Review: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

Book Title: Future Perfect
Author: Jen Larsen
Published Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.

But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book frustrated me from a very early point. At first I was really loving Ashley’s confident voice. Even her obsession with being perfect didn’t really bother me initially. It was her refusal to defend herself to her grandmother that really ticked me off. She claimed to be totally okay with how she looked, but she was so easily swayed by what her grandmother thought.

“It’s not her business. Your body is not her business.”

Thank God Ashley had her friend Laura. Laura at least tried her hardest to make sure that Ashley realized that the decisions about her body were to be made by her and her alone. She also had her boyfriend Hector and her other friend Jolene, neither of them thought weight loss surgery was necessary, and they were angry with her grandmother for offering it in exchange for paid tuition at Harvard. They were even angrier at Ashley for considering it.

Ashley really didn’t understand that her grandmother was not thinking of her best interests at all. She was trying to control Ashley. It was maddening to see Ashley not have a backbone. She needed a backbone. I just wanted to hear Ashley tell her grandmother off. Her grandmother needed to back off, and Ashley needed to make sure that happened. But she was so focused on being perfect that she didn’t realize she was being controlled by her grandmother.

I’m utterly frustrated that Ashley was this quiet, meek teenager. Where was her fire? Where was her her fight? Why didn’t she fight for what she knew was right? If she was truly confident and happy in how she looked, why did she even allow her grandmother to think she had won?

It took her so long to realize that her grandmother wasn’t really thinking of her. She was focusing too much on pleasing society. In society, thin is gorgeous and fat is ugly. She just couldn’t appreciate the granddaughter that she had.

I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s brothers. I think they were interesting and they could have brought some complexity to this story. They brought more about Ashley’s mother into the story. I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s mother in this story. I think there was a lot they didn’t delve into that could have made this book more interesting to me.

“And you’re pissed at Mom for not having gone to Harvard instead of Clara for lying to you?”

When she realized that her grandmother had lied to her, she realized her grandmother wasn’t as perfect as she claimed to be.

She started to become more aware of what she really wanted for herself. She started to realize that she could really be herself, and she didn’t have to be perfect.

But it was all just a little bit too late for me to really care about the characters in this book. The only people I really liked were the secondary characters Laura, Jolene and Ashley’s brothers. So unfortunately I have to give this book 2 stars. It was a total letdown for me in many different ways.

Review: Magonia (Magonia #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley

ec61b-magoniaBook Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Published Date:  April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Book one of Magonia duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Disclaimer: I received this book from Harper via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book was supposed to be weird, awesome and captivating. I love weird books, so I was excited to read this one. I’m a sucker for “sick lit” and throw in some sci-fi elements in there and I’m usually THRILLED with the result.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of this book was short lived. It was super interesting initially and I looooved Aza Ray’s voice. As someone who spent a LOT of time in hospitals as a little girl, I could relate to what she was saying about hospital life. Aza Ray was wonderfully sarcastic and I loved that about her.

Things went downhill quickly when we meet the half-bird creatures. I love weird, but this was just too weird even for me. I became less invested as I kept reading. My enjoyment of Aza Ray even disappeared once she got on this weird cloud ship thing.

I enjoyed the writing all the way through. It was probably the only thing that kept me reading until the end. The characters were supposed to be interesting (I mean hello, bird people!) but the characters ranged from mildly annoying to insanely aggravating. But I kept reading the book.

It showed so much promise at the beginning, that I couldn’t help but finish it. I was holding out hope that things would improve, but they didn’t. Unfortunately, I have to give this book 2 stars. I will not be reading the sequel. I am so disappointed with this book, but that’s okay. I don’t have to like this book. I wanted to, but I don’t and that’s okay.

Review: Unleashed (Uninvited #2) by Sophie Jordan

Book Title: Unleashed
Author: Sophie Jordan
Published Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Book 2 in Uninvited duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson’s Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.

Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she’ll be ruled by the kill gene or if she’ll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn’t even know if she can trust herself.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from a fellow blogger.

I really loved the first book in this duology, Uninvited. It was unique and captivating and I enjoyed all of the characters. So I was excited to see where book 2 would go.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in the end of a series. Even Allegiant by Veronica Roth didn’t bug me this badly. It felt like I was starting a whole new series or even like it was a trilogy and I had skipped book 2.

I liked Davy and Sean a lot, so when we pick up the book and they are already emotionally distant from each other, I was confused. I wondered what the heck was going on. It was weird. Like I said, it felt like a whole different series.

I liked seeing Sabine and Gil again and that was one of the reasons, I was annoyed when I kept reading and they were barely in the rest of the book. It was infuriating. I really wanted more of them and it was annoying realizing that it was probably not going to happen. These people were there for her when she was feeling so much like an outcast. They were supposed to be her “family” and yet, she ditched them.

The majority of the book was all about her falling in love with Caden. Snooze-fast. That was a major case of insta-love and I never really warmed up to Caden. She pretty much forgot about Sean, Gil and Sabine because of Caden. God, I hate that story arc. I also hate what that says to young girls. It basically says that they should forget all about their friends because a hot, mysterious boy showed them attention.

I hated the ending of the book. I was hoping for something different, a better resolution. Something that would change me from feeling indifferent to feeling excited and happy about the book. But that didn’t happen. I was hoping for some kind of reunion with her whole family. This series duology was near perfect with only one book. It should have stayed a standalone. I am giving it 2 stars. It was really disappointing to me and I had to force myself to keep reading it.

Review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Book Title: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Published Date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…
Disclaimer: I received this book from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I was excited for this book. It looked nerdy and cute and fun. I was thinking that I’d enjoy this book, that it would be a treat for me and that I’d love the characters.
Well I was wrong, and really wrong.
I have no patience for characters who are doormats, who blindly agree with whatever their parents say or tell them. So Ana was utterly maddening to me. She was practically under lock & key ever since her sister Nichole had defied their parents. Nichole is now married, with a little boy of her own. Yet, neither Ana nor her parents have seen Nichole since she left. Ana was even invited to Nichole’s wedding, but she didn’t go. She didn’t want to disappoint her parents.
Eye roll.
Please, this girl had no backbone. She had no guts. She lived in fear of disappointing her folks. She felt like she had to be this perfect daughter because Nichole had disappointed her parents so badly. She kept saying that she didn’t have a sister, and that right there, infuriated me because she DID have a sister, she was just too afraid to stand up to her parents and demand to see her sister’s family.
On the other hand, we had Zak. Zak’s mom got married to a guy she had only known for 2 months. Zak disliked him for no other reason than the fact that he was not his real father. Zak’s father hadn’t run off, he had died. Yet, as the book unfolds, we learn Roger, Zak’s stepfather is actually a decent guy. 
Zak really doesn’t give a crap about anything, especially his schoolwork.
How the hell did he think it was okay to hand in a plagiarized paper? I don’t even get how that was okay. That pissed me off considerably. The only punishment he got was joining the quiz bowl. 
Are you kidding me?
That is such a crappy punishment and I don’t even understand why this was okay. It made absolutely no sense to me. My intense dislike of Zak only increased when he complained that he was going to miss Washingcon. 
Seriously, dude? Stop being a pain in the ass. He was lucky he wasn’t expelled.
The majority of the book surrounded around trying to find Ana’s brother Clayton at Washingcon. That’s when things really started getting boring. I cared about finding Clayton, but I didn’t care about Ana or Zak. Or the romance. Or really anything else about this book. I was hoping to love the romance in the book, but I did not like the romance at all. I felt no chemistry between these two.
I had a lot of hope for this book, but unfortunately this book did not work for me at all. I was so excited to be done with this book. I am giving it 2 stars. Unfortunately, I will not be recommending this book to anyone. 

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Book Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA Mystery
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

“Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on.” — E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Harper Collins via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I think this is where Lauren Oliver and I will have to break up. As a whole, her books just don’t work for me. That makes me sad because so many other people love all of her books and I wonder why I can’t love her books. 

I actually really enjoyed Panic, so I was hopeful that Vanishing Girls would be another fabulous read. Unfortunately I was let down in a big way. At first it starts off interestingly enough. I wasn’t totally invested by it, but I wasn’t totally bored by it either.

The problems start to rise to the surface when I realize that this book is written in dual POVs and it goes from past to present. Now I don’t have an issue with either of these things separately, but when they all come together in one book, I get a little twitchy. I worry that it’s going to be hard to follow or that the voices will sound the same. 

Sometimes this format works, but in Vanishing Girls it did not. I kept getting confused when it would switch to past or present and then, since the girls’ voices sounded too similar, I’d be confused as to who’s POV I was reading.

That damn twist was obvious for me very early on and the only reason I kept reading was that I was hoping I’d be wrong. It seemed like it was too easy to figure out the twist, and I was massively disappointed by it. It seemed like Oliver just went for the easiest twist to do and she didn’t even try to make it less obvious.

Both sisters were very flat and it seemed like there was very little in the way of character development. It was often hard for me to distinguish who was who. The secondary characters were equally flat and underdeveloped. I was woefully unimpressed by this book and by the characters in this book. I’ll be giving this book 2 stars and unless you want your twist to be really obvious, I’d skip this book.

Review: The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow

Book Title: The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise
Author: Matthew Crow
Published Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads
A poignant and unexpectedly funny novel about Francis – one of the best and bravest teenage boy narrators since Adrian Mole. This is an emotionally honest story about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad things can be.

Francis Wootton’s first memory is of Kurt Cobain’s death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection – and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who’s at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, 

Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There’s the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn’t reckoned on meeting Amber – fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber – and finding a reason to tackle it all – the good, the bad and everything in between – head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Sometimes gorgeous covers are a hint that something even better is in those pages, and sometimes the cover is doing it’s best to hide a book that is lacking certain things. With this book and it’s gorgeous cover, it was definitely the latter. This book looked like something I’d love. It’s no secret that I love the “tough subjects” contemporary books. Unfortunately this one was a big disappointment.

I was expecting to love Francis and Amber, I was expecting to root for them as a couple as they battled their illnesses. I was expecting to laugh and cry right along with them. However, all of my expectations were unmet. I found Francis and his family all very tedious and one dimensional, which is not a good thing. Amber was okay, but she was also really underdeveloped. She was supposed to be this funny, sarcastic girl, but I didn’t get any of that from her.

The book itself was very slow, and in fact we didn’t even meet Amber until the book was a quarter of the way over. I was very close to DNFing the book then as well because Francis was so boring, but when Amber showed up, I decided to keep reading it and hope that this book would improve.

The character development was severely lacking in this book, and I think it would have been so much better if Crow had fleshed out the characters more. I wanted them fleshed out because it seemed like they were very flat, and to me, flat = uninteresting. The pacing was even, but it was also incredibly slow. It felt like I could skip a chunk of this book, and I wouldn’t miss anything. 

I wasn’t excited to pick it up whenever I could, and in fact, I dreaded picking it back up. No one wants to have that feeling when they are reading. Because of the slow pacing and the underdeveloped characters, I’ll be giving this book 2 stars. It could have been so much better than it was. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Book Title: Everything That Makes You 
Author: Moriah McStay
Published Date: March 17th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore. 

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I was really looking forward to this book. It was one of my most anticipated reads for the first six months of 2015. I was eagerly awaiting the perfect time to read this. I went into this book excited and hopeful that it would be everything I wanted it to be.

Unfortunately it wasn’t. The pacing was weird. It was sort of jerky and I found myself totally uninterested in Fi Doyle’s life. I thought she was a snit and I really couldn’t stand her. Whereas Fiona was awesome. I really liked her and how she dealt with everything. Fiona was actually enjoyable and reading about her was fun too. Fi was such an irritating individual and more than once I wanted to scream. The pace was jerky because while I flew through the pages of Fiona’s life, Fi’s life bored the heck out of me and it would take me awhile to finish her chapters.

This book also lacked significant character development for the secondary characters, and after I had read the book halfway through, the secondary characters seemed to melt together. There was no distinctive voice for any of them and I grew to really not care about any of them. I think if there had been fewer characters, their character development could have definitely improved.

I love the idea of this story, it’s actually one of my favorite types of stories. Unfortunately this one was poorly executed. I didn’t get excited to pick this book up whenever I could. It felt more like pulling teeth to get me to pick this book up. Even reading Fiona’s parts of the story couldn’t really excite me.

The ending was very underwhelming and it made me wonder what the heck had I just read? That’s really a crappy feeling to have after reading a book. No one wants to feel like that. I had that this book let me down so much, but I am going to give this book 2 stars.

Review: This Side of Home by Renee Watson

Book Title: This Side of Home
Author: Renee Watson
Published Date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Identical twins Nikki and Maya have been on the same page for everything—friends, school, boys and starting off their adult lives at a historically African-American college. But as their neighborhood goes from rough-and-tumble to up-and-coming, suddenly filled with pretty coffee shops and boutiques, Nikki is thrilled while Maya feels like their home is slipping away. Suddenly, the sisters who had always shared everything must confront their dissenting feelings on the importance of their ethnic and cultural identities and, in the process, learn to separate themselves from the long shadow of their identity as twins.

In her inspired YA debut, Renée Watson explores the experience of young African-American women navigating the traditions and expectations of their culture.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Bloomsbury in exchange for my honest review.

I truly think that this book was just one of those books that wasn’t bad at all, but it was one that I couldn’t get into, no matter how hard I tried. I think this book had the misfortune to be read at all the wrong times. Either during a book slump or right after I finished an amazing book. I tried to read this book multiple times, and I finally just pushed myself to finish it, even though I wasn’t feeling it.

I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. I usually love stories about sisters, but I found myself bored with Nikki and Maya. I didn’t feel like I cared about them and the struggles that they were going through. I wanted to care about them and what was changing in their lives, but I just didn’t.

The pacing was incredibly slow which is probably my biggest disappointment with this book. I mean it’s a contemporary book, so I didn’t expect it to be action packed, but there were many times that I would just read a bunch and not a whole lot would happen in those pages that I read. There was a lack of feelsy moments as well. If there are good feelsy moments, that can sometimes save a slow pacing book, but not with this one.

I will be giving this one two stars. I just was bored throughout the book, the pacing was too slow and I couldn’t connect with the sisters or any of the other secondary characters. Despite me not enjoying this book, I will still recommend it to others. I seem to be the black sheep with this one, so give it a shot. Who knows, you may love it.

Review: The Cellar (The Cellar #1) by Natasha Preston

The Cellar (The Cellar #1)
Book Title: The Cellar 
Author: Natasha Preston
Published Date: March 1st, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Book One in The Cellar duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….

Disclaimer: Library book.

I was sure I’d love this book. It looked like it was straight out of a script from Law and Order: SVU. I looove crime shows, always have.  So I was excited about this book from the start. Plus the cover was perfect.

Unfortunately this book bored the heck out of me. I couldn’t get into it. I normally love the creepy books, but this psychopath was anything but exciting and interesting. In fact his supposed reasons for murder, rape & kidnapping were so overdone, I was bored. He did all this crappy stuff to protect women from the dangers of the real world. He wanted to keep girls pure, and that’s why he kept girls in his cellar, and named them after flowers.

His mom had been cheated on, and so Clover/Colin, whatever the hell he was called, felt the need to murder the “other women” His mother loved flowers so that was another reason why he named them Lily, Violet, Rose & Poppy. He considered them “his family” His perfect, pure and whole family. It didn’t matter to him that Summer/Lily came from a loving family. What mattered was that she was “allowed” to walk alone in the dark at night.

Summer herself was exasperating. I could not understand why she thought it was a good idea to walk alone in the dark. I was pissed at her boyfriend for not insisting that he come with her. Of course I’m not blaming her for what happened to her, and I’m also not blaming Lewis, her boyfriend. 

The pacing was very jerky. Sometimes it would be intense and mildly fascinating, and other times it was boring and uninteresting. I wasn’t excited about picking it up, and in fact I got really excited when I got to put it down. The editing was pretty crappy, and if I had to see one more exclamation point, I was going to scream. The author used an abundance of them, usually when it was completely pointless.

I was hoping for a creepy, bone chilling, thrilling ride. What I got was a predictable story with unlikeable characters and a jerky plot. I’ll be giving this book 2 stars, and I will not be reading the next book. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

Book Title: Better Than Perfect
Author: Melissa Kantor
Published Date: February 17th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.

Disclaimer: I got this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I was excited to read this book because like Juliet, I was a high achiever and I had a plan at her age. A plan that I had no desire to deviate from. But that was where our similarities ended. She was overly clingy with her boyfriend, Jason, to the point that she wasn’t sure how she was going to live without him for two whole weeks while he and his family went on vacation. 

Yes, seriously, two weeks. C’mon Juliet, I think you can handle being apart for two weeks.

I wanted to have sympathy for her mom, I really did because my own mom battled depression in the past and it was hard for me to watch. But it was hard for me to have sympathy for the woman just because her husband left. I mean, get over it and move on. Making Juliet care for her was unfair as well. Juliet had her own stuff going on, and now she had to be the adult and get her mom to shower and eat.

I didn’t care for either of her parents. It felt like she had no control over her life, and that they influenced her decisions a lot more than they should have. If she really wanted to go to Harvard, she would have, but instead she begins to realize that she needs to live her own life, whatever that means to her. I would even make the argument that the only reason she worked so hard to get to Harvard was because of her parents. Not something she wanted, but something her parents wanted and she wanted their love. She was afraid that their love was conditional on her going to Harvard.
The whole Declan thing was weird. I don’t love cheating in books, but I don’t abhor it like I used to. I didn’t like Declan, but that may have been because I didn’t like Juliet either. She was so different than me in a lot of ways, and her silence on so many things drove me crazy. Her parents were so big on “don’t make a scene” that Juliet was quiet, obedient and just a very boring, one dimensional character.
This book was very slow moving and it felt like I could skip a chunk of this book and still not miss much. It’s not often that I enjoy books that are slow moving and this one was no exception.
I was excited to read this book because I loved Melissa Kantor’s previous book, Maybe One Day, but this book was such a disappointment to me. I didn’t like any of the characters and I was bored while I was reading it. So unfortunately, I have to give this book 2 stars. I would not recommend this book mostly because of the slow pace and unlikeable characters.