from this book going in, but it does handle it in a slightly different way - instead of it being a bucket list for Georgia alone, it's a bucket list in honor of her late mother as part of her road to recovering from that loss. It has all the general tropes, from crushes to skinny-dipping to trying risky things, but with the added problems of friendships and a father who may be a little too lost in his own grief as well.
It doesn't always work, which was a little frustrating. Too much of the time, I was trying to figure out why Georgia stuck with the people she stuck with, and some of the choices she made throughout did not seem to fit who she was otherwise (especially with the drug use that was weirdly prevalent throughout). Still, the familial instincts and the way certain people reached out to her was very real, and, while this ends up being a familiar journey of finding oneself, the story really won me over by the end of the book.
Overall, I would recommend, but maybe not as a first choice. The Start of Me and You in particular walks a similar path, and is much more real and less negative to me than this book, and even Julie Halpern's The F-It List handles this with a different take, but this is still a pretty solid read, especially for those who are enjoying this trend.
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