Review: Born Scared by Kevin Brooks

Born Scared by Kevin BrooksBorn Scared
Kevin Brooks
Candlewick Press
Published on September 11, 2018

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Born Scared
Elliot is terrified of almost everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but when she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 meters away. It might as well be 400 miles…

My Review
I wanted to read this book because the premise sounded really intriguing. Right away, there are high stakes and it has that man versus himself thing going on that I really love in stories.

Some of Elliot’s experiences made total sense with his fear issues and the way people would normally react in those situations. But as the story progressed, some of the experiences Elliot had got more and more extreme, and I couldn’t decide if he was hallucinating or imagining the worst-case outcome in a given situation and reporting it as if it happened, or if bad things really were happening to him.

Other characters have short scenes from their points of view, and those seemed to support Elliot’s version of events, so I guess that’s what happened? Unless those were imaginary people he created? I don’t know. That seems farfetched.

As Elliot continued the search for his mom, he found a boldness and courage that was inspiring. I liked the way the story followed multiple threads which converged in a single scene.

On the other hand, I struggled with some of the events. I feel like either Elliot must have imagined certain parts of the story (because his actions seemed so out of character and because so many things seemed like the worst-case scenario playing out) or they were real events that seem too farfetched for me to believe.

Fans of A. S. King would probably really like this story. While I found it really interesting and liked Elliot’s character, I find I’m left with this feeling that I didn’t really get the story somehow.

Born Scared on AmazonRecommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Major characters are white or not physically described.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
Elliot talks to his twin sister, Ellamay, who died during their mother’s pregnancy.

Violent Content
Strong fear-based images. Two men tie up two women. The women have bruised faces, like they fought their attackers. A man with a gun and knife threatens a kid. Someone attacks a man with a rock, hitting him in the head. A car accident startles several witnesses.

Drug Content
A man drinks alcohol at a bar, and a woman he met there drugs him without his knowledge. He experiences some hallucinations and behaves in a way out of his normal character while on the drugs.

Born Scared on Goodreads

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she's not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

2 Responses to Review: Born Scared by Kevin Brooks

  1. Kyra Morris says:

    This seems interesting, but I feel like the story would confuse me quite a bit!

    • Kasey Giard says:

      That’s kind of how I felt, too. I liked a lot of things about it. I just think it’s not the right kind of story for me. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be real or not, and I know some readers really like that, but I’m just not one of them, I guess. :/

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