Sunday, April 13, 2008

Perfect You



Scott, Elizabeth. 2008. Perfect You.

Perfect You cemented, for me, the fact that Elizabeth Scott is without a doubt the next Sarah Dessen. In other words, a writer whose books CANNOT be missed because they are so utterly perfectly right. My first introduction to Elizabeth Scott came last May when I read and reviewed Bloom. If you haven't read it yet, you don't know what you're missing. Okay, that's not doing Scott much service. If you're a girl who loves realistic teen romance novels that make you grin from ear to ear then you should definitely seek out Elizabeth Scott's books. There, that's more specific.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing her last fall.

On to Perfect You.

Vitamins had ruined my life. Not that there was much left to ruin, but still.

How many novels have you read like that? Not many I'm betting. It continues, "I know blaming vitamins for my horrible life sounds strange. After all, vitamins are supposed to keep people healthy. Also, they're inanimate objects. But thanks to them I was stuck in the Jackson Center Mall watching my father run around in a bee costume."

Even if I wasn't previously familiar with Scott's work (or her blog), I think I'd be intrigued by the bee costume. It's a fact that teens are embarrassed by their parents. Often. A bee costume I think everyone can agree on is just cause for embarrassment. Our heroine, Kate, is a sophomore whose life has gone from middling to worse. She's never been popular. She's never been one of those girls who with a toss of her hair and a flash of a smile gets the guy. But her life has always been somewhat normal.

Not anymore.

When Kate's father has a light-bulb moment involving a bottle of Perfect You vitamins, Kate's world begins to collapse. He quits his job, rents a booth in the mall, and proceeds to tormenting his family by living out his dream. The family goes from functional to dysfunctional very very quickly. But even with her home life in chaos, it would all be okay if her best friend in the entire world was speaking to her.

Anna. Anna was her best friend. Her best friend. They told each other everything. They were always there side by side through it all. Neither girl being popular. Neither girl getting the guy. Neither girl the life of the party. But it was all okay. They had each other, right?

When the novel opens, Anna and Kate are long through. Anna having lost considerable weight over the summer is now an IT girl. She's popular as can be, and is dating one of the hottest most popular guys at school. Kate is so very beneath her now.

Dumped by her best friend and forced into working at the geeky vitamin booth at the mall while her dad practices new ways to humiliate her, she thinks life couldn't get any more complicated.

Enter Will.
Enter Grandma.

Oh, this novel is so good. So very, very good. Elizabeth Scott is a master at characters. Both Bloom and Perfect You have weight and substance. Yes, romance is involved in both. But life is always more complicated, more complex than just that. Her writing is for the heart, the mind, and the soul. Life. Love. Friendship. Family. School. Life isn't always beautiful. It isn't always fair. Its full of beginnings and endings. Some times you have to go with the flow.

I loved Kate. I loved her story. I highly recommend it.

I think this one would pair well with Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. It also vaguely reminded me of Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. (Except, and here's the thing, Sloppy Firsts and the subsequent sequels always annoyed me in parts. Perfect You was a better match for me.) Notes On a Near-Life Experience by Olivia Birdsall is another one that comes to mind. And of course Sarah Dessen fans should definitely try Elizabeth Scott.

Little Willow's review of Perfect You.
Bookshelves of Doom's review of Perfect You.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Josette 3:24 AM  

This book sounds interesting, though the plot is quite similar to other teen books.

Little Willow 7:54 PM  

Elizabeth's books are most enjoyable.

I adored Notes On a Near-Life Experience by Olivia Birdsall!

MizB 8:51 AM  

Hey, Becky -- I just heard of this author, for the first time, the other day. But, her books sound great! I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed them! :D

I like the covers, too.

~MizB

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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