ARC Review: How To Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras

Sunday, August 2, 2015
How To Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release date: November 3rd 2015
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes and Noble's
Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she's always been afraid to do - including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn't always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most - and you learn that you're stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
*I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

This is yet another books which is centralized on a kind of bucket list. While I haven't read Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, I'm pretty sure that book was about some kind of bucket list, too. A book I reviewed earlier, 18 Things, also featured a bucket list.

Now you might see where I'm going with this. I'm a bit tired of contemporaries that have the same kind of plot point. It kind of takes away the originality of the book, and honestly, I couldn't care less about whether the protagonist wants to go skinny-dipping or not. This kind of plot points makes the book predictable, a little repetitive and when you see it in more than one book, you can observe a formula emerging. It feels like you're reading the same book over and over again.

And that is probably why this book wasn't a hit for me. When I requested this on Netgalley, I was hoping that the author would have some fresh take on the whole "bucket list" concept. When that didn't happen, I very quickly grew bored with this book, BUT I can't say it was a terrible book, and it did have it's plus points.

For example, I liked the writing style. There were slightly poetic passages that were written beautifully, and  flowed very smoothly. The only problem with it was that sometimes it lulled me to boredom. It really depends on what kind of writing style keeps you reading, and normally, I wouldn't mind this kind of style if only the plot was exciting. (Case point: Daughter of Smoke and Bone). But because I didn't find the plot very impressive (it was predictable and the pacing was a bit slow, as opposed to Daughter if Smoke and Bone), it was boring.

The characters. They were okay. I felt like this is a book where you should fall in love with the characters and sob over their angst, but that didn't happen. All the side characters were like cardboard cut-outs, showing only one face. Daniel was the perfect crush who is completely understanding and *gasp* may just like the Georgia (the protagonist) back, Liss is the quirky, fun best friend, Evelyn is the troubled teen, Avery is the high school queen bully who secretly nurses her insecurity and Georgia's father is the absent, grief-stricken parent. Yawn! All of these characters seemed one dimensional and their personalities when no deeper than their designated stereotypes.

The main character, Georgia, was not too bad. I liked her and everything, but she still seemed a bit meh. I really liked her connection to art and how that connected her to her mother, but I didn't really see much character development through this novel. Sure, she may have been a bit braver,  bit more artistic and and bit more connected to her dad by the end of the book, but that was it.

How To Be Brave, was, overall, an okay read. My feelings when it comes to this book are completely apathetic, which is a disappointment because I expected it to be heart-warming and exciting. I appreciate the diversity and Greek references, but otherwise this book felt like a very formulaic contemporary.

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