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Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper

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Description

Okay, I don’t mean literally. Lots of people know who I am. Darcy Phillips. Junior. That girl with the shoulder-length blond hair and the gap between her front teeth. The one who’s best friends with Brooke Nguyen, and is part of the school’s queer club. Ms. Morgan-from-science-class’s daughter. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers, St.Martin's Press, for sending me an arc in exchange for an unbiased opinion. This book was so original and creative--I absolutely loved the premise. I loved all the characters, too. They, of course, had their flaws and secrets, but the author did such a great job of showing you their motivations and reasons, you still loved them. It would be remiss to not point out the great bisexual representation we get in Darcy, as well, who has some very real conversations surrounding sexuality that are perfect for YA audiences. Also something I haven't heard anyone talk about is how Darcy lives between separated parents AND is the scholarship kid at a private school. As someone who lived both these experiences I just want to say how fantastically they were handled! It felt authentic and Darcy's thoughts regarding the extreme wealth of her classmates were so honest that I cried (again) at recognising how I used to feel at school. Thank you so much to the publishers for providing me with an eArc of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The characters in this book are so vibrant and diverse! We see representation of bi, trans, gay, ace, aro, and more! I loved to see a bi protagonist—in most of the lgbtq+ books I have read, I usually only see gay/lesbian leads. And while biphobia was discussed in the novel (yes!!), I do wish I would have seen more of it before the end of the book. I thought Gonzales did a wonderful job bringing up many instances of microaggressions and bi-erasure that are experienced every day. Honestly, I tend to stay away from straight up romances. The genre itself is a mix bag for me, but I am so, so, so glad I read this. There are so many great topics in this book: biphobia, setting boundaries, questioning asexuality and the pressure of having sex. Darcy's advice is something I wish I had when I was in high school (hell, I wish I had it now). There was really just so much to love about this book. In addition to adoring Darcy, I also really adored Brougham. He comes across as arrogant and obnoxious at first but it becomes clear over time that he is soft boy with a very dysfunctional home life, who just really needs a hug. I loved watching his friendship with Darcy evolve as they worked together and got to know each other better.I’m not sure I truly buy into the relationship Brooke suddenly develops with someone she didn’t like a moment ago. How do you go from mutual dislike to dating over a weekend? Maybe it’s just been a while since I was in high school, but I have trouble seeing this being realistic. My Opinions The characterisations and romances were so brilliant- I literally squealed at one "romancy" moment! The side characters were all well done, and none of them felt like token representation. They felt natural and were fun to read. Darcy's sister especially was a great show of sisterly affection and love, and while the fact that she's trans is mentioned, it's never a plot point for pain or contention. It's just a fact of the story. Brooke, Darcy's best friend, felt like every best friend I've had. It was interesting to watch Darcy pine after a clueless Brooke and watch how it changes their relationship. Brougham started as the literal worst. Seeing him through Darcy's eyes meant seeing him as the spoiled rich jerk she assumed he was, and he is. But learning about the layers of his past and toxic familial relationships meant giving us insight into why he behaves the way he does, and how he wears his good behavior like a suit of armor. It’s when bisexuals start to believe the biphobia they’re surrounded by. We’re told that our sexuality isn’t real, or that we’re straight if we’re with another gender, and that our feelings don’t count if we’ve never dated a certain gender, that kind of crap. Then we hear it so many times we doubt ourselves.”

Only Mostly Devastated is the kind of book I wish existed when my kids were younger—a charming, funny, laugh-out-loud teen romance that reminds all readers love comes in a multitude of flavors, and they are ALL sweet.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times–bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light The evolution from frenemies to lovers between Darcy and Brougham really worked and I appreciated how the author showcased those tender moments as things started to shift, but also didn't rush them along. That uncertainty and vulnerability is one of the things I love most about the YA genre. The cast of secondary characters was delightful (Finn! LOL) and I also liked the focus on familial relationships (and how positive and negative they can be). The typical YA angst and drama do pop up in their own unique ways, but I thought it was handled and presented really well. Darcy and Brougham's character arcs were done so well and I was rooting for these two to find themselves (and each other) along the way. I shook my head and laughed a little too loudly. “No.” The heat in my cheeks told me my face was betraying me.

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Gonzales has crafted a lively story with multilayered appeal...then wraps it all up in an electrifying love story.” — Booklist Thanks to #partner @NetGalley and @wednesdaybooks for the digital ARC of Sophie Gonzales’s Perfect on Paper in exchange for an honest review. I’m also thrilled to have read this as part of a buddy read with @lovearctually! The book will be published on Tuesday, March 9. Perfect On Paper is one of those books I could have read in one sitting. Had I been able to pause time and all my responsibilities, I would have stayed up all night reading this book. But there was a bonus to not being able to do that, as I then had something to look forward to reading when I got home from work! I am so grateful I got the opportunity to read the ARC of this book because it was such a fun read that made me smile – something we all need in our lives these days. Friendships were on the menu, a smattering of drama, lots of secrets and lies and problematic parents. I liked Brooke but only a bit, Ray definintely grew on me, Ainsley was fab and Brougham delivered on the slow building chemistry. Brougham slowly defrosted in this story and I enjoyed the reveal of his character.



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