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

The Perfect Child

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  16,624 ratings  ·  1,690 reviews
A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns u
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Thomas & Mercer
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Perfect Child, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jeanine Stage No. I was worried about that initially myself, but it is very different. Janie is an actual child.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,624 ratings  ·  1,690 reviews

More filters
Sort order
I’m okay with not having a happy ending, but an ENDING would be nice. I feel like the book ended in what should have been the end of a chapter.

Good book, although I found the husband, Christopher, INFURIATING.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One word to sufficiently describe this book: DISTURBING!!!

Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife, Hannah, have been struggling with infertility for years. Hannah, now 41, has all but given up hope of having children until.....

A young girl is found abandoned and walking alone through a parking lot covered in blood, malnourished, and once examined, is found to have multiple old and new bone fractures, none of which have ever been treated. Once thought to be a toddler it turns out after surgery that sh
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure I've ever read such a crazy, intense, non-stop, haunting, anxiety producing novel...but only in the best and most desirable way. I didn't want it to end.

Once this book has you in it's grips, it won't let go. I started it this morning and literally could not put it down. My poor husband probably feels deprived.

Having received The Perfect Child free as a Kindle First February option, I honestly didn't have high expectations. These freebie books are hit or miss for me. Sometimes the
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one messed up book and Janie is one messed up child. You’d think that the more psychological thrillers you read, the less they will affect you. But actually, it doesn’t work like that. If anything, your insides instinctively prepare themselves to be disturbed the moment you begin a new thriller.

I read this story at night. First mistake. My second was to take a break from it by taking a shower in my apartment, alone, at 4 am. Normally, I don’t care, I feel safe enough. But that night, the
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A dead meth addict's child being wild proves to be a pretty good read, even though placed far out in the field of unbelievable. I'm not sure where the ending is, though.

Do regular 6-year old undernourished kids the size of a newborn (even crazy ones) have the necessary strength to kill a grown up meth addict?

Is it really all right to ignore that the kid's mentally ill? And she's not just blandly 'ill', but bonkers and plenty dangerous to other people, not just herself.

All the manipulation they
Elaine Maynard
Feb 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
There was a knock on the door, I peeped behind the curtains to see who it was then I didn't bother to write a review after all.

Elyse Walters
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
.....narrated by Christine Williams Erin Bennett, Dan John Miller

The three voice narrators kept me interested - really hooked!!!

One reviewer compared this to ‘Baby Teeth’. Both books deal with a mentally troubled child....
But where ‘Baby Teeth’ was fiction nonsense — in which several of my friends who are child therapists agree.... ( Baby Teeth being way out in left field - one which few therapists vouch it’s realistic qualities-in which a young child expresses she wants daddy to k
Monika Sadowski
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jesus, What I’ve just read?!?! This book is very disturbing but I couldn’t put it down.  My emotions where all over the place because I didn’t know who should I feel sorry for more. I guess all of them :(
It is a story of the couple Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, who adopted an abused by her real mom child, Jenie. I think they underestimated how hard it is to foster traumatized child.
Lucinda Berry is a trauma psychologist and she uses her clinical experience to create psychological thr
Aga Durka
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks-2019
5 Disturbing Stars!!

This book will stay with me for a very long time. It was a disturbing and horrifying read but also it was so painfully real that it made my hair stand up on my arms at times. It is definitely not an easy read but oh so captivating and so hard to put down.

I admire any parent that decides to adopt or even foster a child, especially a child that has special needs, mental or physical. Christopher and Hanna lived through a spine-chilling nightmare, when they adopted Janie, an abu
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Okay I have been thinking about this book for the past 24 hours as what I am going to write well here it goes it was one disturbing read which I am not sure if I liked it or not. I had a few issues with it, first of Christopher got under my skin how could a Orthopaedic surgeon be so gullible, knowing true well what Janie was like even though he thought she was the apple of his eye could not do anything wrong... yeah right.... Piper Goldstein was Janie's social worker she did all that she could t ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
After years of infertility Dr Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah, a nurse, gave up the idea of having a biological child. When abandoned and battered six-year-old Janie winds up in the ER, they decide to adopt her. Despite warnings from professionals that Janie trauma will take years to heal, if it ever does, the Bauers feel they are equipped. Then somebody dies.

Readers don’t know who the murder victim(s) is (or are) until near the end of THE PERFECT CHILD. Told from the first person points o
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No ending!

Great story, but then it just stopped. It was as if the author got tired and quit. Such a disappointment.
DNF @15%

The fact that anyone can say this book is believable is beyond me.

You have an abused child, an open investigation and a surgeon/nurse couple who can't have kids. You mean to tell me that a surgeon would be allowed to hug, kiss and fall asleep on the bed next to a child under these circumstances? That any surgeon with any level of professionalism would behave this way? This is "believable"?? A surgeon who would allow a child patient with whom he has NO relation to-other than that of doct
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely INCREDIBLE! This is my second read from Lucinda Berry and she is a phenomenal writer. I just bought two more of her books, Phantom Limb, was just .99¢ today!

This book touched me, sent chills down my spine several times. I have worked with severely emotionally disturbed children, many who were in foster care. It touched me so much that I became an emergency placement foster parent. When I got married and had children I told my husband I was done having children in my home, I would not
Amelia Strydom
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around, but there are times where parents do the very best they can, but the kid- even from the get-go - is just a bad kid ... Ignore the problem, and we could have blood on our hands." Adrian Raine, psychologist (University of Pennsylvania).

After years of infertility, Christopher, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Hannah, a nurse, have given up on having a biological child. While they are lookin
Christopher and Hannah are a happy couple, but they long to have a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, shows up at the hospital where they work, Christopher wants to foster her. Despite the warnings about raising a child with an abusive past, they take her into their home and family. They are not prepared for the challenges they face.

Told with alternating points of view - Christopher, Hannah, and Piper, Janie's social worker. Christopher adores Janie and finds it difficult to believe s
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may contain spoilers, but this book left me with a lot of thoughts and feelings.

This sh*t was bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I started reading it on my lunch break on Monday and finished it a few hours later. I could not put it down, because I just had to figure out what the heck was happening! The story is told from three points of view. Christopher and Hannah (our main characters) and the child protective services lady, Piper. Christopher's character is absolutely infuriating, it amazed me how v
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man, this book really had an impact. On the plus side, it was gripping in a kind of "can't-turn-your-head-away-from-the-scene-of-an-accident" kind of way. I mean, I was really caught up...couldn't wait to find time to read and find out what's going to happen next, how's this going to turn out. The characters, although bordering on too stupid to live, engaged me and I cared about them. The demon child was the most evil kid I've ever seen, worse than THE BAD SEED. But then....that ending. Seriousl ...more
Christina McDonald
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Intense, terrifying and at times utterly horrifying, I loved this book and found it one of those cray-cray, intense reads that I just couldn't look away from.

Christopher and Hannah have a perfect life except one thing. They can't have a baby. But when a battered and abused child winds up in their ER, they fall in love with her and decide to adopt her. But Janie is not the child they were expecting. Lead down a rabbit hole of devious and frankly terrifying behavior, Hannah becomes increasingly t
Sophie Bristow Harris
I came very close to giving this a full house of 5 stars. However the last line ended on a cliff hanger and I believe the author only writes stand-alones....
It was a good, at times hard to read novel. The characters were all pretty unlikeable and unsavoury!
I love the bright cerise balloon on the cover and it depicts the book extremely well.
A nail biting and tense read which I read over a couple of days and enjoyed.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews at !

This book was so stressful. Reading about Janie and her behavior had me on edge the entire time, I was worried about Christopher and especially Hannah throughout the book. Janie’s behavior was unpredictable and violent, and it was honestly scary. What do you do when you’re in danger but no one will believe you because she’s only a child?

I really enjoyed this
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After years of infertility, Dr. Christopher Bauer and his wife Hannah—a nurse that works at his same hospital—have accepted the fact that they may never be parents. But one night, a young girl is brought into their ER, badly abused and malnourished. Christopher, an orthopedic surgeon, is assigned as the girl’s surgeon to fix countless fractures. The little girl’s name is Janie and although she’s the size of a small toddler, she’s 6-years old. When Janie meets Christopher, she instantly warms to ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reeda Booke
Christopher, the husband, has to be one of the dumbest persons on the planet.
A typical evil child wrecking havoc in a home. Although Janie was bad, it's Christopher I wanted to slap. Enough said.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too long, too boring, too unbelievable!

And worse, NO ending! Perfect flop. BTW, having worked in CPS, There's NO WAY a mother called SEVEN TIMES begging for help and NO ONE responded. Not even in Seattle, Chicago or Houston! Balderdash. Also, too many other errors on how on system doesn't work AND how it does! Bad info, knowingly long and absolutely ZERO common sense, but for sure: psychobabble galore!
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
So realistic, down to the dissatisfying ending. A must NOT read for anyone interested in adopting a child. Yoinks.
Ruthy lavin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, unsettling and hauntingly believable.
This is a fantastic thriller, sure to give parents everywhere nightmares.
Easily worthy of 5 stars.
Christopher was a blind IDIOT. I can't tell you how livid he made me. How can a supposed intelligent DOCTOR be in such denial??? And do you want to know what else infuriated me? The fact that-

(Hate the way I ended my rant? Then you'll hate the way the author ended this book.)
Darcia Helle
Me and this book were like a bad blind date. Nothing worked.

Be aware that there is a lot of vivid detail regarding child abuse, and there is also animal abuse. I'm not squeamish in the least, but, for me, the author went way overboard on this aspect. There are scenes I wish I hadn't read that I'd like to get out of my mind. Readers, in general, don't need to be assaulted with descriptive abuse in order to understand it.

I could have, maybe not enjoyed, but appreciated the story despite the abund
Lynda Kelly
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This was my Kindle First pick for February. I had thought it was the author's debut only to find out once I finished it that she's written maybe half a dozen other stories. Don't know how she passed me by before but I'll be reading some of her others for sure. I see they all seem to be about damaged kids but you can also tell she knows her stuff (and explains things in simple, laymen's terms) so it's intriguing to learn about what she clearly gets to see in her "other job." I'm not a fan of chil ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Where the Forest Meets the Stars
  • The Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan
  • Searching for Sylvie Lee
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had
  • The Promise
  • Ocean of Storms
  • What the Wind Knows
  • Mrs. John Doe (Nora Baron, #1)
  • Cooch
  • Loving Liberty Levine
  • The Spitfire Girls
  • Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption
  • The Perfect Plan
  • The Me I Used to Be
  • Temper
  • Call Your Daughter Home
  • Some Choose Darkness
  • Twisted Sisters (Aspen Brooks, #2)
See similar books…
Dr. Lucinda Berry's background is as unique as her stories. She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, specializing in trauma and children. She uses her clinical experience to create compelling stories that blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction. If you want to contact her or be notified of upcoming new releases, please visit:

“Children of trauma are experts at triangulation.” “Triangulation?” I asked. “The child will act a certain way with one parent and a different way with the other parent. They try all kinds of things to drive a wedge in the parents’ relationship.” 2 likes
“Parenting a traumatized child is horribly difficult. Most of them suffer from severe attachment issues, and mothers are usually the targets of their rage. It can get pretty awful.” 2 likes
More quotes…