Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

In her characteristic hard-hitting style, Hopkins weaves together the storylines of four high-schoolers, all striving to achieve that elusive quality: perfection. Sean is a phenomenal athlete, set on going to Stanford to play baseball, but believes he needs steroids to get the performance he wants. Kendra will do anything to achieve her modeling dream, including starve herself to emaciation. Cara wants to escape her parents’ demanding standards – standards which drove her brother, Conner, to attempt suicide. Andre dreams of becoming a dancer, but can’t find a way to make that profession fit into his parents’ expectations of corporate greatness. During their last year of high school, these teens find their goal of perfection tested to the max, and everything they thought was truth to be questioned. What they do with their new perceptions of reality will shape the rest of their lives, as they must answer: what does perfection really mean?

This book is the second in Hopkins’ Impulse series. While it received many positive reviews, I was largely unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong — it was good! It just wasn’t great. This is my third Hopkins novel, and so I think the constant heavy issues are starting to become predictable for me. I understand that not every teenager has the picture-perfect life, and that many teens do experience the issues Hopkins writes about. But I’m at the point with her books now that I pick them up expecting the worst possible things to happen, they do, and I’m bored. Making bad things happen all the time can be just as boring and predictable as making good things happen all the time. I’d just like a little variety. That said, if you’re a Hopkins fan, this won’t disappoint. If you haven’t read Hopkins, make sure you prepare for some seriously heavy issues and a non-neat ending. Check out the flags if you’re not sure this is a book for you.

Rating: 3/5

*YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2011
For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS), click here.

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