Sunday, May 20, 2012
Book Review: Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
How many times as young adults have we been embarrassed by the actions of our parents? I know I used to be embarrassed whenever I would bring a boy home because my mom would always pull out her old Rolling Stones albums to play. For the most part, though, my mom was really cool and I love her for that, but what if she wasn't? That is the situation Kate Brown finds herself in in Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott.
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.
And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.
Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen -- but only if she lets them....
Let me start off by saying that I really did enjoy this book. I couldn't put it down, couldn't wait to find out what happens next. While I had problems with Kate for most of the book, I really did care about her in the end.
Kate is a character I wanted to slap upside the head for most of the book and tell her to stop brooding, that she is her own problem. Yeah, she has a tough time of it. Her father quit his job so that he could sell Infomercial vitamins, which is bad enough, but he cashed in his retirement fund to get the business started. Business is not good and he is trying to do everything he can to boost business, which includes patrolling the mall in a giant bee costume. He goes into other stores in the mall to try to generate business which only results in him getting kicked out and banned from some of the other stores. He decides to have a party at their house and invite everyone he knows so he can try to sell them vitamins. Of course, some of these people are parents of students Kate goes to school with. She is forced to work in the kiosk with her dad and older brother who is out of college and basically sponging off their parents. He won't get a real job or contribute to the family any way other than assisting at the kiosk. Her mom just keeps trying to stay positive and supports her husband, but I am having a hard time understanding why she would. She is forced to get a second job just to make ends meet. When that isn't enough, she invites her mother to come stay with them in the hopes that her mother will lend them money until the vitamin business takes off and they can get back on their feet. Kate's grandmother is insulting, belittling, and far too concerned with her appearance. Her primary hobby is shopping. She also can't stand her son-in law. To top all that off, Kate has lost her best friend Anna. Anna was on the plump side, but went to visit her aunt over the summer and came home a much thinner girl. When she got back to school in the fall, she was suddenly popular and started dating one of the most popular boys in school. She stopped taking to Kate and ignores her whenever their paths cross. Then there is Will Miller.
Will is also one of the popular boys in school, but he has a reputation for being a player. For some reason, he seems to take delight in tormenting Kate. She holds a grudge against Will because he borrowed a pend from her Freshman year he never returned. He also insulted her after she had confessed that she thought he was cute by responding that she was not his type.
So, Kate has a lot going on, has a lot of anger issues, is depressed a lot of the time and can't stop lamenting the loss of her best friend she would give anything to be friends with again. I have to wonder why she would want to have her friend back when she dumped her for the popular crowd. Yeah, I wanted to smack her. She seems to think every one has a motive, won't let herself get close to anyone, is always on the defensive, always thinks the worst of people and doesn't believe anything anybody says.
She can't stand Will, but she also can't pretend she isn't attracted to him. So when she goes out the the dumpster one night at closing, she encounters Will, who is working at the sporting goods store, and after trading insults, they end up kissing. (Which always happened to me when I went to the dumpster when I worked in the mall.) It then becomes a routine for them. She wants to escape her father so she meets Will every chance she gets for a make-out session. She, of course, thinks the worst of him, thinks he's just playing around, that he doesn't care about her.
Then, after Kate helps her out when she dropped something, Anna seems to want to start up a friendship again with Kate. The problem is, Anna doesn't talk to her in school. She just ignores Kate. She will only talk to her or spend time with her when no one else is around. When Will tries to tell her she is being used by Anna, Kate always comes to Anna's defense. Seriously, she's like a walking door mat. And Will? She doesn't seem to treat him very well. She doesn't trust him and doesn't believe her could really like her. The have a fight at a party and then end up hooking up where they are discovered so now, of course, the entire student body is talking about it. So when he finally asks her out in the hallway at school she figures he is just asking her out to make himself look good and says no. She further tells him she doesn't want anything to do with her any more and dumps him before he can dump her.
As bad as her life seems, it's about to get a lot worse.