Alissa's Reviews > Perfect

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
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's review
Nov 29, 2011

it was amazing
Read in October, 2011

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This book follows for separate people through some of the hardest events of their lives.

There is Cara. Her brother, Connor who is in Ellen Hopkin's book Impulse, just tried to commit suicide because of the harsh expectations of their parents. He doesn't succeed and gets sent off to a psychiatric rehabilitation program. Her mother is an icy and unemotional person with unrealistic goals for her children and her father is an extremely successful business man who is rarely ever home. She is under the pressure of being head of many clubs, a cheerleader, an academic star, and a loving girlfriend. She has no issues with the first three things, but the last is an issue. She has the "perfect" boyfriend, Sean. He's attractive, athletic and loving. He puts no pressure on her and just loves unconditionally. She doesn't know if she loves him until one day when she decides to go skiing. She meets a girl and finds out that she might actually be a lesbian. To test her theory, she seduces Sean only for him to be unable to have sex with her. Later, he takes her to his brother's empty house to try again. After a minute or two, she changes her mind and tells him no. He continues anyways and rapes her. She ends up going out with a girl. Sean takes pictures of them and sends them around the school and she presses charges for sending the pictures due to the fear of his stalking. She gives up her strive for perfection and starts being herself.

Next is Sean, whom I already introduced in Cara's story. He is Cara's boyfriend, or used to be boyfriend. Sean is a star baseball player who is absolutely obsessed with Cara. He is convinced that he is going to marry her and therefore is striving to get into Stanford, like Cara. But unlike Cara, he wants to do it on a baseball scholarship. To do this, he believes that he needs to take steroids. Hence, being unable to have sex. After the rape and he finds out that Cara is a lesbian, his obsession goes to a whole new level. He begins following Cara around and threatening her. He eventually takes a private picture of her and her girlfriend and sends it around school. After doing so, Cara files a restraining order and presses charges in which he is found guilty of. This ruins his chances of getting a scholarship.

The third character is Kendra. Now Kendra intertwines into the other two's lives as well. Cara's brother, Connor, is Kendra's ex-boyfriend, whom she is still in love with. (She is also friends with Cara) After he disappeared, her issues went into overdrive. She has a severe eating disorder that also turns into a drug addiction. She has a modeling career that is taking off. She has body dismorphic disorder. Her mother and step father are willing to pay for plastic surgery. Her father comes in and out of her life. She is extremely reluctant to allow him in and when she finally does, he asks her to be in his wedding. It hurt her.

The last character is Andre. As the pattern shows, Andre is intertwined as well. He is the son of two very wealthy people. His mother is a world-class plastic surgeon and his father is an extremely successful business man. The summary of his story is that he is an african american. He is a dancer. His parents don't know but they wouldn't approve. He ends up dating Kendra's sister, Jenna. Jenna manipulates him and he gets hurt. Her father is racist and won't allow it. He gives up on trying to pleasing his parents and enters a dance contest.

They all come together in the end after Connor dies. They all attend the funeral and show their final transformations. It is amazing.

I gave this book five stars because the message is truly moving. There is an entry that sums almost the whole book.

"...Vanessa and I both loved Conner, and not because he scored touchdowns or got straight As. We loved who he was when he let his guard down. When he let us see who he wanted to be, free of expectations. The real Conner..." (Perfect, 602)

The first theme is love transforms people. If people allow themselves to open up to people they will be loved for who they are.

The other passage is from the same scene but illustrates the other theme.

"...What I want to tell you is what I think he would tell you, if he could. Living means taking chances. Risks. Playing safe all the time is being dead inside, even if you happen to still be breathing. People expected Conner to play it safe all the time. And when he did, he felt dead inside..." (Perfect, 602-603)

This shows one of the two main motifs as well as themes through out the whole book. Perfection is unobtainable. No one should be afraid to be who they really are. They should be proud and show it to the world. It allowed me to feel free and everyone should read this.

These themes and the story in general allow me to say with confidence that this book deserves all five stars.

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