Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.)
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