“THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER,” by E. Katherine Kottaras, St. Martin’s Griffin, Nov. 1, 2016, hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)*
Sometimes you pick up a book that has all the right elements, but it just doesn’t resonate with you. Unfortunately, that was the case for me with E. Katherine Kottaras’ “The Best Possible Answer.”
Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe is the perfect student—AP classes, honors programs, hardworking, dedicated. Then against the wishes of her parents, she starts dating. When Vivi’s boyfriend leaks personal, private pictures to everyone at school, everything falls apart. Add to that her parents’ separation, and Vivi finds herself floating in a world of unknown.
Vivi feels like a complete failure, and that manifests itself in massive panic attacks. Now, instead of going to physics camp for the summer, Vivi is stuck at home. Not everything is lost, though. Vivi manages to talk her mom into letting her take a job at the community pool.
Suddenly, Vivi is immersed in a world with new friends who know nothing about her past. Among those friends is Evan, someone Vivi met years ago who has forgotten all about her. Despite her misgivings about relationships in general, Vivi finds herself drawn to Evan. As she grows closer to him, she learns that being perfect isn’t the only option.
I really wanted to like “The Best Possible Answer” more than I did. I did like it enough to finish it, but I never felt a true connection with Vivi who quite honestly comes across as oblivious when it comes to the real world. This kind of treatment can work, but somehow it doesn’t with her. There were times when I truly felt Vivi’s pain but others when she felt whiny. This is one of those times when I just wished I could have turned off a character’s thoughts. I also found a specific plot twist with her Vivi’s parents to be more than a little convoluted.
“The Best Possible Answer” has its merits, too. In particular, Vivi’s friendship with Evan and her best friend, Sammie, really hit home. I suggest checking it out from the library rather than initially purchasing it.
*I received a digital advanced reader copy of “The Best Possible Answer” from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. My thoughts are my own.
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