The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

the survival kit donna freitasI knew I had to read Donna Freita's The Survival Kit after reading Kelly's review of it at Stacked. When Kelly says something is pitch perfect I sit up and pay attention. She has never steered me wrong.

Rose's mother dies at the end of Rose's sophomore year of high school. It was her second round of cancer. She beat it back the first time and everyone was convinced that she'd beat it again. When she didn't it came as a shock to all of them and left them in pieces. Rose's father escapes with booze. Rose's brother goes back to college. And Rose just doesn't escape at all. She keeps her family together but keeps herself mostly closed off. She has just one thing that helps her feel -- the survival kid her mother left for her.

Rose's mother was famous for her survival kits. She was an elementary school teacher who always thought the first day of school was harder on the parents than the children, so she made the parents a survival kit including, most famously, a paper kite. Rose's survival kit contains several items including a kite, an iPod and a crystal heart. Rose spends the next year working through her survival kit. She learns to love people again.  Rose's mother left her the items to help her rebuild herself.

Rose's progression from a state of deep grief to one where she was able to find happiness again was believable. At times it felt like it was going a wee bit too fast and then something would happen that would set her back a couple of steps. That felt right, as did her complicated relationship with Chris and her budding interest in Will.  And I must say, as a hockey fan, it was darned nice to see a hockey player with in a major role in the book -- even if at one point I really wanted someone to give him a good hard check into the boards.

The Survival Kit is good, solid contemporary young adult novel that I really can't recommend enough. And I love the idea of the survival kits themselves.

Who would you make a survival kit for and what would you put in it?