Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Genre/Format: Fiction/Novel in Verse
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.
Read Together: Grades 10 - 12
Read Alone: Grades 10+
Read With: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins, Perfect by Nicole Friend, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez, Boost by Kathy Mackel, The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, Nonfiction articles/books about whichever issue/character from Perfect you are focusing on (to make connections)
Snatch of Text:
"You Might Even Say
We look normal. Looks can deceive,
We've both had our share of emotional
trauma, though mine stems from
parents who really don't care..." (p. 53)
Is the perfect state of being.
Nothing inside to anchor
you. Nothing inside
to chain you down, keep
from living your dreams.
Empty, almost weightless,
you are an eyelash afloat
on a blink of breeze." (p. 301)
"Not Exactly True
That skin hate is dead.
There will never be color
blindness in a culture of
fear. (p. 325)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Figurative Language, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Poetry, Figurative Language, Multiple Points of View
Writing Prompts: Write a poem using figurative language to describe your feelings; Write 3 poems about the same event from multiple points of view; Everyone at one time or another feels like they do not fit in- write about one of those times and explain how you stayed resilient.
Topics Covered: Ambition, Asking for Help, Blame, Challenges, Choices, Confidence, Death, Envy, Family, Fear, Fitting In, Gossip, Jealousy, Love, Loneliness, Passion, Prejudice, Self-confidence, Tolerance
Translated to Spanish: No