Author: Melissa Kantor
Edition: Paperback (ARC)
Publication: HarperTeen / February 17, 2015
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary (Mental Illness), Romance
Trailer: Not available.
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.
*Warning: Rage ahead*
I don't hate the book, I hate the character and how slow the pace was.
Okay. *eats chocolates to channel inner happiness* Here we go.
Juliet was the dumbest character ever.
She was a perfect-A student, an achiever, a focused person and she knows what she wants. Her relationship with Jason has been steady for four years and they've been working so hard so they can get accepted in Harvard. She has her wonderful best friend Sofia as well. Her family is wealthy. Practically, her life is the type most people would be envious of. But her parents separated and in Juliet's eyes, her life started to fall apart. Her mother overdosed and has to be sent to a mental facility for treatment and that was what appeared to be the last straw for Juliet. She started seeing life in a different light -- stupid light -- and well, her choices started to become dumber.
I totally get THAT irritable feeling of doing things just for the sake of doing them or to simply please others. It feels like you're being choked with an invisible rope. When Juliet realized she wasn't happy anymore, I related with her frustrations and the need to be free from all the things she realized she hated doing. THAT I understand. But the rest of her choices? Dumb. And it gets dumber as you go deeper into the story. And it was painful to watch a character with full of potential to break apart page by page by page.
OKAY THIS IS THE SPOILERY PART.
She walked out of her American Latin exam in the middle of it because she thought she didn't want to answer the questions even after all the months she worked hard to ace the subject. She shut everyone out because she's afraid rumors about her mom being in the mental facility would roam around. She deferred going to Harvard and broken up with Jason just because she felt like they didn't like the same things anymore. She threw herself out to Declan because she's thrilled they made out and he kisses her differently. She wouldn't ask her mother if she really tried killing herself because she's not sure if she's mad or not. She rejects her father's explanation why he left her mother because she wouldn't accept that her life was half make-believe. She judged her father only loving her because of her As. SHE WAS JUST RIDICULOUSLY DUMB I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MAD I AM.
Even the encounter with Declan felt forced to me. Aside from the inception of confusing sub-plots, I didn't like how Declan and their intense physical attraction popped out out of nowhere. I appears that Declan's part was put out there just to spice things up between Jason and Juliet's perfectly boring relationship. But the execution was plainly wrong. It insinuated cheating. Even Juliet's "love" for music felt hypocrite like, where did it come from?
Better than Perfect was not for me. I think Kantor's novels aren't for me, for that matter. I failed to connect with the character and I failed to see her point. Making bad choices is a part of life, as long as you know you're just going after what makes you happy. But Juliet's choices are just dumb, dumb, duuuuuuumb there's no other word for it but DUMB.
Thank you so much HarperCollins International for the review copy!
"Everything I looked at had the power to hurt."
"People could want different things. It was possible to love somebody but to grow away from that person."
"How bizarre that you could know someone so well and love him so much and then not have him in your life anymore."