- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140229719X
- ISBN-13: 978-1402297199
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,585,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Halfway Perfect Paperback – May 5, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Eve Nowakowski knows all about the ups and downs of the modeling lifestyle. Just a few years ago, she was internationally known cover girl Eve Castle—but the life became too much to bear, and she slipped into anonymity. Now a freshman at Columbia University, she discovers that photography is her passion, and through a twist of fate she becomes an assistant to a famous fashion photographer, which puts her right back in the world she tried so desperately to escape. At her first fashion shoot, Eve meets rising modeling star Alex, and sparks immediately fly. However, Alex's agent has cooked up a plan for Alex and another ingénue, underage French model Elana, to become fashion's new hot couple. Eve and Alex have real chemistry, though, and they know that Alex and Elana's contrived relationship is not only dishonest: it is illegal. Eve and Alex are then faced with a series of tough decisions that will put their new relationship to the test. Presented in dual perspectives, switching between narrators Alex and Eve, this title is well written but suffers from a weak plot. The instant love connection between the protagonists is unrealistic and the central conflict between Eve and Wes, Alex's evil talent agent, is not enough to carry the story. Mature subject matter, including alcohol use, eating disorders, and domestic violence, makes this a title suited to an older teen audience. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries that can't keep any "Gossip Girl" or "Pretty Little Liars" (both Little, Brown) installments on the shelf.—Morgan Brickey, Marion County Public Library System, FL
"Engagingly and intelligently written, this absorbing novel should work as catnip to fashion-obsessed readers." - Kirkus Reviews
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I’ve read a lot of stories about models and the darkness of the industry – Melissa Walker’s Violet on the Runway series comes to mind – but this one had a unique take – that is, the vulnerability of very young, underage models, and the mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationships they can find themselves in.
The strength of the book is in the portrayal of this theme and how the characters in the book deal with and learn about what is okay and not okay in relationships. Eve characterizes her relationship with Wes as extremely intense, and makes it clear that she thinks it’s because of their combative personalities that the relationship falls apart. Eve seems to brush over the fact that Wes would occasionally hurt her physically (not to mention emotionally and mentally). And as the story goes on, you can see history repeating itself. It’s a dark take on the modeling industry, but it’s one that I think needs to be told – whether you’re a model or not.
But there are moments of lightness in this novel – Eve’s past with Wes contrasts fully with Alex and Eve’s relationship – these are two people who have found each other at just the right time, and it’s wonderful to see them grow together – there’s a lot of nuance in this relationship, with discussions of the silly and the smart all mixed together. There’s also a lot of heat to their relationship – this is definitely mature YA, and man, does Julie Cross get me with her romance scenes.
I did have a qualm with this book, which is that the back half of the book, while exciting, felt a bit unrealistic to me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did feel like things were wrapped up a bit too neatly for real life - I actually felt that the authors could have taken things even darker.
That said, the writing is clean and neat, and it’s a book I read in a few hours. A good, fast read.
Family Matters: The contrast between Eve and Alex’s family is pretty interesting to read – Eve is from a very dysfunctional family, while Alex’s family is a more traditional American family. I especially enjoyed Alex’s visit home and his siblings – that part read very, very true.
Models, Inc: Obviously a book about the modelling industry will have some serious insider looks at what happens at shoots, and I'm sure Mark Perini's background was huge in this, because it felt very real. I really liked learning about creating the concept for shots, but I also liked that this part wasn't heavy-handed - the focus was on the characters, and the environment was just a part of that.
The Final Word:
Halfway Perfect is a compelling, slightly gritty take on romance and the modeling industry. It’s a fun and fast read, and it’s got some strong character development. I would recommend this to YA romance readers who like a little bit of maturity in their books.
Review originally posted at: http://www.mostlyyalit.com/2015/05/halfway-perfect-julie-cross-mark-perini.html
Eve and Alex both are stand-out characters in their own right. Eve was a model with some pretty horrible experiences, but she’s survived it all, and now wants to make a name for herself as a photographer. Intelligent, determined and independent, she is an ‘eyes on the prize’ sort of person, not allowing the many difficulties or distractions prevent her from reaching her dream.
The inclusion of Alex was interesting for two reasons: first as a character he has a solid voice and a plan for his life, not to mention his obvious (and displayed) love for his often crazy family. Secondly, he’s solidly a “good guy” with a genuine regard for Eve, even before the romance started to develop. The perspective of a male model was an interesting one, giving readers a look at the industry in a fresher way, and seeing the similarities and differences for both Eve and Alex as they navigate the minefield.
I loved that the romance was developed and not instant: while the attraction was obvious, the banter and gentle transition through collegial interactions to some steamy romance was paced with care, and never felt pushed or rushed. And the support that they provided for one another when the wholly greasy and despicable antagonist started to worm into events gives readers a chance to cheer and jeer with equal measure.
A surprising read that wasn’t what I expected yet it hit every element, A touch of darkness and grit add a plausible tone that brings the real world difficulties and struggles that are behind the pretty advertisements, and gives readers an opportunity to learn as both Eve and Alex meet and confront those challenges head on.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.