There are so many unknowns, and so many possibilities. Sometimes there are things you can say, and talking makes it better. But sometimes, there are no words.
Title: The Best Possible Answer
Author: E. Katherine Kottaras
Publication: November 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review
Summary from Goodreads:
AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check
Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.
Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.
A List of Thoughts:
- The book contains an authentic and realistic portrayal of anxiety and the pressure many students face.
- It is very easy to relate to. I’m sure we all have tales of being told we have to be perfect, get a better score, be first string on a team, get the buzzer beater, etc.
- The book itself embodies the cloaking of one of the larger issues at hand with Viv’s pictures having been leaked. I thought the parallelism between structure and plot was beautifully done and innovative.
- The family dynamic was complicated as hell, and I applaud it. It was heart-breaking to see the different ways the family members interacted.
- The pressure from the family itself, even unintentional, is another factor that is easy to relate to. Younger sister looking up to an older sibling – check. Mother and father not thinking you’re good enough though you do all you can – check. Thinking you’re not good enough because you got an 94% rather than a 100% – check. We’ve all felt some degree of this.
- FRIENDSHIP! One of the biggest emotional impacts in this book is between friends. Viv and Sammie have been friends for years, and it showed. It felt real and believable, and I really wanted to worm my way into their friend group.
- Viv’s emotional journey/ development throughout the book is one of the biggest highlights.
- Self realization, acceptance, and believing in oneself are all main themes.
- The formatting of the chapters was brilliant. Some started off as test questions that Viv answered: essay prompts, actual math questions, physics – it’s mind-blowingly brilliant and fantastic. It only adds more and more layers to the story.
The Best Possible Answer is a must read novel for anyone who has ever felt they weren’t good enough, no matter the circumstances. It is a beautiful story of self-discovery and the strength it takes to believe in yourself.