Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 330
engrossing and emotional read
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
THE OTHER SIDE OF PERFECT is an engrossing YA contemporary about loss, grief, moving on, friendship, and sisterhood. Alina has lived her life in pursuit of ballet - a dream that is crashing around her when she suffers an unexpected and complicated broken leg. Alina is determined to get back out there, but as the doctors warned- even after PT and doing everything right - her leg is not the same, and her dreams seem to be crashing around her.

Now, she is attending regular high school, still mourning the loss of her ballet career. When a new friend pushes her to also try out for the musical, Alina is wary, but as she continues during the year, she begins to find the deepest wells of her grief and jealously. With friendship, sisterhood, and soul-searching, Alina may be able to come to the other side a complete person, even without the ballet she devoted her life to.

What I loved: This was an emotional read about grief and loss, in terms of losing things you love and coping with the fallout. There were also some really interesting other themes as well, such as racism in ballet (and outside of it), the power of supportive friends, all-consuming passion, and the importance of sibling relationships. I also really enjoyed the slow-building romances in the book (not just for Alina, but also for some of the side characters, particularly Harrison).

There are so many characters that I fell in love with during the story, and I appreciated all the character development that happens. When people get called out on things in this book, they generally show how to gracefully move forward. This is a really important skill. Although the story moved a little slowly at first, it captured Alina's emotions, particularly her depression and the difficulty in moving on, and the story became more immersive as it continued.

Final verdict: THE OTHER SIDE OF PERFECT is an intriguing and emotional read that features important and thought-provoking themes. Highly recommend for fans of SUPER FAKE LOVE SONG, DON'T DATE ROSA SANTOS, and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE.
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