Better Than Perfect

 
4.0
 
3.0 (1)
1016 0
Better Than Perfect
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
February 17, 2015
ISBN
9780062279231
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Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after. But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be? Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Perfect Is Perfection.
(Updated: May 05, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
BETTER THAN PERFECT is YA Contemporary. Recommended for 13 and up, this novel is definitely re-readable. I simply want to read it again and again. Now, I haven't read anything by Melissa Kantor other than "If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?" but I can tell that I definitely want to read more from Kantor.

Juliet Newman is seemingly perfect. From the outside, she has a wonderful family, a Harvard-worthy boyfriend, and a bright future ahead of her. However, that so-called perfection shatters. I love how Kantor simply isolates her from everyone she cares about. She is lost. Her mother is in the hospital and in trouble, her father is simply gone, her aunt isn't understanding, her brother is busy with his own business, her boyfriend is away, and her best friend has a job. Then all of the sudden, she meets Declan and everything simply changes. The day that starts off as the worst day of her life suddenly becomes one of the best. Julie, as a character, is flawed and not the perfect she wants to be (and wishes to be). For the sake of spoilers, I can't talk much but I absolutely love her strong and stunning character development.

Declan is in a band. Nice and different from Juliet's boyfriend, Declan lights Juliet up in ways her boyfriend doesn't. I won't say much about him, but I do have to say that he is very good for Juliet and he is a catalyst in the plot.

The plot starts off seemingly innocent. This is when Juliet's life is "perfect" with little cracks and grimy spots. You might not see it, but if you are looking for it, you can tell. Anyway, once she has found her mother passed out is when everything suddenly explodes. The story simply catches me in its trap, and I find myself wanting to read more and more. The drama simply reminds me of a teenage movie but without its usual cheesiness.

The ending leaves me unsettled. BETTER THAN PERFECT is a standalone, so the ending simply takes me by surprise. However, the more I think about the ending, the more I realize how perfect it is. It has been cut a bit short, but it leaves off the story in a beautiful way.

Overall, BETTER THAN PERFECT is a gorgeous and absolutely touching tale with plentiful great moments of defeat and ultimately, triumph. The plot is absolutely wickedly amazing, and I love the way Melissa Kantor spins the story. Juliet Newman is an amazing character, who I easily empathize with despite the little similarities we are. Most of all, I love family drama.

Rating: Four out of Five
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User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0  (1)
Characters 
 
3.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (1)
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A bit disappointing
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Juliet Newman’s life is going exactly according to plan. She has a perfect family, a perfect boyfriend, and the perfect plan for her future: ace the SATs, get accepted to Harvard, get her happily ever after. That was before her dad left, her mom can’t cope, and Juliet’s careful plan begins to unravel. To make things worse, new boy Declan understands her in ways no one else does and makes her second guess her perfect future.

This book ended up being a pretty quick read that still dealt with some major issues. The plot really focused on Juliet and the way she dealt with with the changes in her life and her growth.

I found myself empathizing with Juliet through a lot of the book. She put so much pressure on herself to succeed, to be the person she thought she needed to be, and she never really gave any thought to the person she wanted to be. She was forced to do a lot of soul-searching. On top of her perfect plan failing apart, she also had to deal with other family drama, friends, relationship drama, and also what making changes to her plan meant for the present.

One thing I couldn’t get passed was the cheating and the lack of consequences for it. Juliet and Declan did seem to really get each other and he did open her eye to things she’s never considered, but Jason, her boyfriend, was also a great guy who deserved a lot better than how Juliet treated him. I felt like he was almost being made out to be the bad guy because he didn’t understand why Juliet was making so many out of character decisions and that gave her the right to go be with Declan, who did understand. I just couldn’t get behind it. I could have been alright if there had been consequences since cheating does happen but it felt like Juliet got away with it.

I did like the side story of Declan and his family having a band. That was a lot of fun and I really liked the dynamic of it, at least the little we got to see. I would have liked to have seen more of them. It felt like there was more to their story and I would have read that.

As mentioned, it was a quick read. It wasn’t a long book and the pacing was pretty fast so it was easy to finish it in a day.
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