Brave Enough

Brave Enough

by Kati Gardner


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Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory. She never really had a choice of whether she learned to dance or not. Her mother, the conservatory's artistic director, has made all the decisions in Cason's life. But that's about to change. Cason has been hiding an injury, and it's much worse than anyone imagines.

Davis Channing understands all too well what it's like to give up control of your life. He's survived cancer, but his drug addiction nearly killed him. Now he's been sober for seven months and enjoying his community service at the hospital. But just when he thinks he's got it together, Davis's ex-girlfriend, who is still battling her addiction, barrels back into his life.

Cason and Davis are not friends. But, as their worlds collide, they will start to depend on one another. Can they both be brave enough to beat the odds?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635830200
Publisher: North Star Editions
Publication date: 08/21/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 597,753
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Kati Gardner is a recovering actor, wife, and mom. She is a childhood cancer survivor and amputee who writes books about disability and kissing. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives and writes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Brave Enough is her first novel. You can find her on Twitter at @AuthorKati, on Instagram at AuthorKatiGardner, and at

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Brave Enough 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
JennGrand More than 1 year ago
Cason is an immensely talented ballerina, but one day, her future shatters at the same time as her femur. She had been dancing through incredible pain, and now comes face-to-face with the reality that she has cancer. While in cancer treatment, she meets Davis, who is also a cancer survivor and sober from his addiction to pain meds.  Their friendship is sweet, and a huge support to Davis who is trying to keep his ex-girlfriend's dealer out of his life.  This book was beautiful, heartbreaking and heart-wrenching. I am so blessed to not have personal experience with childhood cancer, but reading Brave Enough gave me a small glimpse into the world that these kids grow up in. It's a wonderful read, even as difficult as some of it is to read through.
Jennifer Holt More than 1 year ago
While I couldn't connect with Davis or Cason as characters, I definitely could with what they were going through as those subjects are all too real in this day and age. Cason sees her dream of dancing (she's the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory) slip away as an unthinkable diagnosis is revealed and Davis - a cancer survivor and now 7 months sober - fights to stay clean. There is definite insta-love when they first meet (which I'm not a fan of) and from there they rely on each other (and their friends) to navigate their new lives and all the hardships that come along with it. Brave Enough is a triumphant read centered around very real topics while still managing to balance young love, family dynamics, and friendships. *Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review early.*
Candice_S More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely delightful YA read - compelling, heartwarming and inspiring in all the right ways. I completely flew through this read, it was so fast paced and filled with tiny cliffhangers that kept you holding on, desperate to see what is going to happen to these characters you fall in love with. Synopsis: Cason is a tremendously talented ballerina, who has been hiding an injury that explodes to destroy her entire life as she knew it. Davis is a cancer survivor and recovering drug addict who is struggling to put the pieces of his life back together. Their worlds collide one day in the children's ward of the oncology hospital where Cason is learning a new normal, and Davis is fighting to stay sober and reset his path. Kati Gardener is wonderfully talented at writing characters who you can connect with, sympathize for and cheer on wildly, hoping that they are going to get a happy ever after, after all. I completely appreciated that she wrote both Cason and Davis as very real, struggling humans, who weren't able to immediately rebound from every setback, and who spent good chunks of time in dark places. It felt very honest and true to the paths they were on - and didn't shy away from the fact that a cancer diagnosis and drug addiction are not going to be easy to fight through. While there was some sense of repetitiveness to their individual mental spaces, it made sense for who they are, and didn't slow down the story in any way. I loved that the plot clipped along, never getting to heavily weighted down by heaviness of the content. This was a wonderful story, and one that readers will fall head over heels in love with in no time at all. Trigger Warning: This book blatantly deals with a struggling drug recovery, and the realities of the desire to use. If addiction is a trigger for you, please proceed with caution.
dailydoseofreading More than 1 year ago
This book has great storyline and plot. The characters were amazing especially Cason and Davis (of course because they’re both the main star of this book). This book also focus on other cancer survivor kids who were trying to gain their strength and confidence back, and also showed how they overcome their struggles. Cason was a ballerina but ever since she found out she had tumor on her leg, her life changed since then. She thought she never dance again. Her leg gets amputated and she lost all confidence to dance, even though she tried so hard to believe she can dance again but she just doesn’t have that confidence anymore. All hope is lost for her. She was in pain, heartbroken by the fact that she had to live with one leg. Every time she said “I want to dance,” it broke my heart like I can imagine how hurt she felt. The other cancer survivor kids including her doctors convinced her that she will be able to dance again and that she needs to practice. So she decided to believe in their words and start practicing. She was brave enough to overcome her own struggle and practice as hard as she can so that she can dance again. On the other hand, Davis was an addict and also a cancer survivor, he’d been sober for 1 year. It was rough for him because there are times where he just want to use the drugs again but he washed away that thoughts. Some people looked down on him and even judged him for his past but that didn’t stop him from moving on with his life and stay sober and do something good. Both Cason and Davis had their rough days, both faced lots of problem. Cason had to deal with the fact that she had one leg, meanwhile Davis had to deal with the fact that Ethan (his old dealer) threatened to kill him and he also had to deal with the death of Alexis (his ex-girlfriend). There’s so much going on, but it only gave them strength to fight harder to survived the situations they’re in. The side characters were also great such as Mari, Jase, Heather, Kelsey and so on. These characters helped both Cason and Davis with their problem, gave them advice, helped them see the light again so that they don’t lose hope. And then..there’s Natalie who is Cason’s mom. Talking about annoying character. She annoyed me for like 10 chapters straight, she looked down on the other cancer survivor kids and told Cason not to be friends with any of them, like “what???” She doesn’t care about the fact that Cason had cancer, all she care is that she wants Cason to be the best dancer and she always pushed Cason harder. Like c’mon give the girl a break. I started to like her character when she finally realized that Cason’s health is far more important than dancing after Cason got her leg amputated. She started attending the parents support group at the hospital and even let Cason went to camp chemo with the rest of the cancer survivor kids. Natalie hands down had the best character development in the book. Totally loved the whole story. The ending was perfect and written so well. This book is totally inspiring. Worth the read, I was so amazed by the story.
SummerMondays More than 1 year ago
This book reminded me a modern version of the Lurlene McDaniels books I read as a teenager. But, even better! The story of a ballerina dealing with cancer meeting a boy who had cancer could be a sweet and cheesy story, but the challenges that are faced and the alternating voices telling the story keep it fresh. Our main character Cason is not just a dancer, she is going to be a prime ballerina and her whole world changes with one word, cancer. There is authenticity to this novel that is missing in many that deal with cancer, and that is no doubt due to the fact that it is own voices with Kati Gardner being a cancer survivor. I knew about the dancing and the cancer when I went into the book, I was not prepared for the second voice in the novel of another teen who dealt with cancer but also had newer demons he was struggling with. This secondary storyline and the intertwining of the two is what made this book something new for me as a reader and what truly made it feel like I was reading about real people.
AngRI More than 1 year ago
My Review: I received this book via Netgalley with no obligation. The following is my honest review. I was immediately attracted to this book because of the cover and the mention of ballet. I have always loved books where the character is involved with dance in some way, though I don't often read YA contemporary anymore, I really wanted to give this one a shot. I found it to be very reminiscent of the Lurlene McDaniels books I consumed as a teenager. The one major difference was that Cason's perspective was much more true to life with major emotions. I really liked reading her story and the way she developed as a character and influenced those around her. On the other hand I was not a fan of Davis, I clearly did not read the full synopsis because I am not a fan of drug abuse being a part of the books I read, even recovery and sober. Though again his struggle was very real and it was clear that one never fully recovers from an addiction, it is a constant battle. I am glad that the bit of romance did not completely take over the story line but it did add that bit of connection and support that was needed for the characters to move forward.
PattySmith87 More than 1 year ago
My thanks to Netgalley, Flux, and Kati Gardner for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine and independent of receiving an advanced copy. So I don’t even know what to say. It has been few days and I thought if I had time to process maybe I would know what to write, but still, I can’t find the words. Giving it a 5 star rating should be enough of a clue because I don’t give those very often. This book hit all the right notes for me. It was truth all wrapped up in every chapter. I took my time reading it because I didn’t want to rush through anything and needed to feel the feelings as I was reading. I was taken completely by surprise. It is a fiction, young adult novel and I wasn’t expecting that much rawness and reality. After I read a book blurb and decide if I am interested in a book I put it on my TBR list. It can be months before I receive it as a giveaway or purchase it, and more months before I might read it. I never go back to the blurb, or read about the author. I just dive in. So to be fair, I didn’t know what I was getting into. Let me start off by saying that I am a cancer survivor. I am just moving into the phase of calling myself a survivor and it feel weird. I have been sick for the past few years but I am in a good place now. So, I didn’t realize that it was a book about cancer. I am sure when I read the blurb that probably interested me. But it isn’t only about cancer. It is about addiction, young love and other stuff and that is also why it interested me. I have not read much in the way of “cancer” books, fiction or non fiction. I have been “in it” and reading other people’s stories has felt too much for me. Boy, am I glad I read this. I think everyone, adult, young adult, children, should read this book because it talks about the experience in such an accessible way. It lets you look at the anger, the fear, the pain and the good that can come from the cancer “journey (uchh - I hate that word but I just can’t . I should have known that the author is also a cancer survivor. It is not her exact story but it is everyones story, in a way. There is no real way for someone to write so accurately about the experience unless you’ve walked it. It also is a story about addiction and again, how it doesn’t follow a straight line, how difficult it is, and how sometimes, you just need a miracle. Briefly, it is a story about a girl named Cason. She is a ballerina. Ballet is her life and she is just about to go professional when the pain in her leg turns out to be cancer. While going through treatment she meets a boy named Davis. He is a cancer survivor who then became a drug addict. Their love story is cute and sweet and not a straight line. When Cason gets her leg amputated she feels like she can’t be with him anymore. I understand because when you lose a body part you don’t feel like yourself. You don’t feel worthy and a relationship can be difficult. Davis has his own problems. His ex-girlfriend just overdosed and he feels responsible. The need to use again is so strong he can’t be there for Cason. Cason has a difficult relationship with her mom, who was her ballet director and drove her very hard. This is a typical storyline of tough mother who breaks down and they become closer than ever because of cancer storyline. I didn’t buy this but knew why it was there. Family relationships are tough and they don’t always survive. The story also focuses on camp for kids going through cancer and what a rewarding e
jvpoore More than 1 year ago
Cason Martin is not a typical high-school student. She attends—half-days and classes only. Isolating, yet unavoidable. As prima ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory properly preparing to audition for the American Ballet Theatre, she only has time to dance. This plan has been in place for as long as Cason can remember. No distractions allowed—certainly not this nagging pain in her knee. Everything changes in an instant when Cason learns that she won’t be pampering a pulled muscle. The injury, in fact, is a much bigger deal. Natalie Martin probably wouldn’t be a warm-and-fuzzy maternal figure even if she wasn’t Cason’s artistic director first, single-parent second. Nonetheless, her assessment of her daughter’s diagnosis as an inconvenient time-burglar is almost stunning. Cason isn’t necessarily surprised by her mom’s reaction, but she can’t help being disappointed and frustrated. Maybe she can’t count on her mother, but no one should suffer sickness alone. It is often other adolescents that have dealt with disease who come together to create the strongest support system. Davis Channing conquered cancer, but now he has a different fight on his hands—with the demon of addiction. Recovering while repaying his debt to society has Davis volunteering in the very hospital that treated him. He may not be just what Cason needs, but the dude knows everyone and is effortlessly the epitome of a kind soul. His sincere desire to be beneficial is evident. The fact that he could use a friend right now, is not. I read a lot as a teen, but I can only recall one instance when a serious illness affected anyone my age. Now, we have non-fiction and realistic-fiction options for high-school and middle-grade readers that talk about kids being seriously sick. Ms. Gardner joins awe-inspiring authors such as Josh Sundquist, Sophia Bennett, Jordan Sonnenblick, and John Green to fill this void. Compassionately composed, Brave Enough is an honest journey from heart-ache to hope that deftly demonstrates the strength, resilience and adaptability of our youth. This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books, with huge thanks to North Star Editions/Flux Publicity Department for the Advance Review Copy.