THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER, November 1, 2016, St. Martin’s Press
“A sensitive novel about accepting imperfection.” -Kirkus Review
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 might be getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viviana 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 (and really nice!) guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viviana 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.
Advance Praise for The Best Possible Answer:
“Vivi’s vividly portrayed panic attacks and pressure to succeed will speak to many readers. Supporting characters are also strong. A sensitive novel about accepting imperfection.” -Kirkus Review
“Kottaras’ creative use of ‘College Admission Tips’ and tongue-in-cheek SAT questions at the start of each chapter adds a terrific satiric touch to the angst around all things college, and will speak to teens looking for a life amid the pressures and expectations of their high-school journey. A warmhearted and sensitive coming-of-age romance.” -Booklist
“A complicated family drama about living with betrayal and learning how to open oneself again to love.” -Publisher’s Weekly
“Vivi’s character development is complete as she grapples with her own mistakes and copes with anxiety… Kottaras realistically depicts the difficulties that working parents face… The side story of Professor Cox, who has schizophreniz, conveys the importance of advocacy for those who face mental illness.” – School Library Journal
“Viviana has spent her entire life being perfect — from grades to dating — but when a series of unfortunate events unravel that perfection, she’s left wondering who she is. It’s an unlikely new job and an unlikely new beau that lead her down the path of self-discovery and she’s excited to find a version of herself that might just not be as perfect as she’d once thought. [An] emotional, personal story.” -Teen Vogue
“The Best Possible Answer is a beautiful exploration of the power that lies in the secrets we keep from ourselves and others, as well as the transformative nature of the truth.” – Jessica Love, author of In Real Life
“Authentic, gripping, and emotional, The Best Possible Answer is a study in mistakes—how they define us, and how they don’t. Readers will identify with Viviana as she grapples with family, friendship, and love, and learns the ultimate lesson—that her future doesn’t have to be determined by her past. The false veneer of perfection collides with trust and identity in a book that is both honest and brave.” – Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts
“Once again, Kottaras has written beautifully about bravery, strength, and resilience in the face of devastating loss. An uplifting commentary on the beauty and necessity of accepting life’s gifts even as it stands on your chest, refusing to let you breathe. Viviana fights through setbacks and heartbreak, showing us all what it means to be resilient. A tough but extraordinary read!” ―Charlotte Huang, author of For the Record
An emotional contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and having the courage to chase the life you truly want.
Reeling from her mother’s death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave – all the things she’s wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she’s always been afraid to do – including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most – and you learn that you’re stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
Click here for a reading guide for HOW TO BE BRAVE.
Praise for How to Be Brave:
“Georgia’s realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc. A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Kottaras’s debut traces Georgia’s struggles and triumphs as she reluctantly sets out to fulfill her mother’s final wish for her to try new things and be fearless. Georgia’s Greek-American heritage offers a distinctive backdrop for the novel’s themes of emotional healing and self-discovery, while Georgia herself emerges as a realistically flawed and genuine protagonist.” –Publishers Weekly
“The book’s strongest sections are the lyrical flashbacks that tell the story of her mother’s life and death, but Georgia’s struggles with weight and body image are also handled with care. A perfect book for anyone trying to figure out what they want their life to look like, and how to be brave enough to make that life a reality.” –Booklist
“How to Be Brave is an exceptional novel that will hold the reader’s rapt attention from beginning to end. Deftly crafted and specifically recommended for your readers ages 12 to 17, How to Be Brave will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections.” –Midwest Book Review
“As a character, Georgia is a breath of fresh air. Her story is inspirational, but her insecurities are real and relatable. Kottaras’ prose is gorgeous, and is interwoven with moving snippets of poetry. How to Be Brave is a soulful debut that crawled right into my heart and still remains there, long after I’ve finished reading.” -Farrah Penn, Buzzfeed
“Powerful and rare, How to Be Brave is a wonderfully told story with gleams of humor and wit that will inspire readers to live their lives for real.” –Robyn Schneider, Bestselling author of The Beginning of Everything
“How to Be Brave is a celebration of life, from the captivating open page to the emotional ending. Kottaras acutely and poetically depicts the painful struggle of re-finding yourself after a defining loss-and the stark effects of both success and failure along the way-in a lovely, heartfelt debut.” -Dahlia Adler, author of Behind the Scenes
“Just enough sass, just enough heart, and a narrator to root for. How to be Brave ushered me into another yet familiar world. Come along for the ride. You’ll be glad you did.” -Ron Koertge, award winning author of Coaltown Jesus
“How To Be Brave does a cartwheel in your heart. It artfully reminds us that bravery forges a path through fear and grief.” –Courtney C. Stevens, author of The Lies About Truth