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Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Publication Date: 9-13-2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 640
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Challenge: N/A

Goodreads Summary:

Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.

Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never understand.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

Perfect is a companion novel to Impulse, and I think you must read Impulse before reading Perfect.  It will be a much more fulfilling experience.  Impulse gives you the background information you need to understand the situation among these teens even better.  Cara’s parents are ridiculous in their expectations, and it is these expectations that caused Conner to commit suicide.  Kendra is determined to be perfect, but perfect in her eyes is unhealthy in most others.  Sean is willing to do anything to become a professional baseball player, whether those things are legal or not.  Andre doesn’t want to follow in his parent’s footsteps, but rather take his own path into the world of dance. 

Each of these teens has an obstacle to becoming “perfect” that they must overcome.  Their parents have different expectations of them that don’t make sense to these kids.  They want to be perfect, but perfect is really in the eyes of the beholder.  Ellen Hopkins touched on so many subjects in this novel that included eating disorders, sexual discovery, and racism.  These are all tough topics to broach in a novel, but Hopkins did it perfectly.  I was touched by each of these stories.  Cara, Kendra, Sean, and Andre all had an important story to tell that resulted in an important life lesson for each of them.  I think we all learn by making mistakes, and that is the only way that these four could learn as well.

This is another novel written in verse by Hopkins.  She tells an amazing, detailed story filled with depth in such few words.  This isn’t poetry in the typical sense, but rather a different way to tell a story.  The story has as much detail as any other novel, but doesn’t have as many words, and is told in a way that just makes you connect better with each character.  Emotionally, Hopkins’ books will leave you raw and open.  Every time I read one I am thinking about them for weeks, even months to come.  They are stories that I will never forget.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to have these novels available to read, and I think they are beneficial to more than just the teen community of readers.  Another fantastic job by Ellen Hopkins!

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