Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

Brave Enough by Kati Gardner

When reviewing books by a person with a disability it can be easy to accidently fall into an ableist mindset and share how inspirational the book was or how strong the characters are, but after reading Kati Gardner’s Brave Enough all I can say is how sweet, honest and heartwarming this book is to read. This book is not inspirational, Cason, Davis and Marti are all so wholesome and whole heartedly themselves which is heartwarming to read. They are true to themselves in every selfish and caring second, through the best and worst of cancer. Cason, Davis and Marti are all at different stages of recovery from cancer, addiction and just being alive in general. This book is so honest and genuine with Cason and her mother learning how to navigate their new relationship to each other and her new friendship with Davis. This book shows how Cason’s injury doesn’t close up one world but opens her up to a new world of friendship, fun and summer camp. This book takes everyone where they are and is able to just spread happiness and ease. I could easily recognize myself in the characters, Kati Gardner is able to show Cason at her worst and best and shows that you don’t have to be strong all the time to be brave. My favorite part was the way that summer camp was so exciting, I happily went to summer music camp all through high school and it made me happy for others to see how summer camp is not just for elementary school kids. Even though this book was really enjoyable to read there were some parts that felt a little too perfect. Cason, Davis and Marti all come from affluent parts of Georgia, they are all white and they do not have to worry at all about healthcare costs or financial repercussions. Sadly this is a worry that many people who have health issues struggle with and so it would have been great to see that side incorporated in the book. This does not take away from the rest of the book but is just something that should be acknowledged and kept in mind while reading. A topic that this book handles great is addiction. After surviving cancer, Davis also works to recover from his drug addiction, he has been clean for a year but still struggles to leave the impulses and that life behind, this book switches between Davis and Cason’s point of view. When it is from Davis’ point of view, he shows how hard he fights the addiction and the way it affects his relationships with those around him. I find that addiction is not often discusses and presented in this way, in most books it seems that the fight is to get into rehab, but Davis shows what life after rehab is like. Overall, this is just such a great book about friendship and the trails and tribulations of life and summer camp. I would highly recommend this book if you want great characters and a great story.

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