Title: The Survival Kit
Author: Donna Freitas
Release Date: October 11, 2011
My Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: ”When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.
As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?”
I LOVED this book. I felt completely giddy through 80% of the book as if I was actually experiencing what was going, and found myself grinning non-stop. Good thing I was in the privacy of my own room at these points. This was just an adorable book, exactly the kind that I like. It made me feel good in a Sarah Dessen kind of way.
I’ve mentioned before I seem to be a sucker for books that start on the premise of the main character losing a parent. So, naturally, I was drawn into this one. Add in the fact that the male lead is the school’s hockey star, and how could I not love it? Classic Canadian girl, I love hockey, and I love hockey players. It is rare that hockey plays a part in a book, but the fact that it had a role in a book that is all around so ideal for me as this one just makes me overjoyed.
So enough gushing, let’s get down to it. I love the characters, particularly that the ones you are supposed to like still show their flaws, and the characters that you normally wouldn’t like so much in a book still had some very endearing qualities. Take Chris, the initial boyfriend and star quarterback, who is just not right for Rose. In most other books, I probably just wouldn’t like this guy, but all through the story, he remains a good guy, who I have a lot of sympathy for. On the other side, we have the swoon-worthy leading boy (this is YA, I don’t think I can call him a man), who is wonderful, but he is still flawed, and he messes up. The characters have different levels to them, it’s not just black and white, which was quite refreshing. Real life characters aren’t either good or bad with no in between, so it is nice to see that mirrored in fiction. I also loved all of Rose’s friends. They were some seriously good friends, the type you would want to have around when you’re going through hard times.
The Survival Kit was an emotional, heart-warming story, that I would recommend to any fan of contemporary YA. I am surprised to see that it doesn’t have all that many reviews on Goodreads yet, but I feel like with time people will discover it and love it.
I got this one from the library, but it is definitely going on my to-buy list as a new favourite. It really had all the elements of a good contemporary YA that I love. Sigh.