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Perfect
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Gr 9 Up-Ellen Hopkins's companion (2011) to Impulse (2007, both Margaret McElderry Books)), gives voice to four teens trying to live up to the expectations of others while also holding onto secrets. In Impulse, Connor, Tony, and Vanessa were confined to a psychiatric hospital after their failed suicide attempts. Here, Connor's twin sister, Cara, struggles to sustain the flawless facade that her mother has created while also coming to terms with her sexuality. Sean, Cara's boyfriend, has the perfect future mapped out with her, but the effects of steroids take a terrible toll. Andre secretly wants to be a dancer. And Kendra, Connor's ex-girlfriend, will stop at nothing to have the "perfect" body and modeling career. Told from alternating perspectives, Aya Cash, Heather Lind, Aaron Tveit, and Tristan Wilds vividly bring to life each character and their inner turmoil. With varying levels of voicing and character distinction, listeners will be drawn into the lives, hearts, and minds of these teens. As the stories weave into each other, the progression of the characters' desperation, and in some instances, disorder and addiction, are realistically portrayed. Raw and transformational, this audiobook can stand alone, but the story will mean even more to those familiar with the first title. A self-narrated author's note is equally powerful and will have listeners contemplating their own views of perfection. The long tracks, one for each alternating perspective, can be problematic, but not to any major detraction.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"At its nucleus, four teenagers are grappling with insecurities that become exacerbated when loved ones turn up the heat. . . . The unrestricted access Hopkins employs is formidable: parents, siblings, love interests, and outliers all thrust frank judgment on the characters. It is how Cara, Sean, Kendra, and Andre react that encourages readers' emotional attachments. Her writing conveys teenage quandaries with all of the intended consequences, as the verse style only serves to shock as the events unfold." --VOYA, October 2011 "Hopkins addresses teens' struggle with unrealistic expectations in gut-wrenching free verse." --Booklist, August 2011 "This companion to Impulse can stand alone, but packs considerably more punch when read contiguously as intended. . . . Hopkins's legions of fans will no doubt devour Perfect and welcome the return of the characters they learned to love in Impulse." --SLJ, August 2011 "Hopkins sticks to the signature style that has made her books bestsellers, blending verse poetry with controversial topics . . . to intrigue her fans and recruit new ones." --Publishers Weekly, July 2011 "This page-turner pulls no emotional punches." --Kirkus Reviews, April 2011

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