Release Date: February 17th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Marriage & Divorce, Social Issues, 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.
Mild Spoilers Ahead
Juliet Newman’s life is just perfect. She has everything she could ever want until her life just TOTALLY falls apart CATASTROPHICALLY (can you tell I’m being dramatic? Well, Juliet is dramatic with a capital D.) Utterly distraught with her now awful life, she cheats on her boyfriend of FOUR years with a stranger but doesn’t tell him, continuing on like everything is perfect and has virtually no remorse because oh, poor her, she’s going through a tough time.
Juliet spends a majority of the book talking about how her life before her parent’s divorce was just absolutely fan-freaking-tastic and how all these people that envied her beautiful blonde self and her gorgeous, youthful looking, well-off family will now PITY her. THE SHAME.
It was because of all this that I just couldn’t find sympathy for her, although I do recognize her situation was a tough one. We are also told time and time again about how Juliet and her boyfriend MUST get a near perfect score on the SATs so they can get into Harvard. Give me a dollar for every time the SATs or tutoring was mentioned and I could pay for this book
Instead of focusing on familial relationships and tough issues like in the author’s other novel, everything is shoved aside to talk about suffering Juliet. There just wasn’t much to this plot besides her goal of “perfection” and her complaining.
Juliet’s relationship with her actual boyfriend even seemed a little messed up and based only on their goals in life. The night something happens to her mother, she decides to cheat on him with a guy she just met. She continues to go out with her boyfriend like nothing happened and shows little regret for her actions because hey, she’ll probably never see him again right? WRONG-O. He shows up at her school as the “hawt” exchange student.
Long story short: she ends up almost going all the way with guy-that-is-not-her-boyfriend (for the SECOND time) and still does not break up with her boyfriend. It isn’t until the novel is almost over she breaks up with him, and not because she cheated or likes someone else, but because her goals in life have changed. WUT?!?!?
Obviously, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. However, I am a fan of Kantor’s other novel MAYBE ONE DAY and would definitely recommend that,
especially over this one. I feel like BETTER THAN PERFECT had potential if the focus had been on other elements of the story rather than the romance and Juliet’s need to be perfect.