Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

April 2, 2016 Review 18 ★★

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 336
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 tenfold.

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.

dont give a

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.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.8

18 Responses to “Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor”

  1. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    Eek, Juliet sounds like a selfish brat that needs a good spoonful of reality. I’m not surprised that you weren’t able to get behind her. I hate characters that cheat on a significant other…and the fact that she doesn’t recognise how wrong this is…ugh. Thanks for the honest review Alise, definitely don’t think I’ll be picking this one up.
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Subscription Box Review: Owlcrate – Writer’s Block

    • Alise

      If I’m remembering correctly I’m pretty sure she did multiple times. And yet this wasn’t even the real reason they broke up. What is logic? Ugh. Sure!

    • Alise

      Haha I love that gif too. I kept with this one hoping there would be some revelation for the main character at the end but… I would definitely recommend Maybe One Day over this one.

  2. Wattle

    She cheated on him for four YEARS? WTF? D: Juliet sounds like a horrible MC and nothing about your review inspires book envy (actually I feel sort of bad you read the whole thing :o )
    Wattle recently posted…State of the Whimsy #9

    • Alise

      Their relationship was one of four years, she only cheated on him twice recently. Sorry, I should have worded that better! Haha, it was a pretty frustrating read!

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Soooo yeah: I already feel a STRONG dislike for Juliet based on what you shared here so I can imagine that I’d need to vent and CAPS LOCK my way through a review if I read this one for myself. Thanks for taking one for the team Alise and know that your suffering shall not be in vain: I will avoid this one like the plague XD Great review all the same, I love the gifs you used LOL!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Let’s Discuss…(7)

    • Alise

      That’s pretty much what I did here, although I think I reigned myself it a little, haha. xD Thank you!

  4. A Canadian Girl

    The minute I saw that Juliet cheated, I was like, “Nope, not reading this one.” Reading your review further, I can see that I’d have major issues with Juliet’s character. Too bad this one wasn’t great, Alise. Hopefully your next read will be better.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

    • Alise

      It’s pretty hard to pull that off in a book to where I’m not going to be upset about it, ha. Juliet was just so frustrating.

  5. Kyra @ Blog of a Bookaholic

    This book sounded quite interesting but I will definitely not be picking it up now! I absolutely despise cheating and whenever a character engages in infidelity it puts me right off a book. Thank you for the honest review! :)

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