Title: Perfect (Impulse #2)
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Summary from Goodreads:
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 that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.
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.
I love Ellen Hopkins. She is seriously one of my favorite authors. She choose issues… important issues, and she writes about them in a way that is engaging to teens and young adults. The first book I read by Ellen Hopkins was Identical and it was seriously trippy. When I picked up my first Ellen Hopkins books, I did not have very high expectations. For one thing, I am not a fan of poetry, and her books are written in verse. And yet, as I read it, it did not read like it was written in verse. It read like a normal book, just formatted differently. That is something I really enjoyed about her books.
All that said, I must confess that this was not my favorite Ellen Hopkins book. I just couldn’t find myself really caring about any of the characters. I had trouble liking any of them and more over, I didn’t always agree with the things I knew she was pushing us, the audience, into thinking. I found the various romance aspects very hard to accept and thus hard to buy into. [SPOILER: i.e. One of the characters goes from being totally in love with someone to being in a new relationship in the matter of a couple days. I found this incredibly difficult to buy into].
The second thing I found difficult about this book was it seemed to me as thought the author would abruptly change things and I felt myself getting whiplash somethings. The ending felt altogether abrupt and felt like she had reached her page quota and had to abruptly wrap up all the story lines. I did not feel as though the characters had really, emotionally, reached where they ended. That disappointed me.
As a final note of mild negativity [this contains a mild spoiler so please skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know] on of the character experiences a sexual orientation change (I am not quite sure how that should be worded). I am fine with that. That is not what I am complaining about. What bothered me in this event is that this characters partner was kind of not understanding about the difficulty of coming out. After they had only just been seeing each other for a couple of weeks (it could have been a little bit longer but it is hard to gauge time passage in this book) they were pressuring the main character to come out of the closet. Coming out of the closet is difficult and if you only discover your sexual orientation recently, it isn’t right to be pressured into coming out on anything but your own time.
Now all that aside, this was still a very good book. Ellen Hopkins is very skill at getting to the heart of the issue and addressing. Perfection is something that most of us strive for, and sometimes we let that destroy us. The journey to the unattainable perfection is often lead with self-destructive things… drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and thoughts of suicide. Many of us have the desire to please others… this goes hand in hand with the search for perfections. We think that if we can only be good enough at this then they will love us or want to be friends with us or they will be happy with us. But that isn’t always the case. Those who truly love us love us despite our imperfections.
Ellen Hopkins really brought to life the search for each of the main four characters to be perfect. The desire for perfection manifests itself in so many ways… destructive ways. Because the truth is that no one and nothing will ever truly be perfect, and Ellen Hopkins show us the truth of that reality. We should always strive to be the best that we can be, but the truth is that we will never be fully perfect.