Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pushing Perfect” as Want to Read:
Pushing Perfect
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pushing Perfect

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,107 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this layered, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. Wit
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 29th 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 25th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,107 ratings  ·  159 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Pushing Perfect
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Want me to erase these?
I’ll need a favor. Or two.”

This was a contemporary story about a girl blackmailed after buying drugs illegally.

I felt quite sorry for Kara in this story, she was so intent on being perfect that she stopped talking to her two best friends rather than tell them that she had a skin problem, and the panic attacks made things hard for her too.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
3.5 stars

For a suspensful mystery book, Pushing Perfect probably did not make the cut but as a contemporary YA that is quite unique and signifcant, this is actually good. The author surely knows how to write subjects that are out of the ordinary like she did with her debut novel, Playlist for the Dead although I liked this second book of hers a bit better.

This novel explores insecurities teenagers go through and how desperation could make them do something they would later regret. In this ca
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
*Thank you very much HarperCollins International for providing me an eARC in exchange of an honest book review.

All this pushing for perfection is damaging, you know.

The story started with this line:

During the summer between eighth and ninth grade, I turned into a monster.

This line, this specific line, really made me feel so excited to dive in this book. I immediately wanted to flip its pages and figure out what she was talking about. Because that was so intriguing, right?
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases
3.5 stars

Kara has lived her life struggling to be perfect. That's why she always push herself to be one. One petty imperfection needs to be covered. Little misdemeanor needs to be hidden. Which is why she was pretty shocked that her desire to nail the SAT exam has gotten her something that "Perfect Kara" never really needed - trouble. And discovering that she isn't alone in this, she learned that secrets, trust and friendships don't really go well.

This was actually an interesting read. Kara w
Note: I have read an ARC copy of the book, there may have been changes in the final and finish copy.

I'm still having a hard time believing that just happened. The ending, that is. Oh, specially that ENDING.


The ending was really unbelievable for me. It wasn't what I thought it'll be. Can't get my mind off it.

Overall, it was a light and profound read at the same time. It was compelling in its own way, fast-paced read it in one sitting.
Stay Fetters
Received an arc copy from my blogging partner JT. He received it at ALA Orlando 2016. Thanks.
I know, shocking. No favorite quote this time. There wasn't a single line from this book that actually sank into me.
This contained a lot of my favorite book scenarios. Blackmail, forbidden romance, intrigue and drugs, but this fell faster than a whore getting paid.
Kara is the perfect little angel, gets what she wants, has amazing supportive friends and her grades are outstanding. The only thing standin
Karen • The Book Return
When Kara experiences her first acne outbreak , she believes it is the beginning of her slide away from perfection. She slowly pushes away from her best friends and begins to worry about getting in to the best college. When she realizes she suffers from test anxiety, she seeks out a new way to ace the test. A new friend introduces her to a drug that will help her to concentrate. She soon begins to be blackmailed by someone who knows what she did. Kara worries that she will never be perfect again
A 3.5 actually, but I was feeling generous today so I will round up!!!

I liked this book because it's a light and a heavy read at the same time plus it speaks to me on an deep, emotional level (although I most certainly do not do drugs).

RTC later or tomorrow, I guess!
Karen Barber
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Kara is determined to be the best she can be. It's never clear whether the pressure placed on her comes from her own ambitions, or those of her parents. However, she has extreme anxiety over spots in her forehead (the way it's described sounds disfiguring, but nobody seems to notice) and has panic attacks at the prospect of messing up her SATs.
When Kara becomes friends with Alex she ends up being offered a new drug to ease her anxiety. She keeps it quiet, and thinks all will work out okay. Only
Vanessa ♛Queen Alchemy ϟ Novel Nerd Faction♛
I received an Advance Reader Copy at no cost from the author/publisher via Irish Banana Tours.

Pushing Perfect is about a girl with severe anxiety issues. The first thing that I have to say about this book before I go into the story or the characters is that much of the main character's inner workings can be very triggering to someone with these same issues. I personally deal with severe anxiety issues and while I appreciate the view of the main character, I also had a hard time getting through t
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I dived into the book without knowing much about it. I had no clue in which direction the story would go and I also had no idea how easy and heavy at the same time this book would turn out to be.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for Kara, especially since I can relate to her in many ways. It's pretty quick clear to see how much pressure she puts on herself and how demanded she is to always be perfect. It reaches the point at which she stops talking to her friends because of her skin problem and end
Elle (ellexamines)
3.5 stars. I loved the second half and the resolution too! I liked the characters a lot, even with all the side characters.

Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of my opinion on the first half was influenced by the description. The back promises something very different than what the book is, and I was actually pleasantly surprised by the plot. From the back, I was expecting (view spoiler)
Ottilie Temperance Metanoia
I was mildly irritated by the end of this book but overall I did enjoy it. I didn't know much going into it but I expected the plot to focus more on the Novalert and drug themes, perfectionism, mental illness and consequences of destructive coping mechanisms with either a downward spiral into addiction or an uplifting (but hopefully realistic) recovery story. I didn't get that and I was disappointed, but for the most part, I did enjoy the first half of the book.

Of the three people I suspected (t
I wrote and posted this review a while ago, but Goodreads ate it. Fortunately, I'd already copied it to NetGalley, so I can easily retrieve it again.

Sadly, this was very much not for me.

The NetGalley blurb led me to believe this would be a fairly relatable story about an intelligent perfectionist who, after years of doing well at school, is cracking under the pressure of college applications and as a result makes some point life choices. I thought from there it might either go into a downward
Grace Browne
Pushing Perfect was a book focused on relationships and a mystery. While I enjoyed this book, I expected a little more. The main character annoyed me throughout the book and though she got better at the end, I had trouble relating to her. The only redeeming quality of the main character was her relationships with the other, more likable characters. The mystery was interesting, but I felt that it ended sudddenly and was left partly unresolved. I liked this book, but I felt that it had the potenti ...more
Katie Hurse
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I definitely think this book had some untapped potential. It set up some interesting debates and topics - there was some interesting stuff about body image through the lens of skin trouble/extreme acne, female friendships evolving with age, parental pressure & panic attacks.
I did enjoy reading this book, and the reveal of the blackmailer was definitely unexpected, but it kind of felt pretty underwhelming from then on. I liked the romance that was set up, and how subtle it was throughout, but I
MJ Ranches
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so i recently just finished "playlist for the dead" and decided to go read this cause i really enjoyed the last one especially that it kept me being on the edge of my seat the whole time and lemme tell u something, this didn't fail me at all! it's really worth reading 💚 ...more
This book was kind of all over the place? At first I thought one thing was the plot, but them that was only the set up to the actual plot to start happenning and the actual plot was bananas. I think it would have succeed more if it focused on the MC struggles to open up and maintain healthy friendships, possible also deal with a substance abuse and have a cute side romance. Instead the book chooses to focus on a blackmail plot, that takes over almost any substancial and meaningful message the st ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book as I thought it was quite well written and it had a good story line. I would recommend this book for teenagers aged 13+.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perfect Kara doesn’t realize what she gotten herself into, when she makes a bad decision trying to fix her anxiety that revolves around the sat. Kara has always been the top of her class, and has always been pushed to get amazing grades. She aced every test, won awards, was part of a brain trust, and excepted fo attend an Ivy League school. All of this is endanger when she gets involved with the wrong people, and makes a decision that could change her future.

This book was very good, and similar
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not the story I expected basing from the cover. And I loved it.
Kelly Hager
Kara has been gently teased about her life for basically ever. Dubbed "Perfect Kara," everything about her is...well, you can guess.

Until her junior year of high school. Her face breaks out, which leads to her quitting swimming, which leads to her getting a whole new group of friends (don't ask) but the bigger problem is that she gets panic attacks now...which started during the PSAT.

And THAT leads to her making a dumb decision which leads to her getting blackmailed.

This book is insanely fun.
Lisa (lifeinlit)
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars!

Kara’s struggle with panic attacks is something quite a few people can relate to. They can get to the point where they are completely debilitating and interfere with everyday activities. For Kara, she suffers from them while trying to take her SATs, resulting in her passing out during the exam and being unable to finish it. Her new friend, Alex, introduces her to a new drug, Novalert, that will help to relieve her anxiety. Kara decides to give it a try for her exam retake, and purchase
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pushing Perfect was such a good read, which kind of surprised me as I read Playlists for the Dead and wasn’t exactly in awe, but this one really had me gripped from beginning to end. I love novels about blackmail and this one was right up my street – along with Kara, I had no idea who was the one blackmailing them and the way it all came together was kind of perfect; I was completely baffled by who the blackmailer was – I had an inkling, but I was still stunned, because it was just so insane!

May 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

I had the same problem I had with Michelle Falkoff's other book 'Playlist for the Dead'. The premise sounded really cool and had a lot of potential, but the execution wasn't my favourite. It definitely was a quick read, but I feel like it wasn't substantial enough. It kept being one-dimensional. The love story wasn't a huge part of the story, but it was insta-love. Very much so. There wasn't any chemistry either. I didn't expect Blocked Sender to be the person it was, though. It surprised me
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kara Winter has more than just a desire to be perfect - she has a need. When panic attacks have a very catastrophic effect on her very perfect future, Kara is given the opportunity to get her life back on track. Will a split second decision threaten to derail all that she has worked for? Will Kara and her friends be able to shake off the trouble that plagues them?

A group of smart and resourceful teenagers such as the ones depicted in Pushing Perfect would never allow the situation to continue as
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.8 stars

Hmm.. I like this book but it didn't kept my attention and interest, and I got busy with school so I needed to read an e-book before I finish this one. I think it was my first time to read a book like this one, involving the illegal. I like that it has that mystery side and it kept me guessing at first but as the story goes along, I guessed who the blackmailer is. I just did not like how the story ended, it seemed impossible to resolve a problem like what they did... Nevertheless, the s
Sai at theengineerisreading
RATING: 2.5 stars

I was hooked in the overall storyline of this mystery thriller YA novel but at some point, the sudden explode of all the sub-plots made it wearisome to comprehend; don’t get me wrong, I still finished this book but the ending worsened the general rating for the book.

I don’t want to sound like I really *HATE* Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff for I am not a fan of spreading animosity and I think, at the beginning, I kind of liked the premise of this novel so let me clarify my s
Jessica Ruback
I currently just finished "Pushing Perfect" by Michele Falkoff and I found this book to be much different from what I expected. I was disappointed with this book and did not find it as exciting as I had hoped. This book is about a girl named Kara who has done nothing but follow the rules and study as hard as she could. Kara has lost friends over her insecurities and spends all of her time striving to be the best in her class. It was senior year and she could not complete her SATs the first time ...more
The book rater
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
pushing perfect- Michelle falkoff

This book was a random pick off the shelf as I was waiting for a series to arrive. The cover didn't apeal to me at all but the blurb did.
​This book would make a great book for a book report, easy to read and a good moto along the way.  I personally really enjoyed this book and would reccomend it to anyone who wants a one off read, who likes teen fiction with a mystery to it.
Romance: 2/5
Violence: 0/5
Mystery: 4/5
Magic: 0/5
Writing: 4/5
Emotions: 3/5
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • 9 Days and 9 Nights
  • I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau
  • Antisocial
  • Anatomy of a Misfit
  • Seven Days
  • Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, #1)
  • The Bridge
  • Falling into Place
  • Letting Go of Gravity
  • Wild Blue Wonder
  • This Is Where the World Ends
  • A Taxonomy of Love
  • Stargazing For Beginners
  • Dear Charlie
  • Zac and Mia
  • 99 Days
  • Maybe You’ll Love Me When I’m Gone
  • Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies
See similar books…

News & Interviews

We all want to spend more time lost in the pages of great books. That's the idea behind our annual 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge! It's...
96 likes · 15 comments