The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine KottarasThe Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
Published by Macmillan on November 1, 2016
Pages: 272
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

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks secret pictures of her to the entire school—pictures no one was ever meant to see. Making matters worse, her parents might be getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new circle of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous and intriguing guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again—trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi 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.

E. Katherine Kottaras once again captures what it means to be a teenager in The Best Possible Answer.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

E. Katherine Kottaras creates a spellbinding novel about how to regain control of your life after it falls to pieces in The Best Possible Answer. It’s a story about trust and friendship, a story about anxiety, and a story about finding yourself after some crazy curve balls knock you down. Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe is a memorable character who will stay with you long after you finish the book.

Review of The Best Possible Answer

I live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. The first thing I noticed about The Best Possible Answer is that Kottaras portrays anxiety attacks honestly. So honest, in fact, that those passages were hard for me to read. My body had physiological responses as I read about her episodes. It was fleeting for me because I’m being treated with medication. However, I think the response is worth nothing to all readers, especially those who may live with anxiety and not under treatment.  Nevertheless, I do think that my body’s response to Viviana’s anxiety attacks show not only the complexity of the disorder but also the authenticity with which Kottaras writes about it.

Another thing that resonates with me is that Vivi is under a lot of pressure to be one hundred percent perfect at all things. It’s literally impossible, and I feel for her so much. One mistake ruins her plans, but what’s the most interesting is that it’s this mistake that allows her to free herself from the metaphorical shackles that her family has placed on her. She gets to explore who she is and what she wants, and that’s a very powerful thing.

The characters and relationships were honest. The book is less about romance (which I like) and more about interpersonal relationships. Vivi tries so hard to be the perfect friend to Sammie. The perfect daughter. The perfect sister. She finally realizes that perfect does not necessarily equal good and that these people love her for who she is, flaws and all.

The addition of her father’s “other family” story line was interesting. It had the potential to be unnecessary and/or unrealistic, but I think Kottaras tells the story well. It adds a layer of complexity to the story at just the right moment.

Verdict

If you want a spellbinding, heartbreaking, powerful book about mental illness and interpersonal relationships, reach for The Best Possible Answer. E. Katherine Kottaras shows us her talent and range with this book. I’ve put her on my auto-buy list, and you should too.

five-stars

© 2016, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.

  • This sounds really good and I’m impressed by how authentic the passages on her anxiety were. So often it seems like a character has anxiety but it’s just window dressing or it’s fixed with a maddening ease. I’ll have to look for this one. I’ve been reading a little more YA lately and this sounds interesting.

    • One of the reasons why I like this book so much is that nothing is really “fixed” by the end. Some relationships get sorted out, but the problems are still there. I think you’ll like it.