Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Future Perfect

Rate this book
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.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 6, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jen Larsen

6 books101 followers
Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Vancouver, BC. Find her at jenlarsen.net.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
119 (11%)
4 stars
208 (20%)
3 stars
370 (36%)
2 stars
223 (21%)
1 star
101 (9%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 218 reviews
June 12, 2015
Her advice to me is this: You are fat. Do not give them that foothold.

She’s not wrong. There really are people in the world who have ready a list of adjectives about a fat person—including lazy, stupid, messy, incompetent—that they are certain describes her before she ever opens her mouth. And that is unimportant, because I won’t let it be important.
This is a beautiful, touching book that deals with body image, and the issues in it are things I think all women (and some men, although they won't admit it!) will understand and relate to. What I love about it is that it addresses the concept of perception. Like it or not, society has a negative perception about people who are overweight. The main character is a wonderfully strong and smart person, but people will not always see that when they look at her, due to her being overweight. Her grandmother is aware of that societal prejudice, she does not want anything to hold her granddaughter down. First impressions matter, and appearance matters, however sad the reality is.
I run through the idea, the seductive, twining, choking-vine idea that everything could be easier. Everything could be simpler. That I never have to feel like this again. That skinny is so much easier than fat.
Ashley Perkins is fucking awesome, and she knows it.
I am also valedictorian, class president, former volleyball team captain, and was voted both Most Likely to Succeed and Best Personality two years in a row in our school’s yearbook, which is really more of a pamphlet. I scored the winning point during the state volleyball finals last year. Unfortunately it was because I spiked the ball into the face of our rival captain, but still. I have a Platinum Star (which is an A plus at normal, less weird schools) in AP Organic Chemistry.
AP Organic Chem! That's some serious smarts right there (from a person who has gotten...not quite an A in Organic Chemistry). So she's smart, she's popular, she's fantastic! But she also has a grandmother who only sees one thing about her...

She's fat. And her ever-loving, ever-concerned grandmother feels like that is the one thing she should focus on changing, because that's the one thing that initially matters.
But my grandmother thinks that not being fat is the part of me I should focus on. That being a size 18 (or sometimes 20) will ruin my life. She says, “You do not deserve to be automatically dismissed for utterly arbitrary aesthetic reasons that have nothing to do with your worth as a human being.”
Her grandmother is not some random, cranky old grandma, she's as perfect of a person as one could ever expect. Her grandmother is perfect. Beautiful, elegant, smart...she's a surgeon, for god's sakes. As much as Ashley doesn't want to listen to her grandmother, her words are hard to ignore. Ashley was never even aware that she was anything but normal until her grandmother mentioned it to her when she was thirteen.
That’s when the word fat became something real. Something that would follow along behind me and settle in dark corners and slither around the back corridors of my mind. Whether or not I acknowledged it, the idea was inside me.

For my birthday that year, she gave me my body. Or her idea of it.
Every year since, on her birthday, her grandmother has given her a coupon good for one shopping trip per every 10 pounds lost. Every year, the bribes increase in value, from a shopping trip to a trip in Paris, to a new car. But this year's gift...and bribe, trumps them all.
Ashley Maria Perkins. Weight-loss surgery in exchange for four years of tuition at Harvard University.
Harvard University is her dream come true. Seemingly, weight loss surgery is an easy way out.
A dieter can try and a dieter can fail—and does most of the time—and dieting doesn’t work because it’s more than calories in and calories out, these journals tell me. Dieting doesn’t work but it’s not the dieter’s fault that they’re weak. And it’s not the fat person’s fault they’re fat. But that can be fixed and that can be rearranged—literally—and everything and everyone can live happily ever after.
As much as she doesn't want to change herself, as much as she doesn't feel the need to conform to what her grandmother feels she should look like, an idea once implanted, will take seed, and that idea keeps nagging and bothering Ashley. Is losing weight really that bad? What is she willing to do to reach her dreams? In making her decision, Ashley is going to have to confront some demons within herself.
Having to prove myself, over and over.
I have never allowed myself to acknowledge this, not really. More important, no one was ever supposed to know. Somehow, I really believed no one ever suspected I had this frantic, terrified center, a churning, overheating engine constantly propelling me forward. The energy behind everything I do. Everything I am.
I like that her grandmother is not a villain. She is strict and adamant in her beliefs, but while unreasonable, she is not evil. She is a perfectionist, she has only the best intentions, and she has a heart, we see it, especially when she is dealing with Ashley's friend Jolene. She is cruel at times, but I feel like she is unintentionally so, with the kind of ignorance that comes with thinking "I'm only doing this for your sake." Her cruelty isn't so cruel as it is, more or less, a well-intentioned love of sorts, however ignorant.
She checks her lipstick in the rearview mirror, and then smiles at me again. “You finally know how important this is. You’re better than your mother ever was, and I am determined to give you every possible advantage.” She opens her door and slips out, taps up the stone path in her kitten heels.
In case I haven't made this clear throughout my review, I thought this book was fantastic. It was well-written, the main character is just a person. Weight is always a sensitive issue and this book never made me feel like I was reading a book about a fat girl. She is a person before she is her size, she is not defined by her size. She is defiant, funny, interesting, not a pitiful character by any means. This book makes the main character a strong person by her own rights, it makes her personality, what drives her, a more significant issue than her weight. This is not a book about losing weight, it's a book about finding yourself.

All quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
645 reviews1,298 followers
August 27, 2015


"Nothing will get easier. And nothing will be better. Don’t change your mind."

I don't think I've read any books that dealt with the subject of self-image and acceptance. And now I realize how much I should try and read more about the subject because I have been struggling with a similar problem.
I thought this book touched on the subject pretty well. It was a delicate subject that was handled in a way that wasn't preachy. It was done in such a way that you'd take something out from the story while at the same time enjoying the book.

"Every year on my birthday, my grandmother, my father’s mother, the woman we owe our whole lives to, reminds me that I am risking everything."

Ashley Maria Perkins is fat. Or at least that's what her grandmother thinks.
"The issue, my grandmother will be quick to tell you, is that I am fat."

She knows she isn't skinny, but she was okay with that. She is fine with the fact that she is on the heavier side. She knows she's amazing because there's a lot of things she could do. She believes in herself. She doesn't understand why her grandmother could not see how being skinny wasn't at all important to her.

Her grandmother always gives here these cards wherein she gives her something in exchange for losing weight. She didn't really care about them. She always declined.
At least, until her grandmother gave her something that she really really wants.



I really liked Ashley's character. She is confident, smart, and knows what she wants in life. She is something I am not.

I have been described as ambitious, smart, outgoing, driven, stubborn, and sometimes bossy by people who love me, though that last one is not true. I’ve also been described as fat by my grandmother and select others, which is true.
I've always been an insecure girl. I have a lot of issues with how I look like. Especially how much I weigh. I always find something wrong with myself, even with the smallest things that no one else really cares about. So when I read this book, I realized how badly I've been treating myself. How I should be more confident with what I have and who I am.

Even when she was on the heavier side, Ashley didn't take crap from anyone. There's this girl who always tease her about her weight, but she doesn't take that shit from her. She doesn't allow the bitch to reign over her. She have friends who love her and support her but she doesn't need them to defend her. She is more than capable of doing so herself. And I envy her of that. There was a time though when she was at her weakest (who doesn't though). When she almost gave in to what she doesn't want to do, to get what she wants the most. But she realized what is really more important.

Ashley's an amazing character and I love reading her perspective. I wish I could be more like her.


Romance did not have a big part in this story. Thank heavens. It played a very tiny role. I thought there was going to be cheating but I was so wrong. I'm glad the romance part turned out the way it did. It was unexpected. I thought it was the best way to go about with the story.


I liked how the story went. The plot was pretty easy to follow and straight to the point. This was a book about self acceptance and that is what we got. There were minor subplots with Ashley's friend Laura and Jolene, but all of them had to deal with the central theme of the story so it does not take away anything from the main story line.

“You do not deserve to be automatically dismissed for utterly arbitrary aesthetic reasons that have nothing to do with your worth as a human being.”


"Your body isn’t her business.”


"I am the sum of my parts. Everything I’ve ever done and everything I’ve ever achieved and everything I have ever been. Fat and smart and afraid and fierce and angry and brave all together right here, and every piece of the puzzle fits the way it’s supposed to and I can’t pretend anymore. It’s always been true, no matter what I’ve told myself or hoped or tried to believe."



The story itself was something I easily could relate to and a lot of people would be able to relate to. Maybe not with Ashley's character, but maybe with Jolene or Laura.
I liked Ashley's character. She was as real as you can get. There was nothing fake about her. All her reactions to the things she went through were realistic.
The writing is very easy to get through.
There are some great lines on this book.
Ashley's grandmother is also a great character. She wasn't exactly an antagonist because you understand why she does the things she does. I think that's very important.
No fucking instalove. Romance is not a key player in this story. It focused more on the friendship than the romance.
The cover is so cute.
How realistic the topic this book touched on.


Probably the slower parts. But there wasn't a lot of them
Although I don't hate her Grandmother, I despise the way she treats Ashley. She was forcing her to do the thing she wants her to do by blackmailing her into giving her something she wants. I get that it happens. But come on. Give the girl some slack. She is doing the best she can with her life and you have to go around and point out to her that she will never get anywhere because she's fat. Come on lady. So not cool.


I was cheering Ashley the entire time while reading this. She doesn't deserve the crap that her grandmother is putting her through. She owes her a lot, but damn, she has to live her own life the way she wants to. It was unfair of her grandmother to blackmail her. But I know it happens not the exact way as it has in the book, but the part where kids or teens are not allowed to choose what they want to be. I could relate to that in a way.

I loved this book. I would recommend it to everyone who would like a good contemporary read that would leave you with something to really think about.
Profile Image for Jen Larsen.
Author 6 books101 followers
April 9, 2017
In Future Perfect, Ashley is beautiful, confident, and fat. She’s facing a grandmother who loves her more than anything and is afraid that her weight will hold her back—and so she offers Ashley a bribe to get weight loss surgery. And Ashley is grappling with her fear that despite her own confidence, her grandmother isn’t wrong. And that���s even harder because her grandmother loves her and wants what’s best for her, right?

Jolene is a transgender girl whose parents are really struggling with accepting what they think is their daughter’s choice and her identity; she’s also being pressured into “doing something” about her body. Laura’s parents have very specific ideas about who she should be and what kind of future she should have, and expect her to follow in her father’s footsteps as a lawyer. She wants to be an artist, but she’s not sure what exactly she wants to do with her life.

So Future Perfect—this book is about the person I wish I had known, when I was young and struggling. The person I wish I could have been. This book is about how hard it is to stay true to yourself, to believe in yourself and be brave and proud and strong—but how important it is, and that it is worth it.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
October 5, 2015
A poorly written -- I'd even say dangerous disingenuous -- look at a girl whose story hinges on her grandmother's offer to pay for 4 years of college in exchange for her getting "weight loss surgery."

The girl is 17, "tall," and "size 18, sometimes 20." There's never any discussion of diets, of dietitians, of being the right weight for her height and body shape. There's nothing alternative to grandma's offer except not doing it. There's nothing to Ashley as a character at all, except for this.

Full review here: http://stackedbooks.org/2015/10/skip-...
Profile Image for Paula M.
547 reviews641 followers
October 14, 2020
"I am the sum of my parts. Everything I’ve ever done and everything I’ve ever achieved and everything I have ever been. Fat and smart and afraid and fierce and angry and brave all together right here, and every piece of the puzzle fits the way it’s supposed to and I can’t pretend anymore. It’s always been true, no matter what I’ve told myself or hoped or tried to believe."

That was a surprise. Future Perfect is such an empowering read! First of all, I want to dismiss the thought that books about fat protagonists are only meant for people who are on the same situation. NO! Books such as this are meant for everyone! Every gender, age group or whether you're experiencing the same thing or not. Everyone will finish this book with a powerful message received which is to simply be happy and find acceptance with whatever season you're in right now. That may seem very simple but Jen Larsen written it all in the most beautiful way.

Ashley is very refreshing. Its great to be inside the head of a fat protagonist that is not unhappy or not feeling bad about the way she look. Ashley is smart, driven and most of all, she's real. She's like an eye opener to everyone who thinks that all fat people are miserable or sad about their life. Ashley tends to ramble though which is my least favorite thing because it makes the book slower for me to read. But other than that, Ashley is nothing but inspiring. She's admirable in every way and her character growth is just superb!

Other characters are completely well done as well and their subplots played a huge role in the story. Her grandmother which seems mean and the villain of the story is one of my favorite character. She's just so complex. I am really impressed by Jen Larsen's characterization and her writing. The story was set in a pace where you feel like you're jut there... with Ashley. You will sympathize, you will feel and you will also learn.

Romance wasn't a huge part of the story but it was still there. I can't really say anything anymore except that it was not cliche and that it was just all...real.

Overall, I highly recommend Future Perfect. It doesn't matter what kind of reader you are or that you feel like you've already read books like this before, YOU NEED THIS BOOK in your life.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,726 reviews1,277 followers
October 1, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Ashley Maria Perkins. 80 pounds for a new car.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl bullied to lose weight by her grandmother.

Ashley seemed like quite a well-adjusted young lady, and it was obvious that she knew her own mind and knew what she wanted, and that wasn’t to lose weight. I liked that she stood up to her grandmother, even if she did dither over the weight loss surgery for a little too long!

The storyline in this book was about Ashley’s life whilst applying to Harvard, and wondering about having the weight loss surgery. My attention did lapse a bit in places, and I found the story quite slow.
There was a little bit of romance, but not a lot.

The ending to this was okay, although Ashley’s life seemed a little undecided.

6 out of 10
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,144 reviews1,009 followers
September 23, 2015
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight

Le sigh. I wanted to love this one so much. The concept appealed to me on a ton of personal levels, and I was anxious to see what direction it took. I feel like some of the problems I had with the book are almost opposite of problems that others have had. For instance, I have seen a lot of reviewers completely shocked that a grandmother would bribe her granddaughter to lose weight. That didn't shock me in the least. In fact, I know a few of you knew about my BEA dilemma- that I hadn't lost enough weight for my mom to agree to pay for it- and how devastated I was, that even though I had worked to lose it, it wasn't enough. So yeah. Ashley's story is a real thing, and it does happen. If you are appalled by it, good. Thank you. I appreciate your outrage. You're right!

I enjoyed the setup of the book, basically. The part where we learn Ashley's history, the story behind her grandmother's ridiculousness, Ashley's perfectionism, her awesome friends, and her family dynamic, as well as the weight stuff.

But then... I don't know, it really lost momentum along the way for me. The story took some kind of random, kind of ridiculous/unbelievable turns. I can't really say what happens of course, but it didn't feel like it had much to do with the original story at hand.

There was romance, but not a ton of it. There were two guys, but I assure you it was not a triangle, so that's good news. I just wasn't super invested in either one, but they were both pretty stand up, decent guys, so at least that part wasn't terribly annoying.

My problem with this book was pretty much threefold:

The aforementioned random plots. These really could have been left out and nothing would have been lost from the book. In fact, maybe had the random side plots been fewer, I would have had more of a connection to Ashley. Which I did not.
I got kind of bored/didn't care. It wasn't that I wasn't worried about the outcome it was just that it seemed to take a long time to get there. And I wasn't feeling much emotion from Ashley, which made it even harder for me to care about her. Like, I was genuinely more concerned about her friend than I was about Ashley for a good portion of the story, and I doubt that was the point.
(And this is kind of the biggest) I really don't see a physician in good standing even consenting to perform a bariatric surgery on a teenager with no other health problems who isn't even that overweight. Add to that that it's abundantly clear that Ashley doesn't want this surgery, and it would be even less likely. There's usually a significant amount of counseling to ensure patient cooperation and motivation. Proof? Yeah, I have that. 

Bottom Line: Look, I like what the author is trying to do here, and I absolutely agree that families can play huge (and often quite negative) roles in our self confidence, how we feel about our appearance, etc. I love that Ashley was so successful, and that we were taken on her journey. I just can't look past the meandering story and implausibilities. 

*Copy provided by publisher for review
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
February 18, 2016
“Why do you need to be different from how you are now?”

With such an intriguing premise, I expected this book to be one of those wowing, spectacular reads. First of all, I want to applaud the author for writing about such a delicate topic, especially when it's one that affected her personally.

Every year on her birthday, Ashley's grandmother gives her a card. Ashley has been promised dazzling presents ever since she was little, but the cost is always the same: In order to receive these gifts, she has to lose weight.

Ashley has always accepted her size and always refuses her grandmother's "birthday cards," but this year she is being offered something she can't turn away. Now she is torn between doing what she believes is right and giving in to her grandmother's demands to get weight loss surgery.

The reason I couldn't connect with this book was because Ashley wasn't a very interesting character. In the beginning she was categorized by her friends as inspirational, bossy, sweet, and smart. But when I tried to get a sense of these qualities, there just wasn't much evidence to showcase it.

What I really, really wanted was for this story to evoke sympathy from me and help me understand Ashley's emotional struggle. Instead I felt distant toward her, which resulted in me yawning when she was being mistreated because of her size, rather than making me angry or worried.

Ashley actually had a nicely fleshed out character, but I felt like she was representing a problem bigger than the rest of her life. Instead of subtly inserting the issue of pressurized weight loss surgery, Ashley was her problem. This resulted in her character feeling bland and lifeless.

If this book were a movie I would call it a documentary, as the story followed Ashley around mechanically. Facts were served up on a cold platter but there wasn't much emotion to go along with it.

There were a couple other issues I had that I won't bother going in to, including a stereotypical mean girl and Ashley salivating over another guy when she already had a boyfriend.

Over all I liked the message about how your body is your own and you don't need anyone else to "approve" it for you, but I'm afraid this powerful point was lost in a cast of dry characters and a plot lacking in excitement.
Profile Image for Bibi Rose.
128 reviews10 followers
October 5, 2015
This is a WALLOP of a teen book and I can't wait to sell it! More comments to follow when it's out.

OK, here we go. I enjoyed Larsen's memoir, and I knew that when she wrote fiction it would be good. The book takes you a LOT of places in 200 pages and reflects the way life starts zooming ahead at that age. I like it because it deal with issues but is not an "issues book." A lot of it feels like attending a party-- hanging out with cool people who are characters with real depth. The voice is breezy and assured and very teenage. That made the profound betrayal-- horrible, but sadly realistic-- by some of the adults come as even more of a shock. But the main character's reaction to all of it feels very plausible.

By the way, the book deals with weight issues but they are folded into typical high school academic, achievement and dating issues-- in addition to family issues-- in a way that I think will make it pretty universally appealing.
Profile Image for Molly.
456 reviews128 followers
September 10, 2015
Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this book

Wow this book took me by surprise! I actually liked it a lot more than another book that's coming out soon that is also about big girls and body positivity.

First off I need to say that I've seen a lot of outraged reviews crying HOW CAN A LOVING GRANDMOTHER DO THIS TO HER GRANDCHILD?! Well... the Grandmother in this book is not the type of cookie baking, present giving, snuggly grandmother, Nana, Granny, what have you that comes to mind when you think "Grandmother". The Grandmother in this book is a hard, ambitious woman who grew up, worked and thrived in a world older than ours. With different expectations. In our more progressive, contemporary society body image and the fight for body positivity is NOTHING LIKE what this woman had to deal with. Grandmother is a female surgeon who succeeded in a field during a time when it was difficult for women to do so. And being pretty was a way to get ahead, gain respect, and be taken a little more seriously (I mean come on, this woman must have been working in the 70-80s!) So I think that if we take a moment to think about what Grandmother is REALLY like in this book then, yes, she COULD do this to her grandchild.

Every year for her birthday Ashley, our MC, gets a card with a coupon in it from Grandmother. Lose 50 pounds and you get a new car. Lose 80 pounds and you get a shopping trip in Paris. Finally on her 17th birthday Ashley gets the ultimate coupon: get weight loss surgery and you get 4 full years of tuition to Harvard University. Harvard is Ashley's dream. She wants to be a doctor and she works hard to get in to such a prestigious school. Now Ashley is a big girl, but she's SUPER confident and okay with her body. She attends a small alternative school with her best friends and boyfriend, she's the Valedictorian, plays volleyball, and she's happy. Her home life could probably use some work (mother walked out on them, father is pretty hopeless, Grandmother takes care of them), but she's happy. And has no issue with her size. Until her Grandmother makes a point of it. Sure she confessed to her longtime crush and he turned her down because she "wasn't his type" and she knew he really just didn't want to date the fat chick, but she moved on!

So when Ashley is presented with this ultimate choice she doesn't know what to do. Her friends are against it and Ashley doesn't want it. She doesn't understand why her Grandmother can't see that her weight is NOT holding her back. Grandmother thinks that people wont take Ashley seriously because of her weight, that they'll discredit her or not even give her the time of day. Grandmother thinks that being thin will get Ashley ahead. See what I mean by old fashioned thinking?

Now, I was rooting for Ashley to do what she wanted. This book is about body positivity but it's also about CHOICES. And I liked that. Everyone has the right to choose what to do with their own body. Yes some people choose to treat their bodies like crap, but others choose to be happy in their skin no matter what their size. Or gender. See, there was this lovely transgender subplot that was so seamlessly woven in that it didn't even really register with me until like halfway through the book. One of Ashley's BFF's, Jolene, is transgender. Has been since 4th grade. And ironically her biggest supporter is GRANDMOTHER! I loved this so much. As old fashioned as the woman is, she just wants people to be happy in what she believes is their best body. And while she doesn't think that Ashley's size 20 is her best body, she does believe that Jolene being a girl rather than a boy is her best body. And she fights hard to protect Jolene from her awful parents. There's a very interesting juxtaposition between the two different types of body modification surgeries talked about in this book and Jolene's parents are pushing her to choose to move forward and do something about her ~transition~ and she's not sure if she wants to go through the physical surgical change and I loved so much how the message regarding both Ashley and Jolene was IT IS YOUR CHOICE AND NOBODY ELSES.

So what does Ashley choose? Read the book, go on the adventure with her and her friends and find out! Explore her choices and root for how awesome she is because Ashley is an awesome girl!

One final thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the writing! It was so full of energy and a bit frantic at times and I just really enjoyed all the little things, the character quirks, ALL THE CUTE PUPPIES. Yes. ALL. THE. CUTE. PUPPIES.
Profile Image for Just a person .
995 reviews294 followers
September 9, 2015
3.5 stars (liked it a lot)

I wanted to read Future Perfect because the premise. Her grandmother offers big incentives to try to get Ashley to lose weight, and a college ride, this year's offer, is extremely hard to pass up. But Ashley is okay with how she looks, she knows she is bigger than the average person, but she is smart, funny, and motivated, and she wants that to be enough.

I am a larger person, and I do not have near the confidence and acceptance of my body as Ashley does. And I think that is a beautiful message-- weight just being a number, and really accepting that what makes you who you are is on the inside, your personality, and your drive in life, and she doesn't want to let what is on the outside, her size 20 to define her. But she faces pressure from all sides, her friends, teachers, her grandma to accept this. She understands they are just trying to help, but that is a hard thing when no one seems to be able to just let it go, and love her for who she is, not what she looks like.

I liked how she was strong, and put on her brave face. Ashley surrounded herself with her friends, and family, and she is able to stay pretty confident about who she is. She is a people pleaser when it comes to her grandmother, and it turns out that she feels obligation to her because of how much she has done for her dad, her and her brothers. I appreciate that at one point, she tried to see it from her grandma's point of view as well as how it might change her health and future. But she realized a lot about herself, and that it is okay for her to stand up for it.

The premise played out well, and I liked how the romance wasn't the main thing. She does have a boyfriend, and I appreciate that he didn't seem to care about her size, rather who she is and her personality. Rather, her friendships and family as well as her college dreams and decision about her birthday proposition.

While it dealt with some heavy issues, it didn't get bogged down. It was all about the characters and their development.

The ending was well done, and I liked the way Ashley made decisions for her best future.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.

Bottom Line: Good one on body image.
911 reviews2 followers
August 20, 2015
A pretty awesome read that a lot of young girls will be able to relate too. An overweight young lady whose basically been given the "keys to the kingdom of her dreams" if she loses the weight that her grandmother bribes her into. Is it wrong when your own family pushes you to do something for all the wrong reasons? Read the book & find out!!!
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,172 reviews1,307 followers
February 21, 2020
Full Review on The Candid Cover

Future Perfect is definitely a book with some “All About That Bass” vibes. It is extremely positive with an amazing message and a main character who is very intelligent and brave. However, I really disliked the grandmother in Future Perfect, who bribes her own granddaughter.

Future Perfect is such an influential book about body image! I found this book to very very positive, despite the fact that the main character’s grandmother is unkind towards her. The whole point of the book is that, “It’s the size of your heart that counts.” I loved this message and I’m sure others will find it very inspirational.

I loved Ashley as a main character for Future Perfect. She embraces the fact that she is considered overweight by others and doesn’t give in to bullying. Ashley is also extremely smart, and applies to Harvard. When Ashley’s own grandmother bribes her with things like cars to lose weight, Ashley doesn’t give in or let it get to her. I really admired this about her, because a lot of YA books have weak characters that give in to harassment, which can be a bit irritating. Characters that are strong really make books relatable and enjoyable to read.

Though I did enjoy the positive message and plucky main character, I really disliked Ashley’s grandmother. It is not okay to bribe your own granddaughter to lose weight, especially when she rejects the offers many times. Because of this cruel character, Future Perfect wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. It was a disappointing aspect of this story that really did not sit well with me.

Future Perfect is so encouraging with its motivational message and a main character that is very confident about her body. However, the grandmother in this book aggravated me and brought down my rating of the book. I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for an uplifting novel about body image.
Profile Image for Celeste_pewter.
593 reviews147 followers
June 23, 2015
I wanted to love this book, because I think that books about positive body image are important.

However, I think that this book lacks a certain degree of subtlety and nuisance. Without giving spoilers away, Larsen doesn't give her character any other options outside of either having the surgery or not, and going to her dream school or not.

She doesn't explore alternative financing options - e.g. student loans - doesn't consider the possibility of other schools, and doens't really think of just telling her grandmother to sod off.

The story feels incomplete without that nuisance, and takes from what could have been a very, very powerful message.
Profile Image for Meg.
381 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2015
I liked the premise of this book very much, but was truly disappointed in the supporting characters. Ashley's brothers are particularly foul, and no redemption is found for them. The dad was weak, but he at least he came through in the end.
This review is based on an ARC provided to me by the publisher
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
13 reviews
May 21, 2016

There are a few reasons that I didn't finish this book. It was incredibly slow moving, and by the time I even got to the tuition offer I'd been tempted to give up multiple times. I thought surely the offer would speed up the pace! But it didn't.
Also, I didn't like the writing style and Ashley and her friends did not seem like realistic teens. I teach kids every day, and these characters did not read as teens. Or even people with souls. And considering all the advanced classes, and Ashley's ambition to attend Harvard, she didn't read as smart at all.

Mostly, though, I was just so incredibly bored. And it seemed like the book tried to tackle too much (it was racially diverse, concerned with feminism and body policing, transgender rights, college pressure) and it spread the focus too thin. I was far more interested in Jolene's subplot, though the name Jolene itself made me cringe because, you know, Dolly Parton.
Profile Image for Jane.
235 reviews67 followers
December 30, 2015
"I have a Platinum Star (which is an A plus at normal, less weird schools) in AP Organic Chemistry."


Edit: I have read this and am decidedly unsold. There was zero mention about her in AP organic chemistry class or doing AP organic chemistry questions or reading AP organic chemistry textbooks. She just said one line about getting a platinum star and you expect me to believe it??


(yes I am very sore about this whole AP organic chemistry thing because I was naive enough to think there would be chemistry jokes or at least a damn mention about the chair or boat or funny faces you can draw in skeletal formula or is it too much to ask??)
Profile Image for Ella.
568 reviews108 followers
June 5, 2015
Profile Image for JM Cabral.
212 reviews28 followers
January 3, 2016
DNF at 55%

So, okay. Remember when I reviewed Dumplin' and told everyone that "I'm all for the YA literary trend that relates to perfectly imperfect characters such as Willowdean Dickson"? It was actually from that realization that made me want to read Future Perfect, seeing that Ashley Perkins, the main character of this book, happens to be experiencing the same troubles that Willowdean did. She, too, was overweight and the story seems to revolve on that specific idea. I happen to love Dumplin', and I, too, happen to be overweight. That's what enticed me to read this book as well. One of the many reasons why I read books is that I want to relate to the characters that authors introduce me to. As for the case of Future Perfect and Ashley Perkins, it wasn't like that at all.

I feel like there's too much conversation in this book and it led the story away from the reader. The author seems to have focused on writing a story based on conversations rather than giving due importance to other elements of a good story like actual character developments, mid-story plot twists, etc. I mean, most of the time, I personally tend to look for an actual dialogue so that I could vividly understand a story, but in the case of this book, there was just too much of that. Unnecessary little stories were written when there was no actual relation to the story. I don't know if I'm perfectly able to put my thoughts about this into writing, but, the point is there were just too many dialogues.

As for the characters, I don't know if it's just me or there were also too much characters who I, as a reader, wasn't even introduced to. It was utterly confusing for me, since I didn't even know who the main character was talking to most of the time. I had to backtrack several times so that I could comprehend what was actually going on. This could have been great if the author tried a little harder to make her characters a little more identified.

One more thing I want to add is that the premise of this book could have been great if the writing style was more vivid and creative. See, the story was about a girl who had it all: a brain, a social life, and even a boyfriend. Her only dilemma was that she was overweight. Now, I don't know about you guys but that to me seems like a great story in itself. The author just had to make things a little more interesting so as to keep the readers hooked up. Unfortunately, I wasn't kept interested enough to at least finish this book.

But of course, that’s just me. You could always check out Future Perfect by Jen Larsen and it may work out for you. It is already out, and you should check out your local book stores to see if they have it. As for my Filipino readers, I know that Fully Booked has them in stock and it is priced at Php684.00.
Profile Image for Beth.
215 reviews16 followers
January 3, 2016
This is the kind of book I love best -- rich, nuanced, sympathetic to all of its characters (which is harder to pull off in first person, but damned if she didn't do it). And it's so true to the experience of a smart teenager heading towards adulthood without a single wise adult voice to guide her. Most reviews are focusing on the weight issues, which are of course front and center in the plot, but I wish I'd had this novel when I was sixteen, and I was not overweight.

(Also: to counter other reviews, five bonus stars for the cussing. More cussing, please.)
Profile Image for Bluerose's  Heart.
532 reviews28 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
May 18, 2015
It broke my heart to not get to finish this book! I didn't get very far into the book, but I already loved the voice. The religious profanity started soon into the story, and quickly scrolling through, it happens more often. It's only one of two words that will make me immediately put down a book, so when it came into the story, my face flopped down on my arm in disappointment.

Publishers and authors....this language doesn't gain readers, but it does lose them. Please consider leaving the offensive language out of books. :S
October 8, 2015
Great book for teens about accepting your body and self as-is despite what other people might think or say, even if they supposedly have your best interests at heart. The characters are nuanced like real people and the action is engaging. I had a pretty good idea what Ashley would ultimately decide from the beginning, but I enjoyed following her thoughts and feelings throughout the back and forth. It is not clear-cut. It is like life. I hope this book will help teens feel like they are ok and normal and maybe even, perfect.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
September 23, 2015
Gave up after about 120 pages.

Damn it, I keep coming across really diverse books that I can't click with for some reason and I'm sick of it. All I want is to read diversely, but I'm not willing to put myself through something I don't enjoy for that!

Anyway, there's a lot of great stuff here. Ashley is half-Colombian, her best friend Laura is also a POC character, and fellow friend Jolene is trans. That's just the start of it! The relationship between Ashley and her grandmother as well as the grandmother's character are very complex and Ashley's dilemma of whether to get the weight loss surgery to go to the school she otherwise couldn't go to is a believable one. All in all, the stuff of a great novel is here.

What's stopping me is the voice. Ashley's voice is too lofty and doesn't work for me as a teen's voice in any way. As a voice reader, this element is CRUCIAL and it's the spell of death if I decide a narrator's voice isn't doing anything for me. She's valedictorian and all these other big things at her super competitive private school, but I never really feel or see that intelligence on the page. For instance, she says she doesn't know what "conviction" means--and says it seriously--but then uses the word in that context correctly literally two pages later.

In any case, this novel is a perfect example of how voice can make or break a YA novel. Everything here would be so much better and noteworthy if Ashley's narration weren't so stilted and un-teen-like.

For anyone concerned about the Big Question:
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,868 reviews419 followers
October 5, 2015
Hmm, not sure exactly how I feel about this one. I'm between 3 and 4 stars. Going to sleep on it and pick a rating in the morning.

First thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an egalley of this title. And when I saw that the Fantastic Flying Book Club was hosting a tour for this, I knew I had to join in. Overall this was a pretty good book! I've always been a fan of weight loss stories. While weight wasn't an issue for me when I was in high school, it has been an adult problem for me, I really am able to understand all the feelings and situations of the character no matter what their age. This story definitely had those same feelings that I understand well.

I feel it was a pretty original story, the characters were all great, and well developed. At times I struggled a bit with the story because of how it was a bit scattered and such, but it wasn't like that in a bad way, I feel like it totally fit in with the characters, and was how the story was meant to be told. I definitely will be recommending this one.

To read my full review, go to Lisa Loves Literature
Profile Image for Molly.
Author 1 book8 followers
October 17, 2015
17yo me recognizes Ashley. And man oh man did I cry through parts of this book.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews51 followers
October 10, 2015
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more! A GIVEAWAY OF THE BOOK AND OTHER AWESOME SWAG IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW, EVERYONE!

*3.5 star rating*

Future Perfect blew me away in one of those ways that I wouldn't change for the world. It's life-changing, heartbreaking and too relatable to me that I can't think about anything else anymore. It's unique, though troubling at times, especially for the main character, Ashley, who is put under constant pressure of being manipulated to lose weight and lose all of her self-confidence that she continued to have throughout the book. It's pretty horrible to have someone at your side constantly putting you down and making sure that you are going to change somehow. I'm not saying that I've put in Ashley's situation—no, never. But I'll tell you that I could relate to Ashley Ms. Overachiever than anyone else.

Ashley's grandmother is a good person, but a total worrier about too much. Every year on Ashley's birthday, she offers her a new thing or gift to make her lose weight. Disneyland, a shopping trip to Paris, you name it. This year, on her latest birthday, her grandmother offers her full tuition to Harvard if she goes for weight loss surgery. Ashley's weight never bothered her, but things are getting weird as she knows that this is the only chance she'll get to fulfill her dreams. She's going to be a legacy at Harvard, since her mother went there and followed her dreams as well. But of course, things get in between which could damage that "perfect future" forever.

"My hands shake and I hate every tremor. She wants the whole world for me, and this is the only thing I have to give her in return. She tells me this without actually saying the words. This is the only change I have to make."

Yes, this is the "only change" she has to make. At first, Ashley's transition begins as a small thing that doesn't seem like a big deal. She initially doesn't get the message that her grandmother is practically tormenting her in embarrassment that her granddaughter is overweight and needs to change her image. It's like bribery and blackmailing—that's what this book has. It's horrible in Ashley's situation, but it's amazing for readers since we were given the chance to read about such a pleasureful story that we won't ever be given the chance to read about again in the near future. There's no book out like this in the world, that's for sure.

I'm an overachiever, and kind of proud? Ashley has dreams, she wants to be a doctor and attend a good school. That's kind of what I've been beginning to think about, and I spent the summer researching and going crazy about what I'd like to do. It's a crazy deal that Ashley's grandmother has put Ashley in, but I kind of get it. It's not right for a family member, or anyone to be tormenting you, making deals with you to change your image. It's not like Ashley has any kind of a horrible personality. No. She's happy, and that makes readers and everyone happy. She's not a miserable protagonist, she's living life and doing the things that everyone should do, like a bucket list in a way, except it's one before college.

This doesn't have any romance at all. At least, not really. Ashley does have a boyfriend, whose name I won't mention because some spoilers could absolutely sprout up out of nowhere. But I'll tell you—she doesn't deserve to be treated the way she was by her friends, acquaintances and everyone around her. To be honest, her family was the worst out of everyone, which isn't just at all.

"Everything here is familiar. It is easy to settle into the things I know and the things I understand. Things that are real, unequivocal. Things that can't be broken."

I'm so proud of this whole novel because it hits readers' hearts. I can't stop thinking about it, smiling over the little lines and phrases that Jen Larsen provided us with, and I need more. More about this subject and more contemporary that focuses on so much more than your average, ordinary tale. The plot is fast-paced here and there, but it slows down. That's my only complaint, but I'd rather not focus on that since everyone could have a different opinion on that. The most important thing to me is that there's feels sprouting up from me and that I feel like this story could influence others and make them happy, even if there are some unfair and sorrowful parts of it.

I'm now happy and could call this a success because Ashley turned out to be happy. I've been waiting for this book for ages, and I feel have read it and am satisfied. Future Perfect is everything you've been waiting for this whole year, and after it, you'll just expect more to be flying towards you. Standalones hit me hard when they're looked upon at with tough subjects, but this was definitely a more positive, different look at teenagers stuck in the situation of being "fat." Some things are only stereotypes, but this book screws the stereotypes and goes through a new perspective that's worth reading and waiting for.
Profile Image for Rabiah.
488 reviews216 followers
July 30, 2016
**3/3.5 stars**

Originally posted at: http://iliveforreading.blogspot.com/2...

I don't think I've read a young adult novel that features a larger protagonist and focuses on weight-loss before! This was as interesting topic at hand for me, particularly because I'm definitely a larger girl, and it's sad that I really haven't explored this topic in fiction. Future Perfect seemed like a great book, but while I did love the core of the story, I had a few issues with the plot.

Some of the story was pretty unnecessary. I almost felt like giving up at points, but I really wanted to find out what Ashley decides to do in the end, which is why I kept on going. It was an intriguing read, but sooooo much filler. The weight-related content was good. A-plus reading! The other stuff just felt like the author was trying to unnecessarily drag on the book for a while. Like the party scene? While, like, one part of it was totally related to the plot, it just...didn't seem to fit with the message of the book. It actually made me not like Ashley, Jolene and Laura's characters all too much.

The characters were really diverse though. Not only do you have an overweight half-white half-Latina character, you also have Jolene, who is transgender, and Laura, who is black. A great cast of characters for sure. And all super complicated too. I was on the fence between liking them and despising them though, because I would often get annoyed at how adamant and snappish they were towards each other, as well as the whole escapade they get into as mentioned above. Friends help friends! Friends don't flake out or take it out on others without good reason. Ashley's grandma was probably my favourite character, because despite the terrible bribery on her part, she's such a good person. Ashley herself is a pretty good character–I liked her conviction and strength, as well as her weaknesses and vulnerable side. This girl doesn't let her weight alter her outlook on life, and she's top of the class and knows how to hold her place.

With Future Perfect, I wish two aspects were examined further. One is family, because I mean, her mom leaving was a pretty big part of her life, but I felt the book didn't go too much into it for some reason. While I liked that it didn't take over the entire plot, I just felt that it was somewhat incomplete. Second aspect? Romance. It kind of leaned more towards the filler part of the novel, because some of it was unnecessary and it unbalanced the plot a teeny tiny bit. However, I did love that it completely ruined the ugly opinion that some people have, which is that fat girls can't find love. Um, excuse me? WE TOTALLY CAN. Ashley proves it, amongst the bajillion other "fat" girls who supposedly can't get with a guy because of their size.

Inspirational and moving, Future Perfect, amidst its flaws, was powerful at the core. It brings me so much joy to see a protagonist, labelled a "fat" girl, accomplish and do so much, despite the negative opinions directed at her and her body. Jen Larsen delivers a strong message about body positivity, which, despite my hesitancy to like the story in its entirety, makes this an important novel for young adult readers.
Profile Image for Laura.
554 reviews199 followers
January 21, 2016
Ashley Perkins is valedictorian at an advanced high school, has a wonderful, artistic boyfriend, supportive friends, and a killer resume for college applications. But her grandmother doesn't see that. All she sees is her granddaughter's weight, and how it could influence her admission into Harvard. When Ashley receives the tempting note from her grandmother on her birthday, she grapples with the price of her dreams and her priceless worth.

Before reading this, I was incredibly excited to see another kind of body book and was curious about its premise. While Dumplin' was very body positive, embracing all shapes and sizes and health, this one tackles another kind of issue: what if the protagonist does care what others think about their weight?

I am the sum of my parts. Everything I've ever done and everything I've ever achieved and everything I have ever been. Fat and smart and afraid and fierce and angry and brave all together right here, and every piece of the puzzle fits the way it's supposed to and I can't pretend anymore.

I was on board with Ashley's anxiety before her birthday, the tension and build-up and pacing that would become Turning Point 1 in the novel. She's passionate and determined and hard-working, destined for greatness. But after receiving the note (and everyone getting all up in her business with their opinions on what she should do with her own body and future), her ultimate decision in Turning Point 2 seemed a bit lackluster. I'm not sure the Ashley at the beginning of the book would've gone in the direction Ashley at the end of the book did, but is that the character growth? I don't know. Nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to do with your life, especially when you're a teenager, but Ashley's reasons for going to Harvard pre- and post-note almost seem unimportant. Surely someone with her resume could also apply for scholarships, right?

I guess I'm just unsure about the delivery of the ending. It could be inspirational; it could be a cop-out. I'm on the fence about it.

What was completely unexpected was how integral her friends' lives (and their own journeys they tackled) were in the book. Jolene, transgender, and Laura, a free-spirit artist, have a lot on their plates. I was interested in each of them, but to the same degree and intensity I was interested in Ashley. So whose story am I supposed to invest most of my time in? Is this book about finding your own direction in life, regardless of what people say? If so, I think it was halfway to meeting that goal. I really wanted to read about Ashley. Save Jolene's powerful story and Laura's interesting one for other books to let all these voices ring properly.

Again, I'm unsure. There are good things in here, and moments of greatness (like that quote! YES!), but I think too much was attempted for one book. Body perception and health is quite the issue, and Ashley was a strong character. I wanted more.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 218 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.