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Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave: 07/09/16
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White was inspired by the author's own experience of accidentally being left behind at a gas station by her parents. She decided to turn that moment in her life into a what-if novel.
Liberty and Billie had been living with their mother but after her sudden death, they've been handed over to their absent father. He's a photographer and spends most of his time living out of an RV. He let them out to use the bathroom at a convenience store in Arizona and drove off with out them.
Maybe it's the heat or maybe it's something else, but Liberty decides going to the police isn't the best option. She wants to get in contact with their neighbor from San Diego, a close family friend who is like a surrogate aunt. She's not answering her phone and the girls can't stay out here in the heat.
So they make the decision to get home on their own by becoming stowaways. Most of the book covers their zig-zagging in the high dessert trying to get back to San Diego.
I chose this book originally for the what-if set up but continued reading as it was an interesting narrative for my road narrative project. Road trips are usually focused on people in control — people of means.
This is a story of vulnerable, scared, and grieving children. They make some stupid decisions in a desperate push to get back to the only place that feels like home to them. What this book shows is just how large and dangerous the open road can be. Not dangerous from the people driving, but from the elements themselves.