BORN SCARED, by Kevin Brooks, Candlewick Press


Elliot has lived his first thirteen years confined to his home, incapacitated by fear. Now he’s out of pills, snow is falling, and his only safe person is missing. A terrifying thriller from Carnegie Medalist Kevin Brooks.

From the moment of his birth, Elliot’s life has been governed by fear of almost everything, even of his own fear — a beast that holds him prisoner in his room. The beast is kept at bay, though not eliminated, with a daily regimen of pills. But on Christmas Eve, a mix-up at the pharmacy threatens to unleash the beast full force, and his mother must venture out in a raging snowstorm to a store that should be only minutes away. Hours later, when she still hasn’t returned, Elliot sees no choice but to push through his terror, leave the house, and hunt for her. What happens if the last of his medication wears off and the beast starts scratching at the doors of his mind? Everyone has a breaking point — will Elliot come to his? With plot twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats, multi-award-winning author Kevin Brooks offers a high-suspense exploration of fear and what it means to truly be afraid.

Out September, 2018


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

My family has a history of debilitating anxiety and panic attacks.  My grandmother had agoraphobia and it was so bad at times, she couldn’t leave the house. When a panic attack came on she perspired until she’s absolutely soaked. Not many can understand this disorder and many think the person with it can control what’s happening and it’s just an attention thing. This is not true.

I and my daughter suffer from anxiety, panic attacks and depression.  We have medication that controls all of them, but there are triggers that can occur and send us into a spiraling mess.  Over the years, I’ve learned coping skills to avoid triggers.  It’s no fun having something control you like these things do.  So I can relate to the character of Kevin Brooks’ book.

Many people will not like the book simply because they do not believe such behaviors exist or they don’t understand people with them. I took part in a study group recently and it was discovered that these disorders are due to a chemical our brain is not producing. Once treated with what we are lacking, the symptoms disappear or are minimized. It’s an ongoing study and my daughter is doing extremely well from what we’ve learned so far.

Writing has always been an outlet for me to cope with my thoughts. Through this study, I’ve learned that many high IQ individuals, very artistic people, and other creative individuals suffer from similar disabling conditions.  They take on something to help them cope with their thoughts either through studies, work, or creative talents and at times can be excessive ‘work alcoholics.’

It’s all very interesting and perhaps why this story caught my attention.

Knowing that you are not “weird” or alone helps tremendously.  Reading stories that take you through other peoples’ coping and similar problems alleviates these feelings of being ‘different’ and I recommend this book as a good example.

I gave it:


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