Monday, January 7, 2013

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

 Katie's got one for fans of Sarah Dessen:

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

My high school had a mediocre football team. The basketball team had moments of brightness but they were typically overshadowed by a failure to meet expectations. And then there was the hockey team. These guys were good. And their games were the best. Played whenever ice was available--usually late at night on Friday or Saturday--students turned out in droves to support them. There was just something great about the crisp rink air, the charged atmosphere, the physical nature of the game. And it’s a scene all too often forgotten in YA books.

The Survival Kit sets out to right that wrong. But it’s only partly a story about the joy of high school hockey; indeed, that’s only a sliver of what helps Rose deal with her mother’s death. This book takes us through a year of grief and coping and adjustment, not just for Rose but for her whole family. Rose’s mother put together a Survival Kit for her before she passed away from cancer. The kit is a collection of items intended to help her overcome her sadness and learn to love life again.

Unsurprisingly since her mother’s death, Rose has retreated from the people around her--old friends, her boyfriend, even to a certain extent her family. But there is one person around who might understand, or at the very least might be able to help her with the first item in her kit. As Rose and Will work through their grief and personal demons together, Rose finds herself at hockey games in the middle of the night, hanging out with her friends again, and remembering how to laugh and smile and maybe even love. Will and Rose might be exactly what the other person needs if they can set aside their pain and their baggage and look to the future.

Written in the fashion of a Sarah Dessen or Morgan Matson book, this is the story of a girl dealing with very real issues--both the big stuff and the little everyday stuff--and finding out how strong she can be both on her own and with the support of those she loves. The author Donna Freitas combines romance, grief, and hockey to memorable results.

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