I enjoyed The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas a few years ago, and snapped up The Survival Kit when I saw it at the local public library.
This was a quick read - instantly engaging as I read about Rose and the struggles in her life. Rose is grieving the loss of her mother to cancer. There are lots of things she avoids now: football games, music, her friends, and even her boyfriend Chris has been shut out. Her father is not dealing well with his grief, often coming home drunk.
When Rose discovers a survival kit her mother made for her before her death, Rose begins exploring some of the different items in it, some that lead her back to taking part in things she once enjoyed.
A break-up with her boyfriend seems inevitable, but there is another boy, Will, who seems to be a good fit for Rose. His father passed away from cancer, so he is able to relate to Rose's own grief, even though he has not necessarily stopped grieving himself.
Although time has passed by book's end and Rose has made progress in the grief process, there is no easy answer or happily ever after to losing her mother.
This book was good and there were several points in the story where I felt as though I might be disappointed, and was happily surprised by the way Freitas dealt with different subplots. Chris, Rose's first boyfriend, at first seemed like the sterotypical jock, impatient with his girlfriend who was no longer the "fun" date. Yet, despite their break-up it was Chris who found it the hardest to deal with their break-up, and he who could not get over Rose. My initial impression of him was far off. This was a pleasant turn of events for me, and one not typical of most teen agers I know.
Anyone looking for a great YA realistic fiction novel won't be disappointed with The Survival Kit.