Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

by - October 24, 2017



A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this layered, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. With so much pressure to succeed, it’s hard not to do whatever it takes. 

But when Kara takes a new underground drug to help her ace the SATs, she doesn’t expect to get a text from a blocked sender, telling her to follow a set of mysterious instructions—or risk her dark secret getting out. Soon she finds herself part of a group of teens with secrets of their own, who are all under the thumb of the same anonymous texter. And if they don’t find a way to stop the blackmailer, their perfect futures will go up in flames.

This dark, emotionally resonant contemporary YA novel is perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Secret History.

REVIEW

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara is a young girl who excels at everything and it’s expected of her to do well because she’s ‘Perfect Kara’. Her parents and teachers put pressure on her to succeed – she internalizes this and adds more pressure on herself to be perfect, which is impossible. 

There’s an innocence to Kara that you can relate to because she’s a nice person, she obeys her parents, she’s a good friend, she’s likable, but she’s also vain. She comes across an imperfection that needs to be covered, which unlocks a hosts of other demons that were lurking beyond the surface. In a bid to get through her SATs, she takes something to calm her nerves that brings with it a world of trouble, lies and secrets.

This is a book that deals with anxiety and panic attacks, something that a lot of us might deal with but not actually know we have: why do you always wear your hair down to hide your ears that you feel might be too big, when ‘it’s not really such a big deal’? When you think of it like that, it makes the story more relatable.

The book was an easy read with wholesome characters that added to the story, but there was so much more that Michelle Falkoff could have explored. It felt as everything was just taken at face value, when there was a lot of unexplored material below the surface.

But when Kara takes a new underground drug to help her ace the SATs, she doesn’t expect to get a text from a blocked sender, telling her to follow a set of mysterious instructions—or risk her dark secret getting out. 

As soon as I saw the anonymous text, I immediately thought of Pretty Little Liars. The ending was unexpected (at least to me it was), but the outcome was way too easy. I thought it was unbelievably easy and it reminded me of Gossip Girl. 

This book was okay and a lot of Kara’s problems could have been solved with honesty, trusting her friends, being allowed to make mistakes and have flaws like a human being and trusting herself. 

- Christine 

Book was sent to me by Jonathan Ball Publishers in-exchange for an honest review. 

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