Claire Scott's Reviews > Almost Perfect

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
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May 28, 14

bookshelves: aaaaangst, quiltbag, ya
Read from April 22 to 25, 2010

ETA, four years later: this book still makes me angry and upset, more so because it won the Stonewall. And I find that I never, ever, ever want to recommend it ton anyone.

Ok. Mixed feelings on this one.

I don't think this has ever been done before! The plot was new, powerful, and very compelling to read... unfortunately also made me feel sick. As a queer reader, the tension between identifying with Logan (fairly likeable, pretty well-developed, sheltered, first-person narrator) and identifying with Sage ("spoiler": she's trans) was seriously enough to give me a stomachache, literally. I had a really strong reaction to this, especially to Logan's disgusted, horrified responses to Sage. Intense. I assume this will be the case for many readers -- it says right on the flap what's going to happen, so I feel like it's more than likely that a queer reader will pick it up expecting something less jarring. I agree with reviewers who suggest exercising caution before handing this one to a trans teen, especially a trans girl or one who is beginning their transition or feeling vulnerable.

The writing was kind of awful, and got worse as the book went on. I kept getting pulled out of the story by how bad the writing was... and I'm not picky with prose. Clunky, tedious, and ultimately a slog in terms of writing. But the plot and the characters overcame those flaws with moments of acute tension -- at points, this was a real page-turner.

I really found myself wanting to know more about the author. Why did he write this, and write it this way? Cause Julie Anne Peters he isn't. Apparently it was an idea he had, a fictional germ of a story not based on or inspired by anyone in particular. He did do a lot of interviews, apparently. Interesting. Not enough to convince me it was a good idea for him to write.
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Reading Progress

04/24/2010 page 158
42.93% "This is turning out to be a really difficult read, emotionally! OMG, big thoughts!"

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten I just started reading this -- I'm struggling quite a bit with the clunkiness of the prose, but I'll persevere.

Claire Scott Yeah. I found myself really furious about it winning the Stonewall last year - it seemed like the worst possible choice to put on an awards list that teachers and librarians would use to hand books to kids potentially in crisis. I've disliked it more and more in my head since I read it, actually.

message 3: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten I made the mistake of skimming through at random and gleaning most of the plot, and now I am having a hard time bringing myself to read it. I feel like I should in order to give it a fair shake, but it's tough.

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Now that I read up on it after your comment, I will definitely be taking the Stonewall awards with a grain of salt.

Claire Scott Well, it's a different committee every two years. And there's no way to know what the discussion is behind closed doors... especially since sometimes people's top top choices are removed and everybody compromises on a less top choice.

But man, I'm still displeased about that year.

Lisa Jenn Bigelow I feel like I can't stand most of the Stonewall Committee's choices. It's been several years since I've read this one, and I doubt that I'd revisit it, but I'm interested in your reaction.

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