Reviews for Perfect


Booklist Reviews 2011 August #1
"In this companion to Impulse (2007), Hopkins addresses teens' struggles with unrealistic expectations in gut-wrenching free verse. Top student and athlete Cara wrestles with sexual orientation, while her twin brother and suicide survivor Connor struggles to overcome parental pressure to achieve. Cara's boyfriend, Sean, battles steroids' effect on his psyche, while would-be model Kendra descends into anorexia, and Andre tries to find the courage to tell his parents he intends to follow his dream to be a dancer. Fans of Hopkins' heartfelt, direct, and empathetic voice will not care that format and thematic material are much the same as previous titles." Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
In Hopkins's latest verse novel, four self-obsessed characters (each with his or her own verse form) express concerns about achieving success. While the novel is supportive of one young woman coming out as a lesbian, female heterosexual activity mostly ends in rape or prostitution. Fans of Hopkins's style will appreciate this volume, but she breaks no new ground in style or content.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #2

While not razor-edged like her previous work, Hopkins' portrait of four 12th-graders who are expected to be perfect will nonetheless keep teens up all night reading.

In a Reno suburb, expectations take heavy tolls. Trying to excel at baseball and get into Stanford, Sean takes steroids and spirals into rage and rape. Kendra does pageants but wants to model, so she schedules plastic surgery and stops eating. Andre takes dance lessons in secret, funding them with money that his wealthy, status-conscious parents give him for fashionable sweaters. Cara seems faultless at everything from cheerleading to grades, but she's falling in love with a girl. The four first-person narrations are set in different type and have mildly different styles, but the free verse lacks Hopkins' trademark sharp, searing brittleness. However, the less-sharp tone works here, because these characters are more depressed than dissociated. The ostensible focus on perfection is a coping mechanism against families that are absent, cold and brutally silent, so the consequences—anorexia, drugs, booze, rape, delusion, deception—all ring true. It also rings true that some characters buckle, worst off at the story's end, while others find themselves and may make it.

This page-turner pulls no emotional punches; readers should find Impulse (2007) first, because this is a sequel at heart, and knowing the prior work in advance adds crucial layers of meaning. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-17) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 August #2

While not razor-edged like her previous work, Hopkins' portrait of four 12th-graders who are expected to be perfect will nonetheless keep teens up all night reading.

In a Reno suburb, expectations take heavy tolls. Trying to excel at baseball and get into Stanford, Sean takes steroids and spirals into rage and rape. Kendra does pageants but wants to model, so she schedules plastic surgery and stops eating. Andre takes dance lessons in secret, funding them with money that his wealthy, status-conscious parents give him for fashionable sweaters. Cara seems faultless at everything from cheerleading to grades, but she's falling in love with a girl. The four first-person narrations are set in different type and have mildly different styles, but the free verse lacks Hopkins' trademark sharp, searing brittleness. However, the less-sharp tone works here, because these characters are more depressed than dissociated. The ostensible focus on perfection is a coping mechanism against families that are absent, cold and brutally silent, so the consequences—anorexia, drugs, booze, rape, delusion, deception—all ring true. It also rings true that some characters buckle, worst off at the story's end, while others find themselves and may make it.

This page-turner pulls no emotional punches; readers should find Impulse (2007) first, because this is a sequel at heart, and knowing the prior work in advance adds crucial layers of meaning. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-17) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #1

Hopkins sticks to the signature style that has made her books bestsellers, blending verse poetry with controversial topics. In her eighth novel, four teenage protagonists alternately narrate their struggles with perfection. Sean and Kendra's struggles are physical--he's a baseball player who turns to steroids, and she's an aspiring model who develops a severe eating disorder ("Real control is/ not putting in more than you can work off.... Shaving off every caloric unit you can/ without passing out"). Cara and Andre's issues are more about identity (Cara is an all-American girl realizing she is a lesbian, while Andre is under parental pressure to pursue a lucrative, ambitious career path and is afraid to admit his passion for dance). This is a sequel, of sorts, as Cara's twin, Conner, a protagonist in Hopkins's suicide-themed book, Impulse, makes an appearance. There is an overabundance of plot points, as readers learn about Sean's dead parents, Kendra's racist father, a vicious attack on Kendra's sister, and more. But Hopkins explores enough hot-button issues (rape, teen plastic surgery, cyberharassment, etc.) to intrigue her fans and recruit new ones. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 August

Gr 9 Up--This companion to Impulse (S & S/Pulse, 2007) can stand alone, but packs considerably more punch when read contiguously as intended. Impulse featured the interlocking narratives of Vanessa, Tony, and Conner, teens confined to a psychiatric facility after failed suicide attempts. Cara, Conner's twin, is Perfect's first narrator. Her story begins immediately after Conner's departure for the facility. She is on the cusp of her high school graduation and attempting to figure out who she is, if not the perfect image her mother expects. Kendra, Conner's ex-girlfriend, will do anything to become a model, regardless of what it means for her health or sense of self-worth. Andre wants to be a dancer, though this goal couldn't be further from what his parents expect for him. Sean is dead set on being with Cara for the long haul and dreams of playing ball at Stanford, but what will he sacrifice to get there? As Hopkins's readers have come to expect, each of the teens' lives spins out of control over the course of the novel as they stumble through sexual awakenings and violations, violent crime, and confrontations with racism. Some characters' voices are less clear than others. Andre's story, for example, focuses so much on his relationship with Kendra's daredevil sister that his important internal struggle--to dance or not to dance--is underplayed. Yet Hopkins's legions of fans will no doubt devour Perfect and welcome the return of the characters they learned to love in Impulse.--Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

[Page 106]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2011 October
A companion to Impulse (Simon & Schuster, 2007/VOYA February 2007), this vigorous verse novel highlights Conner's twin sister, Cara; her sporty boyfriend, Sean; pageant queen and model Kendra; and rich, aspiring dancer Andre. At its nucleus, four teenagers are grappling with insecurities that become exacerbated when loved ones turn up the heat. Cara's brother has attempted suicide, spotlighting an inexpressive mother who stresses distinction rather than showing affection. Similarly, Kendra's mother turns a blind eye to her daughter's anorexia, while Andre's parents' expectations keep him from pursuing his dance dream, and Sean's father's fixation with his baseball prowess fuels Sean's steroid abuse. Within these dilemmas, two begin to blossom while two begin to seethe. The unrestricted access Hopkins employs is formidable: parents, siblings, love interests, and outliers all thrust frank judgment on the characters. It is how Cara, Sean, Kendra, and Andre react that encourages readers' emotional attachments. Her writing conveys teenage quandaries with all of the intended consequences, as the verse style only serves to shock as the events unfold. The ill-fated conclusion continues to establish Hopkins as a realist, someone with vested concern for the challenges teens face daily from cyberbullying, dating violence, sexual orientation, prejudice, and fractured families. Ideally, readers will want to read Impulse first, as events began there and conclude here, but those who invest in Perfect will also be looking to find out the fate of these characters in the near future.--Alicia Abdul 5Q 5P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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