Monday, September 14, 2015

Review; Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley
Release Date: September 14, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

How far will you go for perfection? For “Perfect Paige” Westfield, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…

So I went into this story expecting a cute, slightly chiched story that's been done before.  Make over the cute but not hot guy so that the best friend would like him.  What I got was a lot more than that.  This story dealt with some great themes and went much deeper than simply that.

One of the biggest strengths to this story for me was the characterization.  We've all read stories and seen movies about kids whose parents have these huge expectations for their future, a big plan for what they'll be, and the teen kicking and screaming against it the entire way.  This is Paige's situation, but it's a little different from what I've read and seen before.  Getting to see inside her head made me love her. She's a classic people pleaser, and so she's not bucking the plan... she's actually killing herself to try and live up to the plan and her parents expectations.  She doesn't say no to anything, and she's so overextended, I'm surprised she's still on her feet. I loved how hard she tried to please everyone, even as I felt sorry for her because of it.  I loved the journey she undertook to understand that she doesn't have to be perfect.  And it was Ben that helped her to realize this.  

She does make Ben over in exchange for help in math, as this is a subject she's struggling with.  Bear in mind, this is a girl whose in the top four in her class.  So she's no dummy, and I suspected her problems with math ran deeper than a lack of understanding. The entrance of Ben into her life changes everything.  He's motivated, smart, and the more you get to know him, he becomes hot.  He also becomes important to her in a way that has them both thinking about what they truly want.

This story had some deep characterization to it that I loved.  Both of these characters were extremely well-drawn.  I flew through this story in a blink,and was deeply satisfied with both the romance, and the story's outcome.  It was unique and the writing was very engrossing.  A very, very good read.

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