Saturday, November 5, 2016

THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER BY E. KATHERINE KOTTARAS - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras. Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Well ladies and gentlemen, I have a new favourite book. Here it is!

This book follows Viviana, a 16 year old stressing about everything. Doing well on her AP exams, going to an engineering academy for the summer to hone her skills to be accepted into Stanford for engineering, like her father, just being perfect in general. But when she collapses from exhaustion, coupled with her less than perfect behaviour, including sending a scandalous photo to her then-now-ex boyfriend, who decided he wasn't the only one fit to see it, her parents decide to cancel the engineering academy. So Viviana is stuck, trying to forget what happened at school and stave off the next panic attack. Her best friend Sammie gets her a job at the pool by their apartment building and she meets Evan for the second time (the first was four years ago, playing seven minutes in heaven (more like 15 seconds) at a party; although they both kind of forgot about the other). Viviana is not looking for anything, so when Sammie expresses interest in Evan, she tells her to go for it.

There is a lot of stuff happening at home too. Viviana's parents are getting divorced, her father has been in "Singapore" on business for 6 months and her mother's gone back to school to try and get a degree to help support Viviana and her little sister, Mila. I won't say anything else about the plot because there is a twist that you just need to experience yourself.

I really loved Viviana's character, she was so convinced she had to do everything a certain way, and when something bad happened, even if it wasn't, she would constantly convince herself it was her fault. The author depicts her panic attacks very real and raw, and I was really intrigued by the way Mila reacted to Viviana. She was her role model, and there was one heartbreaking part where Mila drew a family portrait, but was so upset she couldn't get Viviana's arms right, she erased and re-drew it many times, before finally ripping it up because it wasn't perfect. This really showed how obsessive their family life had become. I think being the child of a first generation immigrant also had an effect on Viviana and her sister, their mother came to Chicago from the former Soviet Union when she was a teenager to make a better life for herself.

The twist threw me for such a loop - I was not expecting that. It was hard for me personally to read, because it brought up a lot of stuff from my past, but I cannot even begin to imagine how that must have felt for Viviana and her family, especially her mother. While I don't necessarily agree with her choices getting to that point, I do think she is making the right decisions now.

I will say that this isn't the romance I was expecting. Yes, there is a little bit, mainly towards the end, but this story as a whole is about Viviana accepting who she is and figuring out what to do with her life. It's much deeper than falling for a cute lifeguard. As the saying goes, she has to learn to love herself before she can let others in.

It is set in the summer time, and most of the events take place at the pool where the girls work for the summer, but I still think it is a good read any time of the year, especially if your winters are anything like mine, and you need some metaphorical sunshine in your life.

There were just so many little things that were so well thought out and worked beautifully in this story. Viviana and Sammie having Binocular and Braiding Sessions, I could just see them sitting together, braiding each others hair, making up stories about their neighbours, what they're lives are life, what they're eating for dinner. Just little seemingly insignificant parts of the book that really round things out.

Overall, if it wasn't clear already, I loved this book and highly recommend you pick it up!