Review: Better Than Perfect

Better Than Perfect Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after. But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Better than Perfect is one of the few contemporary YA novels that doesn’t depend on romance for plot advancement, and that it truly a huge point in it’s favor. Yes, there is a subplot, and it could have very well gone in that direction, but I loved how the story unfolded. Juliet, is a hard-working driven teen, seemingly happy in her seemingly perfect life with her great grades and sweet boyfriend. But when her circumstances change, the person she has to become to cope with it realizes that nothing was actually perfect. She basically went through life like a gameplan, not stopping to realize what she really wanted or didn’t want. Searching for happiness, she sets big goals for herself, and through her, the author questions the concept of fulfillment in this generation. So, concept wise, this book was a big win. Where it suffered was the characters – besides Juliet, all others are one-dimensional and only props to her life. Her mental state and her life seem disconnected, and I don’t think the characters were used to their potential. Secondly, some things went unresolved, like Juliet’s infidelity and the fact that her boyfriend and she didn’t really have a problem. They grew apart because they didn’t want to go to the same college? Really? I mean, he was pretty much a good guy and normally I would expect some little flaw that makes her rethink the relationship, but nope. Declan – well, he could have just as well been just a one-night stand; he was that inconsequential to the story. He wasn’t even the ‘guy who suddenly shows her a new path’ person – she realized stuff on her own. As far as Juliet goes, she is pretty much well-written, and her way of questioning life and desires resonate so well for a young adult. Thus, overall, I would like to give this book 3.5 stars. It was good but could have been way better. Received an ARC from Harper Teen via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinions or review

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