cover image How to Be Brave

How to Be Brave

E. Katherine Kottaras. St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-07280-1

After spending months grieving the death of her mother, who died from complications associated with obesity, high-school senior Georgia decides it’s time to move on with life, fulfilling her mother’s final wish for her to try new things and be fearless. Honoring this request is a challenge for Georgia, who is self-conscious about being overweight, but with prodding from best friend Liss, she creates a “Do Everything Be Brave” list of goals. Set in present-day Chicago, Kottaras’s debut traces Georgia’s struggles and triumphs as she reluctantly sets out to accomplish 15 tasks, which include asking a cute boy on a date, jumping out of a plane, and learning how to draw like her mother. During the process, she makes a new friend, nearly loses an old one, gains insight into her mother’s artistic sensibility, and uncovers talents she never knew existed. 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. Ages 12–up. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Nov.)