Name: Brave Enough by Kati Gardner
Date Published: Expected August 21, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Goodreads Rating: 4.03/5 Stars
How I acquired it: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions below.
Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory. She never really had a choice of whether she learned to dance or not. Her mother, the conservatory’s artistic director, has made all the decisions in Cason’s life. But that’s about to change. Cason has been hiding an injury, and it’s much worse than anyone imagines.
Davis Channing understands all too well what it’s like to give up control of your life. He’s survived cancer, but his drug addiction nearly killed him. Now he’s been sober for seven months and enjoying his community service at the hospital. But just when he thinks he’s got it together, Davis’s ex-girlfriend, who is still battling her addiction, barrels back into his life.
Cason and Davis are not friends. But, as their worlds collide, they will start to depend on one another. Can they both be brave enough to beat the odds?
Reading Level: ★★★★
My Overall Rating: ★★★★ ½
Cason’s dream was to be a ballerina. It’s what she’s spent her whole life working towards. When her injury completely takes away that opportunity, she has to decide if she’s going to keep fighting for her dreams or see if there are other dreams she should consider. Davis is a cancer survivor. However, this time last year he was put in a rehab center because of his drug addiction. His doctor is extremely hard on him because he fought his way through cancer only to risk dying from his addiction. Now Davis is 7 months sober but still struggles every day. When Cason and Davis’ lives connect they learn to lean on each other when things are rough.
Cason is the beautiful ballerina and Davis is the drug addict. At least that’s what society leads you to believe. When Cason is forced into Davis’ life she begins to lean on him and his past as strength to fight what she is going through. Their relationship blooms a little quickly but it is not unrealistic and makes the romantic aspect of this book fun and easy despite what they are going through.
I was sure I was going to spend the whole book crying. Romance + Cancer + Drug Addiction + Crushed Dreams + Hope I mean it had all the makings of heartache (in other words, the sequel to Fault in Our Stars). However, I only cried a couple times. Gardner threw in enough humor and gave the characters enough dedication that it made me push for them and hope for them instead of feeling sorry for them.
In the end acknowledgements you learn Gardner is a cancer survivor and she based Cason’s story from her own so I understand why she ended the book the way she did. However, I wish we had been able to learn more about what happened to each of the characters and what becomes of Cason and Davis’ relationship. But I’m glad Cason was able to find the dream she was looking for and Davis found the strength he needed. It was a cancer story that, while sad, also filled the reader with hope and determination to find their own strength and follow their own dreams.