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Translate My Heart

I am a twenty-something year old with a fondness for books, snail mail and summer dresses. I work in a bookshop and live in the pages of books.

The Survival Kit

The Survival Kit - Donna Freitas A picture of peonies, a crystal heart, an iPod, a paper star, a box of crayons and a tiny handmade kite made up Rose's Survival Kit - a kit made by her mother before she died in a devastating battle against cancer. Before her mother's death, Rose was a vibrant girl in the center of the school's social scene and dating the popular captain of the football them. Now she is a shell of her former self; quitting cheerleading and ending her rocky relationship with her boyfriend. Her only tie to her former life is her best friend, Krupa. With the discovery of the survival kit, can Rose begin to heal and piece her heart together?Poor heartbroken Rose. I can't say I love the character, but I certainly empathize with her as she struggles to grieve and move on while holding the family together, especially dealing with her father's drinking binges. Her grief and reactions felt very powerfully real that it did not seem like a struggle of a character in a novel. Freitas did a good job fleshing out Rose's character.I cannot say the same with the secondary characters or the love interest, Will. They felt very underdeveloped and while ultimately this is Rose's story, I wish they had more personality infused into the story. Krupa, the best friend, could easily be a very interesting character, yet for most of the story she seem to serve as a prop than an individual character with her own potential story. A positive note on her secondary characters is that they never dissolve into the mean jock stereotype. All the characters were very much kind and nice people and it is good to see nice cheerleaders.With such a difficult subject matter, books on grief and death can easily get bogged down. The Survival Kit never gets to that point. While some of the dialogue could be fixed - there were some points where the dialogue felt formal and wooden - most of it flowed together to craft a moving story on loss. However with so many other books on the subject matter, Freitas' story does not stand out in the crowd for me. I felt no connection with the story compared to Nina LaCour's Hold Still or Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, both books with similar themes that I love and felt deeply for.While The Survival Kit did not find a home in my heart, I am confident that this book will appeal to other readers out there.