Stina Madison's Reviews > Perfect

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
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's review
Jan 15, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011-2015, 5-stars, young-adult, contemporary, poetry
Read in October, 2011

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Cara Sykes, Kendra Mathieson, Sean O'Connell, and Andre Kane all have on thing in common: their expectations for perfection. Whether those expectations are from their parents or self-imposed.

After her brother's failed suicide attempt, Cara ends up on an unexpected journey of self-discovery. But what she finds could shatter her facade of perfection. Cara will have to choose between taking a chance on what she discovered or continuing to live behind that facade and under her parent's expectations.

Kendra wants the perfect face and the perfect body that will take her career from the pageant stages to the model runways. But for Kendra, that perfection comes with a price. A price that could eventually cost her everything. Will she be willing to pay it?

Sean has everything planned around his relationship with Cara. Even getting a baseball scholarship to Stanford. But in order to get there, his batting needs to be perfect. And what better way to ensure that than using steroids? But when things with Cara take a nosedive and his future plans are disrupted, Sean is a little more than upset and decides to get even.

Andre's ancestors struggled from the ground up to be successful, and his parents expect him to be just as successful. But where Andre's passions lie don't exactly fit with his parent's idea of the perfect career. Andre will need to choose whether to follow his heart or a future of discontent.


As the title of the book suggests, a theme of this story is perfection. Perfection that's imposed upon them by others or perfection that is imposed upon them by themselves. The perfect lifestyle, the perfect body, the perfect future, or the perfect career. But perfection comes at a price. Sometimes it's low, sometimes it's high, and sometimes the price is too high. Cara, Kendra, Sean, and Andre will have to choose whether they are willing to pay the price, no matter the cost. Is perfection important enough to risk everything for?

Though perfection is an obvious theme, as you read you will notice another theme: the absence of love. Cara's parents are distant and don't show much affection toward their children. Because of this, Cara doesn't understand love and doesn't think she could really love anyone. After Kendra's parents divorced, her father payed very little attention to her and her sister, Jenna. That lack of attention has deadly consequences for one of the sister. Sean loves Cara with all his heart, but when Cara doesn't return that love after almost a year together, it sends Sean spiraling downward. And when Jenna can't return Andre's love and he realizes he can't help Jenna before she falls, they break up.

Love is essential. When there's too little or too much of it, it can break us.


Perfect is written in verse. A lot of people would think that a book that's written more like a poem than a novel wouldn't have much depth. But they would be wrong. Perfect has a lot of depth and many powerful messages.

This book addresses many issues that teens face everyday. Sexual orientation, suicide, eating disorders, alcohol abuse, drug use, etc. It shows how they happen and the consequences of them.

The author does an amazing job telling each teens story---their issues, the complications and resolutions of those issues, and the consequences of them---all in verse.

My Final Thoughts:

I love how this book is so powerful. It has a powerful message about real life issues. You would think that a book written in verse would be simple, but it's not. It has a lot of depth to the story. I was so into this book that I couldn't put it down.

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