Genre: YA - Contemporary
Ruthie Bayer is stuck. Her mom is totally overprotective, her dad is nonexistent, and her best friends can't help her now when she needs them most: Out of the blue, Ruthie has fallen in love with the boy next door, Perry. Perry has suddenly grown up and made her heart go "thwang," and Ruthie has no idea what to do about it. Then a new girl shows up at school, and Ruthie realizes she has to do "something," and fast. Jenna is perfect, from her perfectly straight hair to her perfectly manicured toes. Perry's noticed her, too, and worse, Jenna has noticed him right back. Ruthie knows she has to call her aunt, New York's "Goddess of Love." If Aunt Marty, romance columnist and woman of the world, can't turn Ruthie into a perfect girl, no one can . . . but she might also turn Ruthie's entire world upside down.
The first thing I want to say about this book is not so good: Perfect Girl is forgettable. As I am typing up this review, I am having a hard time remembering the book. I picked it expecting a quick, cute read but it turned out to be rather bland. And though I can’t seem to pinpoint why I didn’t really like Perfect Girl, I know that I hard time getting into the story from the start.
Ruthie has just fallen in love with her best friend and neighbor Perry. This seems like a cliched storyline, but the author had the opportunity to make it unique, yet failed to do so. Perry is actually a unique sort of guy that I would’ve liked, but I never got why Ruthie even liked him. There wasn’t anything particularly special about her feelings for him or their relationship as far as I could tell, and there was no defining moment when she “fell” in love with him. They were just sort of hanging out and she suddenly decided she was in love. It was rather awkward.
While the characters were okay, their personalities were sorta meh and their actions totally predictable. From Ruthie’s conversations with her friends, to her arguments with her mother, and even her reactions to Perry being near, everything sort of fell flat. The only time I was really engaged in the story was when her aunt, “The Goddess of Love,” is introduced into the story. We get a quick glimpse at this stranger several years prior, before she is dragged into the present day story unexpectedly, and then also falls into a cliched role.
From the synopsis, this sounds like a fun romance, but that’s kind of misleading. While the story does focus a bit on Ruthie and Perry’s relationship, it doesn’t play such an important role in the actual story as it might seem to. Perfect Girl was about Ruthie’s strained relationship with her mother, and how her aunt ends up getting involved. When a tragic event takes place towards the end of the book, the three are sort of forced to get along, which in turn makes the entire “love story” take the backseat. Perry and Ruthie interact only a handful of times in the book and that was disappointing (because that’s what I expected.)
Overall Perfect Girl had the potential to be a sweet story about a girl growing up and learning how important family is, but instead was attempted to be told as a love story, which threw me off. If the author would have focused her energy into making this a coming of age book, instead of throwing in the awkward friendship-turns-romance part, this could have turned out better. Instead, everything felt forced and the characters were cliche. All in all, I was pretty disappointed.