The Survival Kit

The Survival Kit

4.9 18
by Donna Freitas
     
 

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When Rose's mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose's Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again

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Overview

When Rose's mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose's Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.

As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family's gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she's going through. Can loss lead to love?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Freitas (The Gorgeous Game), a PW contributor, delves into the heart and mind of a grieving teen in this insightful story of recovery. After 16-year-old Rose loses her mother to cancer, her interests in cheerleading, football games, and her quarterback boyfriend diminish. Then she discovers the survival kit her mother created for her, a paper bag filled with symbolic items—a photograph of peonies, an iPod, a box of crayons, and more. As Rose learns the meaning behind the objects, she cautiously begins to reach beyond her grief to once again appreciate life. The process is both painful and rewarding, but she makes a significant step forward by bonding with Will, a hockey star who has also dealt with a parent’s death. Those who have lost a loved one will recognize a part of themselves in Rose and appreciate her quest to find the inner strength to reconfigure the shattered pieces of her life. Even though readers never meet Rose’s mother, they will come to know how special she was through the treasures she left behind and her enormous impact on her family. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“…a heartfelt…story of loss and love.” —School Library Journal

“A worthy addition for a teen coping with her own loss or struggling to help friends or family cope with theirs.” —VOYA

“Love and death are always a potent mix, and in the hands of a talented writer like Freitas, this is especially so.” —Booklist

“As fragile and lovely as a rose.” —Jenny Han, author of We'll Always Have Summer

“Fans of Sarah Dessen will fall for this deeply moving tale of family, loss, and falling in love.” —Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway

“This book was so gorgeous. I loved Rose, I swooned over Will. This is an amazing story about love, loss, and the healing power of music.I adored it!” —Morgan Matson, author of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

“Those who have lost a loved one will recognize a part of themselves in Rose and appreciate her quest to find the inner strength to reconfigure the shattered pieces of her life.” —Publishers Weekly

“Rose's cathartic interactions with her survival kit provide a creative way to show that mother always does know best.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Sarah Dessen will fall for this deeply moving tale of family, loss, and falling in love.” —Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway

“This book was so gorgeous. I loved Rose, I swooned over Will. This is an amazing story about love, loss, and the healing power of music.I adored it!” —Morgan Matson, author of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

VOYA - Donna Phillips
Rose Madison is surviving after her mother loses a second bout with cancer. Older brother Jim is starting college, and Rose is left to struggle alone with Dad's drinking. She no longer cares about cheerleading or her once-intimate relationship with star quarterback boyfriend, Chris. Only best friend, Krupa, and her family's Indian cuisine lend spice to a life gone gray. The familiar plot is given a fresh twist as Rose discovers a lunch-sack survival kit her mother left for her. These objects—a picture of peonies, an iPod, a heart necklace, a box of crayons, a gold star, and a small kite—gradually nudge her back to life and help her find meaning amid her grief. Through its poetic language and attention to character, the book survives the cliches of the dead mom high school drama. Jim Sr. and Jim Jr. are sparsely but effectively drawn. New boyfriend Will, though a hockey jock, is a satisfying foil to football star Chris. Rose's cheerleader friends are not stereotypically mean or perky. Grandma Madison is tough and funny in the style of Richard Peck's Grandma Dowdel in his series of the same name. The premise of the survival kit, a real-life tradition from Freitas's own mother, begs to be discussed and glued-and-scissored with friends, students, teachers, and librarians. A copy of The Survival Kit would be a worthy addition for a teen coping with her own loss or struggling to help friends or family cope with theirs. Reviewer: Donna Phillips
Children's Literature - Kate Walker
Rose Madison is starting her junior year without an important person: her mother, who died of cancer in June. The day of the funeral Rose discovers a package with her name on it hanging with a dress in her mother's closet— a Survival Kit, like the ones her mother famously gave the parents of her preschoolers every year. Unable to face the contents, Rose hides it away until school starts and she can no longer ignore her problems. With the help of the boy now taking care of her mother's beloved gardens, her best friend, and her family, Rose begins to heal— but will her father's drinking problem cause another tragedy in their family? This book is a fantastic portrayal of the process of healing, from how long it can take to be ready to start, to the many bumps and challenges along the way, to acceptance and survival. Though at times early in the story Rose seems a bit too psychologically aware of her emotions, such as why she no longer wants her then-boyfriend to kiss or touch her, it is obviously written by a hand who has felt loss and wants to help others understand and heal as well. While those who have recently experienced a loss might find the topic a bit too close-to-home to take in the messages, this would be a wonderful book for friends or family members trying to understand how to help someone in need. At times the dialogue can read too perfectly for the situation, but in this kind of book it's better to err on the side of words coming out too right for reality than not being "right" enough.
Kirkus Reviews

A story of struggle in which 16-year-old Rose fights to bloom again after her mother's death from cancer.

When Rose's mother died, Rose felt as if her life had stopped. She no longer has any interest in her friends, cheerleading or her quarterback boyfriend, Chris. Despite her best efforts she cannot seem to hold onto what is left of her family as alcoholism threatens to destroy her home life. But her mom did not leave Rose without any help. On the day of her mom's funeral, Rose finds a "survival kit" left by her mother, which contains what seems to be a hodgepodge of cryptic items, such as an iPod filled with meaningful songs, a photo of peonies and a miniature crystal heart. All were carefully chosen to help Rose overcome her grief and move on to adulthood. As Rose slowly decodes the survival kit's contents, she finds that each item plays a creative role in helping her deal with her loss, including connecting her with Will, a classmate who has also lost a parent but whom she never took the time to notice. Freitas also gives Rose the redoubtable Grandma Madison, who provides some appealingly crusty support of her own. Flashbacks of Rose's mother's illness punctuate her first-person account of her slow healing.

Although somewhat predictable, Rose's cathartic interactions with her survival kit provide a creative way to show that mother always does know best.(Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374399177
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/11/2011
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
756,268
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Survival Kit


By Donna Freitas

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Copyright © 2011 Donna Freitas
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780374399177

SURVIVAL KIT
JUNEThe Dress Made of Night1CAN'T GO BACK NOWI found it on the day of my mother's funeral, tucked in a place she knew I would look. There it was, hanging with her favorite dress, the one I'd always wanted to wear."Someday when you are old enough," she used to say.Is sixteen old enough?After the last mourners left the house, Dad, my brother, Jim, and I began arguing about Mom's stuff--What were we going to do with it? Who got what? Dad wanted to get rid of everything and I wanted it kept exactly as she left it. After the yelling and the sad, alternating silences became too much, I ran off. Suddenly, I was at my mother's closet door, grabbing the cold black metal knob, turning it and walking inside, pulling it shut behind me, hearing the hard slam as I was eclipsed by darkness. I fumbled for the string to turn on the light and when my fingers closed around the knot at the bottom, I pulled. Tears sprang to my eyes with the illumination of the bulb and a wave of dizziness passed over me, too, and I collapsed onto the footstool Mom uses--no, used--to reach the higher shelves.That's when I thought: this is a mistake.Everything around me smelled of her--her perfume, her shampoo, her soap. Looking up from my crouch, knees pulled tight to my chest, I saw how her clothes were just there, as if she were still here, as if at any moment she might walk in, looking for a pair of jeans or one of her teacher smocks, splashed across the front with paint splotches. My gaze fell across skirts that would never be worn again, blouses and light cotton dresses that would likely be given away, her gardening hats in a big pile on a low shelf, everything colorful and bright, like the flowers in her garden and the wild, rainbow collages on the walls of her classroom--all except for one dress.With my hands bracing the wall for balance, I stood up and waded through the shoes on the floor, shoving everything in my way aside, until I saw it: the dress made of night, in fabric that was the darkest of blues and dotted over with a million glittering specks of gold. My mother sometimes wore it for a walk on a summer's night or to sit in the pretty wire chairs in the middle of her rose garden, where, when I was little, she would read to me under a flowered sky.Tied to its hanger was a baby blue ribbon, done up neatly in a bow and pulled through a small, perfect circle punched into a brown paper lunch bag. Big, sloping letters in my mother's hand marched across the front in blue marker strokes: Rose's Survival Kit.My heart began to pound. Mom made Survival Kits for so many people during her lifetime--she was famous for them,but never before had she made one for me. I lifted the dress off the bar, the Survival Kit cradled in its midnight blue layers, and carried it out of her closet and down the hall to my room as if it were a body, gently laying it across the bed."Mom?" I whispered, first to the floor, then to the ceiling, then through the open window to the grass and the sky and the flowers in her gardens, as if she might be anywhere. A light summer's breeze snuck up behind me and caressed my cheek and again the word Mom expanded inside me, my attention drawn back to the Survival Kit that was just sitting there, waiting. The top of the bag was creased with a flap so sharp it looked as though she'd ironed it. My fingers fumbled with the fold, the crackle of the paper loud in the silence, when suddenly I stopped. My breath caught and my body shivered, and before I even glimpsed what was inside, I gathered everything into my arms, pressing it against me, and went to my closet. Gowns for homecoming and the prom vied for room among the stacks of folded jeans and sweaters and the cheerleading jacket I'd never worn. Quickly, I shut the dress away with everything else.I closed my eyes tight. Someday I would be ready to open my Survival Kit, but not yet. It was too soon."Rose? Where are you?" Dad's voice rang through the now empty house, causing me to jump, startled. I'd forgotten I wasn't alone, that my father and brother--what was left of my family--were just down the hall."Yeah, Dad?" I called back, taking a deep breath and trying to steady myself."We need you in the kitchen.""Okay! I'll be right there!" I shouted, and did my best to shove all thoughts about the Survival Kit away from my mind.At least for now.Copyright © 2011 by Donna Freitas

Continues...

Excerpted from The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas Copyright © 2011 by Donna Freitas. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Donna Freitas has been a professor at Boston University and at Hofstra in New York. She is currently splitting her time between Barcelona and New York and writing full time.

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The Survival Kit 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can relate to this book because I love music like Rose, I love at least 4+ songs on her Playlist. I highly reccomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was good! unlike most ya books i've read lately, rose isn't some badass assassin chick or anything haha. just a chill, average, yet kind girl. a good friend. and will....will's a total hottie. them and their issues make it work.
bookittyblog More than 1 year ago
After reading lots of dystopian and fantasy books my brain got a bit tired. So it was lovely to read The Survival Kit. This book broke my heart and then at the end put it together again. It was sad to read how Rose and her family were coping with the lost of Rose's mom but, the author lets us know there is always hope and things will get better someday. The reader will go on a journey with Rose where she will learn how to let go, accept and find out who she really is. I finished this book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I just loved the character and how smoothly the authors' writing was. Bottom line is that not many authors have the gift to write a book that touches the reader's hearts and bring to live characters so real like Donna Freitas does. Review by Bookittyblog
Amy-T More than 1 year ago
One day soon I'm going to read one too many books about grieving and cancer, and it's going to push me over the edge, guys. It seems like there have been an abundance of these books lately! But if I'm being honest, while reading so much about death and dying *is* depressing and I seriously will need to back off from it a little for my own emotional stability, I actually find these kinds of books--when they're good--to be largely the opposite: touching, thoughtful, and full of life. THE SURVIVAL KIT is exactly that. Because it takes place after the death of Rose's mom, we're not reading about the actual act of dying (as AWESOMELY done in THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES), but rather the lives that must continue with heavy hearts and under a cloud of sadness. Grieving with Rose and her family was certainly heartbreaking, but mostly I found it to be really special and lovely and full of life-affirming moments. Also, swoony with lots of kissing. *THUMBS UP* There were so many things to LOVE about THE SURVIVAL KIT, and I have to start with Rosey girl. She was so incredible! Her grief felt very real, and her reactions to the things in her life were believable. I kind of loved that she shut herself off and couldn't find the same joy in the things that used to make her happy. That's such a real part of grieving, and it led Rose to seek out the things SHE wanted for herself instead of what she thought other people wanted of her. <3 Rose was strong and reliable, but also broken and confused and DEVASTATED. I felt so sad for her that she was left to take care of her obviously distraught father. (Somehow, I couldn't work up any bad feelings for him. He just made me want to give him ALL THE HUGS.) As the book progresses and we get to see some glimpses of the "old" Rose, I swear my heart felt lighter. She was fun and spontaneous and humorous and AWESOME!! And so much of this new/old Rose came not only from the girl herself, but from the HEAPS of WONDERFUL people around her. Guys. I LOVED so much that there are no mean people in this book!! There's no mean girls. No tools. Not even her ex-boyfriend Chris, who honestly and truly was a great guy who was there for Rose when she needed him most. This is AMAZING!!! Her friends--especially her bff, Krupa--were FABULOUS and they deserve THE CAPS. They were supportive and patient while still pushing Rose to step out from her grief in little baby steps. And I cannot--CANNOT--talk about awesome people without stressing one of my absolute favorite YA plot devices that touches my heart and makes me stupid happy: siblings who TOTALLY LOVE EACH OTHER, particularly big brother's who melt my heart and make me squee. Rose's brother, Jim...I crushed on him. I pretended that he was older so that I could do so without feeling gross about myself (he IS legal though). He called her to see if she was ok and wished he could be home to help her (he's away at college). They said "I love you" all the time. They cried together, grieved together, and supported each other (emotionally, certainly, if not always in a literal, "I am physically present" kind of way). When they fought it was legit and upsetting, but they came out of it together. It was gorgeous. *Sigh* (I did literally just sigh out loud.) SPEAKING OF CRUSHING, Will Doniger is one of those guys who's impossible NOT to love. It's clear from the beginning that he's just as tortured and wary of being around people as Rose. But it's also obvious that he feels things deeply and intensely and is completely WONDERFUL. There's a little hiccup in there, but it's not without reason, and I was so thankful for Rose that she had this incredibly sweet, sensitive, surprising, lovable guy to help her not only come out of her grief little by little, but to also serve as the catalyst in her completion of the Survival Kit her mother left for her to find. Their relationship was slow and smoldery and adorable. I LOVED them. THE SURVIVAL KIT was touching and heartfelt. Sad, but also not. I loved the idea of the Survival Kits that Rose's mom made; it's such a nice sentiment, and I loved that it was a theme throughout this whole book. I might start making them for people myself. Seeing Rose slowly understand what each item in her Survival Kit meant was special. The people around her weren't perfect but they were all exactly the people Rose needed to help her out of the worst of her grief. This story, like so many others of its kind, shows how intertwined grief and love really are. And if the "love" is going to be anything like Will Doniger? There's little chance of that raw sadness hanging around very long. THE SURVIVAL KIT was bee-you-tee-ful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book. Great for teens and young adults. I will admit I did cry its a very emotional book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No you dont have a clan? No you dont want to be part of jayclan (which is now at true jay 2nd res)? Or no you wish you hadnt made this kit in the first place? Btw whats your name
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tabby got locked out and said to move to next rez
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does it matter?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Ravenkit, if u dont want to rp him u dont have to. I wont let u kill him. And is lightkit alive now?) Plasmatear
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iceheart save lightkit!!Iceheart:ok*she had herbs with her.first she gave lightkit a mixture of watermint,catmint,ang juniper berries.next she licked lightkit clean and rubs dock on her body.*eat these herbs everyday for 2 moons.