Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Review: Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Released: September 13th, 2011
Grade rating: A
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. 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 selves. Because everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go?
I can honestly say that I don't think there will ever be an Ellen Hopkins book I don't love. This woman is one of my favourite storytellers, and I think her books are among the most important I've read. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, whether it be because of her verse style or mature content, but I think she's amazing. Perfect is yet another example of the high calibre of her novels, and it was well worth the wait.
Perfect is a companion novel to Impulse, and runs parallel to Conner's story. Perfect focuses on four very different characters: Cara, Conner's sister, Kendra, Sean and Andre. Their lives are all linked in one way or another, whether it be through family, friends or romantic relationships, and each is experiencing some kind of struggle with perfection. For Kendra it's a fight with eating disorders, and for Sean it's an addiction to steroids to make his sports performance better. These teenagers are all going through stuff no teenager should have to deal with, and that's where this book really stands out. Hopkins once again shows that she doesn't care about censorship of sensitive subjects: she'll tell it how it is, with realism and a candid voice, and hope that her readers will get it and be helped by it.
Perfect isn't always an easy read. Bad things happen to characters you like, sometimes through no fault of their own, sometimes at the hands of others. It's an eye-opening story of perfection and perceptions and, like every other Ellen Hopkins book, it stayed with me for days after turning the final page. The conclusion especially is somewhat haunting, and those of you who've read Impulse will know what I'm talking about. I knew what was coming, but still I hoped something would happen to alter the narrative. Reading the same events from other people's perspective was an unusual way to learn more about Conner, but it worked so well. Everyone is so fleshed out and real, I was sad to get to the end and have to leave them. That, my friends, is the power of a Hopkins novel!
What else can I say, other than buy this book and every other book written by this author. Read them, learn from them and keep them pride of place on your bookshelf. I really believe they'll be some of the most important books I read and I'm sure they've already helped me in everyday life, in the way I see people and how I respond to issues and problems. I can't wait for Ellen's next book!