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Kid Konnection: Perfect

December 10, 2011

Four high school students are seeking perfection, each in their own way, but at what cost?  They all struggle and have to give up a part of themselves in order to pursue an ideal that has been thrust upon them by their parents or society.  The four students are:

  • Cara – her parents expect her to do whatever it takes to get accepted by Stanford
  • Sean – is trying to live his late father’s dream of becoming a professional athlete
  • Kendra – hopes to become a model and pursues society’s ideal of physical perfection
  • Andre – his parents have big dreams for him, but all he wants to do is dance

Perfect, by Ellen Hopkins, is written in verse and is told from the points of view of all four students and, let me just say, this book is phenomenal!  It touches on so many issues facing teens – drug and alcohol use, sexuality, suicide, date rape, eating disorders, just to name a few.  With so many issues, I would generally say an author tried to do too much in one book, but in  Hopkins’ capable hands it works- every issue seemed to be a natural part of the story.  The author’s note and the statistics in the back of the book make quite an impact as well.  Reading this book made me realize just how difficult it is to be a teen these days because it all felt very realistic.  It’s hard for me to express just how much I loved this book but the fact that I was in tears and emotionally drained as I finished it should tell you a lot.

If you’ve never read a book written in verse, don’t let that deter you from picking this one up.  Because of the format, readers feel the emotions and experience the thoughts of the narrators and, believe me, it’s powerful.  Don’t let the length deter you either – because of the format, it reads fairly quickly.

I think Perfect is a must read for older YA readers and their parents.  It will give them a lot to think about and discuss.  I also think this would be a wonderful book for a high school English class.  There is some language and sexuality in the book but it’s so well done and appropriate, I can’t imagine it offending anyone.  If I were a bookseller, I’d thrust this book into the hands of every teen who walked through the door.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week,  leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 7:11 am

    This sounds great. So many YA books include this issue as sort of a side issue, so it’s great to see it featured like this. Thanks for featuring this one – I really want to read it!

  2. Michele permalink
    December 10, 2011 9:10 am

    Sounds like something I need to get for my girl. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. December 10, 2011 9:25 am

    I’m so glad you loved it, Kathy! I felt exactly the same way as you – what a powerful novel.

  4. December 10, 2011 9:37 am

    What a great review of a book that I can’t wait to read! Having kids in this age group, I think this one would hit me pretty hard, but I can see that it’s one that I need to read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it with us. It sounds like a fabulous read!

  5. December 10, 2011 10:38 am

    This sounds wonderful and one I want to add to my reading list. I recently read a book in verse and enjoyed it.

  6. December 10, 2011 10:56 am

    I know someone to rec this to. Thanks for the review.

  7. December 10, 2011 3:08 pm

    That verse things does scare me…a lot

  8. December 10, 2011 6:03 pm

    Nice review. I really want to read this one. I’ve only ever read Ellen Hopkin’s newest book, her first adult one called Triangles. It’s also in verse and I sooo recommend it. I’m ready to read the YA ones though…been on my list for awhile now.

  9. December 10, 2011 6:51 pm

    You’ve been raving about this one so much that I can’t wait to read it.

  10. December 10, 2011 9:05 pm

    Sounds amazing actually. I shall have to check it out … Lord knows I’ll be needing to be on top of these issues before long.

  11. December 11, 2011 11:33 pm

    What about a teen boy? He’s a 15 year old athlete and I’m trying to find a book he might actually read. Not sure if the verse aspect will appeal to him.

  12. December 12, 2011 6:21 am

    I’ve heard such great things about Hopkins work. I just wish that it wasn’t in verse I just can’t get into that style of writing now matter how well executed. I’ve tried but seem to fall short when I do.

  13. December 13, 2011 8:25 pm

    This is the only one of her works that I haven’t read yet…must get my hands on a copy!

  14. December 28, 2011 9:36 pm

    I want to read this one! Her books are very powerful.

  15. December 29, 2011 3:06 pm

    I cannot wait to read something by this author. I love books written in verse and I have read some many positive reviews of hers.

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