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Hopkins, Ellen. Perfect.

(a) 5Q * 5P * S

Hopkins, Ellen. Perfect. Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, 2011. 640p. $18.99. 978-1-4169-8324-8.

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. Cards 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 flank 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.

(a) Highlighted Reviews

5Q Hard to imagine it being better written.

5P Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday.

S Senior High (defined as grades 10-12).

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Author:Abdul, Alicia
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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