Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Perfect - Ellen Hopkins

"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." (Taken from Shelfari)

Ellen Hopkins. What is there to say about Ellen Hopkins, except that her writing is fantastic and drawing and just, well, perfect. She has written many teen books before, and I've read almost every single one of them. I love them all for many different reasons, but I feel as though I love this one a little less. It's not that the writing was bad--with Ellen Hopkins it never is--or that the subject matter was dull, because it wasn't. I loved reading Perfect and I will probably read it again one day. I think that the only thing that I didn't like about this book, besides the fact that it had to end, was that I didn't connect as well with this book as I have with her other ones. For those of you who don't know, Perfect is a companion novel to Impulse, which followed the lives of four teens who have all attempted suicide and go to a facility to help them deal with the problems that lead them to suicide. Perfect, on the other hand, is about the family, friends, and acquaintances of one of the patients--Connor. Connor had to be my favorite out of all of the characters in Impulse, because had an allure to him that made me want to know more. My heart went out to this fictional character as I slowly learned his story. Alas, this review isn't about Impulse, it's about Perfect. I would give Perfect a 4.5/5, only because I couldn't get into the characters completely until the last 20 pages or so, and then the book had to end, as all books do. It took me a while to finish this book--not because the book was bad but, because I had no time to read it. Usually Ellen Hopkins's books take me about 5 hours at the most to finish. I absolutely adore the cover, it definitely suits this book. The way that 'Perfect' is written on the cover makes me both happy and sad at the same time, if that makes any sense. The way the swirls are broken by the way the water color moves across the cover is imperfect in the most perfect way possible.

Now that I'm done gushing about the cover, which you probably don't care about, I'm going to get into the characters, mainly my most and least favorite, and what I think could have helped me connect more with them. Andre is definitely my favorite character, because he seemed like he had the most collected thoughts throughout the book; he knew what he wanted and he went for it, even if it caused him some sort of inner turmoil. He dealt with a lot of crap throughout this book, with Jenna's family, Jenna and wanting to follow his dream but being weighted down by his parent's expectations, and he dealt with these things in the best way that they could have been dealt with in. He wasn't disrespectful about it, he just took it and thought about what he was going to do before he did it. He made calculated risks and in the end, I feel that he did what was best for him, not what was best for the people around him, without being a completely selfish jerk about it.
On that note, let's get into my least favorite character out of the four: Sean. Honestly, this character made me so angry that I almost stopped reading this book. He was so beyond obsessed with his personal life that he didn't think about others. He just wanted what was best for him, and was completely obnoxious about it. If he didn't like a call that the ref made, he shouted and basically threw a temper tantrum on the middle of the baseball diamond. He was so self-centered and mean (for lack of a better word) towards other people, especially Cara, the supposed love of his life. What he did to Cara was completely and totally wrong. He took things way too far, and I really wanted to Gibbs-slap him. (That was an NCIS reference...I think I've been watching way too many marathons.) Sean just made me so angry, mainly because he was in denial and kept making non-justifiable excuses for himself all the time and even at the end, when Impulse and Perfect combined, all he was thinking about was himself which made him, I feel, the least alluring and most disturbing character that Ellen Hopkins has ever written.

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