Published by: HarperTeen on February 17, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.
But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?
Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.
Guys, I’m disappointed. I loved Melissa Kantor’s other book Maybe One Day SO much! …But I didn’t love Better Than Perfect.
I felt like I just read through six months of Juliet’s life and nothing really happened. Sure there were a couple moments, but ultimately it just felt like I was constantly reading “a day in the life”, you know? It wasn’t interesting or intense enough to really grip me. It was just Juliet taking the SATs, Juliet taking a Latin test, Juliet stressing over college applications, Juliet cheating on her boyfriend, Juliet running to not be late for class… And when you combine that with a few annoying things in the book, it made for kind of a “meh” read.
The one major annoying part of the book for me was the cheating. Almost at the beginning of the story, Juliet cheats on her long-term boyfriend of four years. View Spoiler » [Then she cheats on him AGAIN later! « Hide Spoiler] What I hated most about this is I never felt like it was resolved. I never felt like Juliet learned anything from this cheating experience. She never really had to deal with the consequences and I just don’t feel like it meant anything. View Spoiler » [Even when she and Jason break up, it wasn’t because of the cheating. He still never found out about it. It was because they both knew they were drifting apart. It just pissed me off that she cheated on him TWICE and never seemed to realize how wrong it was and she never had to deal with any consequences. I hate cheating, but if its’ going to be there, I at least want the main character to have to deal with consequences. « Hide Spoiler]
I did like certain parts of the book. There’s a pretty cool music/band aspect that I enjoyed. But again, it never felt fully explored or developed. View Spoiler » [When Juliet FINALLY gave in and joined the band, I was excited! I was so ready for her to kick some punk rock ass. But then she quit shortly after. And yes, the book ends with her probably rejoining the band, but we don’t see that part. It’s just implied on the last page. I got so excited about this whole music/band idea, but it was never fully explored. « Hide Spoiler]
I guess I just feel like Better Than Perfect was half baked. There were a lot of ideas like family problems, high school stress, first love, self discovery, uncertainty, music, being spontaneous, etc. But the author just scratched the surface of all of them, rather than really digging deep. I got a small taste of music, a small taste of the family problems, and a small taste of the high school stuff. But none of it was really focused on, so the book almost felt scattered. This lack of focus kind of bored me and as a result, it took me like a week to finally finish the book. I just wasn’t excited to pick it up. 🙁