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4.7 out of 5 stars
Perfect
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2011
Wow. In the companion to Impulse, Ellen Hopkins shares with us what is going on back home while Connor is at Aspen Springs. Puts his life into more of a context then you got in Impulse. Terrifying.
Yet another book that left me crying at the end.

Summary: It is so hard to be perfect. Cara's parents have expectations for her that no one can live up to, Kendra pushes her body to the limit to reach beauty, Sean will do anything to be the best athlete he can be, and Andre is hiding his true ambitions from everyone. All 4 teenagers just want to please those around them, but is it worth the risks and consequences?
What I Think: Perfect runs parallel to Ellen Hopkins's Impulse. While Connor is at Aspen Springs, the psychiatric hospital, in Impulse, Perfect follows his sister and some of their friends back home. In Impulse sometimes I couldn't connect with Connor and the way he was feeling, but Perfect gives you the back story I wished for- and more! I now truly understand why Connor ended up where he did.

One of my favorite parts of the book was whenever the point of view changed, the new section began with a very lyrical poem vs. the narrative ones that drive the story. It set the emotional tone for the section and character. Also, they are truly beautifully written.

Because this book has multiple points of view, there are so many different issues that are dealt with: Abuse, Alcohol, Drugs, Ambition, Race, Eating Disorders, Depression, Sexual Orientation, Rape, Expectations, Stalking, Love, Abandonment, Steroids and more. Although you may not be able to connect with all of the trauma within Perfect, everyone can connect to something. It is also because of all of the trauma that Perfect truly draws out emotions and causes you to physically react. If you have read Impulse, it is a similar experience.

My last thought is that I am glad that I don't live in the neighborhood/school district that Ellen Hopkins built for this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2011
Where do I begin with another amazing book by the ever-so talented Ellen Hopkins... Perfect is a novel that everyone must read, not just teens. It's message transcends age, gender, sexuality, race and time. We all want to be perfect, and for each and everyone one of us defining what is 'perfect' is different. Ellen Hopkins explores the idea of 'perfection' through characters that struggle with things that many of us have and still do: being the prettiest, the best at sports, the best academically, and to be just perfect for ourselves by being who we are.

One of my favorite characters is Cara, Connor's sister (from Impulse). Not only is she under thumb of her parents' constant pressure to be the best academically and at everything else, she is left behind while Connor works on his own issues (must read Impulse to find out more about this). And if that wasn't enough she is finding something about herself she never knew... she could be be a lesbian. Can I just say this girl has a strength of wills like no other!

Such a simple question that carries so much meaning and weight. Ellen Hopkins has created a reality in verse perfectly (no pun intended), a reality that many of use tend to ignore or pretend doesn't exist. Ellen Hopkins continues to grab the attention and respect of all her readers through her brute honesty and artistic craft. Without her our Literary World would be less than it is. She gives us hope to find the truth in ourselves, that we are all perfect, just the way we are, in Perfect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Went to Barnes and Noble this morning and ended up reading this book while sipping my Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (good, but the Salted Caramel Mocha is better). I didn't realize until I was reading that Perfect is a follow up to Impulse, and here again you have lots of teens under pressure. I much preferred the girls story's, while the boys seemed a bit boring. I really didn't like how the rape was dealt with, but at least it was realistic- a lot of rapes don't get reported and it did offer an interesting he said/she said view point. I would have preferred to hear more about Cara- I thought her story of coming to grips with the fact she was a lesbian was the best part of the book, but a lot of her struggle seemed to happen to fast. I was more interested in Jenna's story than her sister Kendra's anorexia battle. I really enjoy Ellen Hopkin's writing style, but this go around I just wasn't as impressed with her characters- they seemed very stereo-typical and it lacked some of the tension that Impulse had. Still, there's something to be said about an almost 600 page book that I was able to read in one sitting at the Barnes & Noble cafe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2011
I compared pricing and Amazon was definitely the cheapest way for me to purchase this book. Especially, with the free two day shipping from Amazon Prime!

I bought this book as a present to myself for Christmas. I love to read and I have loved Ellen Hopkin's books since her first. So, of course, I had to add this one to my collection. "Perfect" is the perfect book for any teenager or emerging adult in your life.

This book deals with real-life issues that can and do happen to many people. (Such as steroid use, body image, etc.) It follows the lives of four teens trying to be perfect in an imperfect world.

The first teen we encounter is Cara, the twin sister of Conner. For those of you who haven't read Miss Hopkin's previous books, Conner is a character from "Impulse." At the beginning of "Perfect," Conner is still in a psychiatric hospital recovering from an attempted suicide. In "Perfect," Cara will attempt to escape the expectations of her parents and create her own ideals.

The second teen we meet in this book is Kendra. Kendra has been taught that her looks will take her everywhere in life. However, now she is starting to doubt how beautiful she actually is. Buy this book and find out what lengths Kendra will go to in order to make her image perfect.

The third teen we meet is Sean, a young man who wants to be the best athlete he can be. In order to do this, Sean will begin using steroids. Will steroids help Sean become the perfect athlete he strives to be?

The last teen we will meet in "Perfect" is Andre. Andre has a passion for dance and wants to go to college for a career in the Arts. However, his dad would never understand. What challenges will Andre face trying to do what he feels is right for him?

I will be buying "Triangles" shortly and I expect that book will be just as great as this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2011
As alway ellen hopkins wrote a superb book. when it finally came outon september thirteenth i had to beg my school librarian to order it and it just came in today. of course i screamed when i saw it waiting on the hold shelf for me and i went home and im sick rite now so a book was just wat an avid reader like me needs. only in the beginning rite now but it appears to be promising just as all of ellen hopkins other books. stupendously written, i recommend all of ellen hopkins books to everyone that likes reading. she peirces u to the bone with her writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
not as raw and powerful as Ellen Hopkins' other books. Though it did have an emotional ending, I literally cried.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2012
As always, Ellen Hopkins is able to blow me away with her stunningly beautiful prose. I don't think I could ever actually dislike a book by her, as they're so elegantly written. Never read an Ellen Hopkins book before? Then you are in for a treat with this sample:

Sensuous. Dangerous.
Deadly venomous. And
I'm
the snake charmer who
snaps out of a trance
to find the serpent
has tricked him into
tumbling
under her spell.

Just beautiful.

Now, having sufficiently gushed over how much I enjoy Perfect's prose, I do have to say that this is not my favourite Ellen Hopkin's book. The book is divided into 4 characters, and we flip between each of them as narrators. Both male characters' stories (Sean and Andre) were a little uneventful, and I didn't really see the pressure for Perfection that the female characters seemed to be under. Sean had a fully supportive Uncle, who he pushed away because he didn't want to feel like he was replacing his father. He put the pressure on himself, and I didn't ever fully understand why. Andre admittedly came from a loving home, with a father who had pursued his dreams contrary to his father's wishes, so I didn't understand Andre's hesitance to do the same. Kendra had all the pressure of a pageant mom, and so I completely understood why she felt the need to have plastic surgery at 17 and how she developed an eating disorder, but I also felt her story was so stereotypical of a wannabe model, that it was almost a little cliche. I really would have liked to hear more from Cara and witnessed more of her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. Instead I felt like a lot of her character building moments were slightly glazed over and rushed, leaving me feeling pretty unsatisfied with her development. And why wasn't Jenna a narrator?! Talk about an interesting character who left me wondering as to what had happened in her past to make her so unstable.

I can't say I was too unhappy with the ending either. There are a lot of loose ends that did not get tied up, which has me thinking that another instalment must be on its way. (I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum here) By the end: the only person who seems to have come to terms with being unable to achieve someone else's definition of perfection is Cara; Kendra's anorexia is barely acknowledged, let alone dealt with, and there's also the issue of what's going to happen to her career, now that she has compromised both her body and values to get what she wanted; Sean keeps saying he will stop taking steroids, but the voice he started talking to hasn't been silenced; will Andre go to the second audition? Or will he back out of talking to his parents about his dreams of being a dancer?; and what's going to happen with Jenna? Will being in the hospital force her to deal with her alcoholism? All questions left unanswered, which I'm not used to from Ellen Hopkins. Usually by the end, the stories have been (mostly) neatly tied up and there's a huge twist that leaves me breathless. Not so much in Perfect.

That being said, I devoured this book, which counts for something in my books. Putting aside my issues with her character choices (again, how did Jenna not score a main role?!) and the rather uneventful ending, I really enjoyed Perfect - but more so for her elegant prose then for the actual story. I don't feel like a 3 is sufficient, so I'm giving Perfect a 4...but just barely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
I can honestly say that I don't think there will ever be an Ellen Hopkins book I don't love. This woman is one of my favourite storytellers, and I think her books are among the most important I've read. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, whether it be because of her verse style or mature content, but I think she's amazing. Perfect is yet another example of the high calibre of her novels, and it was well worth the wait.

Perfect is a companion novel to Impulse, and runs parallel to Conner's story. Perfect focuses on four very different characters: Cara, Conner's sister, Kendra, Sean and Andre. Their lives are all linked in one way or another, whether it be through family, friends or romantic relationships, and each is experiencing some kind of struggle with perfection. For Kendra it's a fight with eating disorders, and for Sean it's an addiction to steroids to make his sports performance better. These teenagers are all going through stuff no teenager should have to deal with, and that's where this book really stands out. Hopkins once again shows that she doesn't care about censorship of sensitive subjects: she'll tell it how it is, with realism and a candid voice, and hope that her readers will get it and be helped by it.

Perfect isn't always an easy read. Bad things happen to characters you like, sometimes through no fault of their own, sometimes at the hands of others. It's an eye-opening story of perfection and perceptions and, like every other Ellen Hopkins book, it stayed with me for days after turning the final page. The conclusion especially is somewhat haunting, and those of you who've read Impulse will know what I'm talking about. I knew what was coming, but still I hoped something would happen to alter the narrative. Reading the same events from other people's perspective was an unusual way to learn more about Conner, but it worked so well. Everyone is so fleshed out and real, I was sad to get to the end and have to leave them. That, my friends, is the power of a Hopkins novel!

What else can I say, other than buy this book and every other book written by this author. Read them, learn from them and keep them pride of place on your bookshelf. I really believe they'll be some of the most important books I read and I'm sure they've already helped me in everyday life, in the way I see people and how I respond to issues and problems. I can't wait for Ellen's next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2011
There's only one way to sum up all of Ellen Hopkins' books: When you first start reading them, they start out slow, but then they hook you on every one of the characters' stories and make you want to keep reading until the very end to find out what happens. Finally, once you have read to the end, the ending is stuck in your mind for the next few days or weeks.

"Perfect" is no different. For those of you who have read Impulse, it's about Conner's sister, Cara, his ex-gf Kendra, and 2 other people connected to them.

You don't HAVE to have read Impulse to follow the story though. (Although it makes the ending make a little more sense, it's not required.)

Kendra has problems with an eating disorder, feeling like she's fat when she's really super thin. She wants to do anything to be a model, no matter how uncomfortable it makes her feel. She also has problems with the fact that her ex-bf, Conner, isn't in school or anywhere she can see him anymore.

Cara, like Conner, has problems matching up to her parents' expectations. She's followed all their rules, done everything they've asked her to do, but they're never satisfied. Later on though, she finds someone named Dani, who helps her see things differently.

Andre also has a hard time matching up to his parents' expectations. He has a secret. He doesn't WANT to be what his parents expect him to be; he wants to be something else, something else he's passionate about but is scared his parents won't accept.

Sean is Cara's boyfriend. Although he does some things in the book that paint him as a jerk, he has reasons for it (whether you may agree with his reasons or not, he's not without them). He also wants to be the perfect baseball player, but when he discovers something he didn't want to hear, it slows down his playing.

Another thing about Ellen's books is that she never completely closes the characters' stories. Unlike most authors who start the book out with lots of questions and answer every single one by the end, Ellen won't answer all of our questions. She leaves it open for interpretation, for us to imagine what's gonna happen to the characters after the book closes. That kind of writing makes the characters more believable and it's more fun to come up with a billion different directions the characters' lives will go from here.

I recommend "Perfect", as well as all Ellen's other books, to every teen and grown-up out there. I hope you'll all enjoy them as much as I have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2011
WOW!!!! What a powerful ride! I have not had the opportunity to read any of Ellen Hopkins books. This is my first. When i received this audio book of Perfect from Simon & Schuster for review I'm not sure what i was expecting. I know i wasn't expecting the book to be as deep and personal as it is. It affected me. I'm not sure if it would have been the same had i read the book. The different narrators was definitely something that made this book a personal journey. It caused me to look at myself inside and out. This book deals with everything from steroids to suicide in a very powerful way. I know i am now wondering why i haven't listened to this authors books before. I WILL be listening to some of the others. The author prologue is just as powerful!
I didn't listen or read the book Impulse (Part one of this series) and that was OK. It can be a stand alone. The characters are not complex and I think i know or knew someone who resembles these characters either in school or in my own personal life now.
I'm 44 and this book affected me. I wish I could have had this book when i was a teenager! My life and thoughts may have been different.
If you haven't listened to any of this authors books or read any RUN! Don't walk to get this book. It would make a great Christmas gift for a teenager you know. I HIGHLY recommend this audio book. Or hardcover to Teens! It is one of the most powerful books I have listened to. Its life changing! BRAVO Ms Hopkins BRAVO!
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