By: Celine | October 4, 2014 | (24) Comments

Review: The Perfectionists by Sara ShepardThe Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke...until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes another story of dark secrets, shocking twists, and what happens when five beautiful girls will do anything to hide the ugly truth.

To those of you thinking that the premise of this book sounds an awful lot like Shepard’s previous series Pretty Little Liars; you’re right. The Perfectionists is reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars in almost every way. I don’t intend  for this review to become a comparison of The Perfectionists and Pretty Little Liars, but I won’t be suprised if it does turn out like that. Truth be told, there is just so much to compare. The Perfectionists is set in a town that is above all rich, and where all people try to be more than perfect. This town produces some of the best students in the country, who not only excel at their schoolwork but also at othe activities like soccer, music, and, well, being pretty. Everyone tries to be perfect in every way, which of course includes looks. These teens party and drink and keep their own secrets, but usually not those of others. There is one person in this town, a complete jerk and bully if we’re honest, who seems to know more secrets than anyone else. And this person isn’t afraid to use those secrets against others. Which is probably why they end up dead.

Sound familiar? Probably, because I could have just described the plot of either Pretty Little Liars or The Perfectionists. The major difference being that in The Perfectionists, our five female protagonists might have actually something to do with the murder. And I have to admit, Shepard knows how to write a compelling story (even if we’ve seen it before). She keeps unveiling secrets and making the reader second-guess nearly everything. And of course, everyone has their own dirty secrets, even when you don’t expect them to. Though this review could very well turn out slightly ranty, I have to admit I was really intruiged and fully invested in the story. I kept turning the pages and pretty much couldn’t stop. Shepard has the annoying ability to unveil things and still keeping the reader in the dark, but I couldn’t help enjoying myself. And wanting to find out who did it, of course.

As for the characterisation, well… Let’s just say that Shepard manages to create five petty little bitches (if you’ll excuse my language) all over again. We have the sporty one, the one with problems at home, and the one who may or may not be involved with a teacher. (Sound familiar?) Of course, it’s not exactly the same. There are definitely some major differences, but I couldn’t help but recognize some characteristics from the Pretty Little Liars cast. The most interesting characters in The Perfectionists for me were Parker and Ava. Parker used to be pretty and perfect like the rest of the town, but she has some awful scars now and thus hides her face behind a hoodie. She’s definitely the most damaged of the five, and her memory gaps and pounding headaches made for an interesting story. Ava seemingly has everything going for her, but she still suffers from some nasty rumors that were spread about her a while ago. Because of this she starts making some stupid, albeit interesting, decisions and the way she kept digging this hole deeper and deeper caught my attention.

Then there is the plot, some elements of which I definitely recognized. We have “best friends” constantly competing and screwing each other over, the girl who starts falling for her boyfriend’s brother, the girl who is rumoured to be involved with a teacher, the girl who gets threathened by a copycat, stalkers, accusations, mysterious files, police, the whole shebang. (Also I really wanted to say “shebang”.) Though I thought that yes, some parts of the book were definitely recycled material from Pretty Little Liars, all the side-plots and the main mystery caught my attention and held it. I wanted to know who did it (though of course you don’t find out just yet) and how it all would resolve. I’m just very worried that this will turn into another lord-knows-how-many-books series, because though I definitely enjoyed The Perfctionists, I do not have the time to read 12 books of this. And I’d also hate to go look up spoilers on the internet like I eventually did with Pretty Little Liars. (Plus, at some point I’m going to want answers.)

In all, despite the fact that it’s basically a Pretty Litle Liars 2.0, I really enjoyed The Perfectionists. There’s no doubt that Shepard knows how to write a compelling story, and the way she keeps teh reader in the dark makes you want to read more. The Perfectionists has surprising and completely unsurprising plot twists, interesting and some uninteresting characters, and ultimately is the perfect story who want a murder mystery but nothing too heavy. And, of course, it’s recommended to everyone who wants more in the vein of Pretty Little Liars.

~ Thank you HarperTeen for the review copy!~

(I’m also just curious about this, but do any of you have any experience with towns like this? Because to be honest, my high school doesn’t really do the whole popularity thing, and your home situation won’t get you shunned, and nobody cares whether your clothes are a brand or not. But maybe I just attend a strange high school.)

3 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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24 Responses to Review: The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard

  1. Omg…I read the synopsis with a super sleepy brain and instead of processing “In Beacon Heights…”, I read “In Beacon’s Hill..” and thought “Wait a minute…Teen Wolf?” HAHA

    I’ve got a weak spot of Sara (but only weak enough to be able to read one book of her series because who’s got time for that many sequels?!) I know I’d probably be unable to restrain myself from PLL parallels but man, I love a good mystery. HOW DOES SARA MANAGE TO DO THIS TO ME?! I’m reading the same thing but I keep coming back for more :b Great review, Celine!
    Jess @MyReadingDress recently posted…Seeking Saturday’s Read #6My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Hahaha! Now a Teen Wolf/Sara Shepard crossover would be interesting 😛

      I totally know what you mean! These are the books I actually don’t really really want to read but somehow I end up still reading and enjoying them, haha. Same here!! For some reason, they’re just really addictive.

      Thanks, Jess! <33

  2. Lily says:

    URGH I’m torn. If there’s on thing j don’t like it’s when authors release different books or series that are just repetitive and pretty much the same. Not cool. That being said I did enjoy the first two books in the PLL series (although I skipped everyone’s parts but Aria’s & Hanna’s LOL) so I don’t know if I’m exactly the target audience for this book but I just don’t know if it’s for me. I’m glad that even though it was PLL 2.0 you still found yourself enjoying it and being surprised by all the twists and turns. That’s always good in a mystery!

    • Celine says:

      I know what you mean! I feel the same way, and yet these are so addictive I can’t help myself 😛 I also liked Aria’s and Hanna’s POVs best, by the way 😉 I did enjoy it, and I was surprised, so I definitely agree with you – in a mystery, that’s good. Now if only we would get some answers too 😛

  3. Hmmm… I haven’t read the Pretty Little Liars series, because like you mentioned, who has the time to emotionally invest in a 12 book series unless it’s the greatest thing ever?! I did read her Lying Game series, and watch the PLL show, and while I enjoy them, I’m not sure if I’m really into another book with the same type of storyline from Sara Shepard. I’d like her to maybe do something different for a change! But great review, as always! 😉
    Emily @ Books & Cleverness recently posted…Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Hahaha, yep. I really hope The Perfectionists won’t turn out to be like 10 books, because ain’t nobody got time for that.

      I agree! I would love to see her write something different, not just because I’m getting tired of seeing the same formula over and over again (though that too), but I’m also really curious what she could do with other storylines/genres.

      Thank you, Emily <33

  4. Hmm, despite the obvious comparison, I image my daughter would still enjoy this, since she is a huge fan of Pretty Little Liars. Great review!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…A Good Marriage by Stephen KingMy Profile

  5. Danielle says:

    That’s a shame she didn’t really bring anything new to the table but I’m glad there was some high points and the mystery was good!
    Danielle recently posted…Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward | ReviewMy Profile

  6. Geez, it definitely sounds exactly like Pretty Liars 2.0 as you said, I mean even the secrets and the characters sound really similar. While I enjoy the show, I get so frustrated with the secret dragging out and not knowing what is going on for so long. I don’t know, I think I might give this one a miss because I feel like I’ve read it all before. Great review Celine!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #10: Movie WeekMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I can understand that! It’s definitely a PLL 2.0, so if you’ve read/seen that one, I don’t think you will really encounter anything new here.

      Thank you, Jeann <33

  7. Becca says:

    Since I have not read or watched PLL I am hoping that I will go into this one with a different frame of mind. Glad that there are a few things you did enjoy about it!

    • Celine says:

      Oh, I think you could enjoy this one a lot if you haven’t read or seen PLL! It really is intruiging, and I think it’s very enjoyable especially if you won’t notice the similarities.

  8. Ah geez Ive read and hated the Pretty Little Liars books and now the author has come back with something basically the same? So not interested in this anymore. Do not like her characters, and clearly won’t be liking these characters either if they’re similar like that. Thanks for the helpful review, Celine!

  9. Melanie says:

    Hmm, not sure if I want to read this one if it’s just PLL all over again. I didn’t like PLL, the TV series because it dragged on and on for so long, even though the suspense and false trails were pretty good at times. I’ll keep this on the TBR for now, but probably won’t pick it up any time soon.

    Also, like Jess, totally read that as Beacon Hills xD

    Fantastic review, Celine! <33

  10. I haven’t read Pretty Little Liars…so I just through you were comparing them, until I reread The Perfectionist blurb and OH IT’S THE SAME AUTHOR. Okay, that makes sense. But still! Maybe she really really loves that one kind of plot?!!
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Goodbye September || Stacking The Shelves #33My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Haha, that comparison would have been pretty random otherwise 😛 I do think she just really likes this kind of plot, but this makes like 3 series that are basically the same. They’re intruiging, but I wish she would do something different!

  11. Amber Elise says:

    I wonder how long it’ll take for this one to get a TV show. Hmmmm

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

  12. buona says:

    Hi Celine! Yeah, I think Sara Shephard needs to find a new formula. I started reading PLL after watching the series and oh god, the cliffhangers — I just wanted to claw at them. I completely agree with you: I wanted, needed, demanded answers at some point! So uh, I think I’ll save myself the torture this time around…
    buona recently posted…Revew: Landline by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

  13. Connie says:

    I actually haven’t read any Sara Shepard books yet, but they’re all marked on my Goodreads TBR (along with hundreds and hundreds of other books. Oops..) This book sounds really interesting, though! Would you recommend for me to read Pretty Little Liars before The Perfectionists, or does it not matter?
    I agree, in my area, I don’t really see the stereotypes of people judging others based on the brand of their clothing, etc. There’s no cliche ruling class of cheerleaders and jocks, nor are all of the smart people fashionably challenged outcasts xD
    Connie recently posted…Movie Review: The Maze RunnerMy Profile

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