Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

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   by: Kate Jarvik Birch

Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Dystopian
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC received from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 304 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

Is there a sequel? For the love of God, someone tell me if there's going to be a sequel! I NEED A FREAKING SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *composes self* Ok, I'm good. But for real. I'm gonna need more because that ending was NOT okay with me! I mean it was, but.... but..... sigh. The ending was imperfectly perfect. Does that even make sense?
I really enjoyed this book. I do wish there was a bit more world building, as I would have liked to find out more about how this whole 'owning girls as pets' came into being, or how the law was passed, etc. I think a bit more backstory would have made this even more compelling and frightening. This book both fascinated and sickened me. I thought the premise was a really neat one, but when you think how some owners used these girls as pets.... it is very upsetting.
Pacing: I felt the story flowed really well. I was hooked from the start and I was curious to see how Ella would do as a pet, as she is constantly worrying about whether or not she's doing or saying the appropriate thing. Most of all, I liked seeing Ella's transformation from a pet to a girl. With Penn and even Ruby, she started to feel more comfortable and acted more like a girl than a toy to be played with. I like that she didn't always censor her thoughts, especially with Penn. She's confused as to what she's feeling for him, and knows she shouldn't, but she's never felt these feelings for someone else before and wants to explore them.
Storyline: Imagine a world where human girls are bred to perfection and poise. Now imagine those same girls being bred in what are called 'kennels' and sold as pets to the elite. However, not all pets are purchased JUST for their children to enjoy...  I'll let you read between the lines. Yeah, NOT OKAY. Luckily, there are those in this world who feel as you and I do and they want to help these girls earn their freedom and flee such an environment. And then there are those who would chain their pets up for running away and wrongdoing. As appalling as it is to read about this, it is equally interesting to see how Ella is treated in the Congressman's home she was sold to. She was sold to entertain their 10 year old daughter, Ruby, but that may not be her sole purpose... It is evident the Congressman's wife and 16-year-old son do not care for Ella and do not want her there. There are several references to the family's previous pet, but we do not find out what happened to her until much later in the book. One can deduct their disdain stems from that previous girl and that is why they are resistant to accepting Ella.
Characters: Ella is a very naïve girl. She doesn't know any different- she was raised to believe she is only there for others' enjoyment and that her happiness is irrelevant. She lives with the constant fear of being sent back to the kennel and being put down for displeasing her masters. With her new family, she is very unsure of how she should act and is always wary she won't say or do the right thing. I felt so much sadness and agony for her. Not only does she have to worry about those things, but she has to worry about her feelings as a girl and what that could mean for her. She is drawn to Penn and I like that Birch explored that relationship, as it shows just how human Ella is and how young she is.
I really liked Penn. He starts off wary and a bit dismissive of Ella, but he has his reasons and after finding them out I can't say I blame him. As he starts to get to know Ella and see that she's not just this perfect little pet, he starts to empathize with her and even show her compassion, which eventually leads to more. He sees her passion for music and the love for it she desperately tries to keep hidden. He doesn't like that his father whisks her away to show off for his other elite friends and the two really butt heads on Penn's future. I have to say Penn really surprised me towards the end and it made me want to squeeze him so tight and not let him go.
Ruby was a great character too. Being 10 years old, Ella is more than just a pet- she becomes a friend, someone to spend time with. I liked seeing them together and their relationship was very sweet.
There are some surprises with the Congressman and his wife and I wish I could discuss their characters a bit more, but I don't want to spoil anything. Let's just say some of their actions were not what I was expecting at all.
Final Thoughts: I definitely agree with the blurb in saying that if you enjoyed Kiera Cass's The Selection, you will probably enjoy this one too. I do think we needed more world building and I would have liked to find out more about those opposed to girls being owned as pets and that resistance. I am also curious about other pets like Missy, who have been jaded and see this whole debacle for what it really is. And I need a sequel. Like WHOA.

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  1. Oh, this was disturbing, no!? I agree with you, the backstory was seriously lacking and my mind was wondering on the point of it all. I mean, perfect pretty girls!? UGH NO. Anyway.

    I loved how you mentioned the congressman and his wife. I was thrown by that tid bit at the end! Speaking of endings, wasn't it at all familiar to you?

  2. I've got to read this book after reading your review! *Adds to TBR pile* *cries at TBR pile*

  3. This really sounds all sorts of awesome but stomach churning at the same time. I think I need to check this one out, it just sounds so interesting. Great review!

  4. I've been seeing this one around quite a bit recently and was curious about it so I'm happy to see you enjoyed this so much, for the most part! That ending seriously sounds killer though, so I do hope there's a sequel! :) I'm pretty big on world-building myself so at least I'd know going in what to expect. Thanks for the lovely review Jessica ^^

  5. HOLY CHOCOLATE BALLS!! Where have I been and why do I not have this amazing yet did I just throw up in my mouth, need this in my life type of book!!! lol. I am very intrigued. I actually liked The Selection and the first book to The Chemical Garden series so I think I may enjoy this one. It really makes my skin crawl to know that this book is about being a "pet" but I'm all for creeptastic,Your review has me wishing I had this book in my hands like two weeks ago! I am sad that the backstory wasn't up to par but I hope (IF THERE IS A SEQUEL) it will be brought forth then. Other than that, I'm going to be picking this one up because I am 1000% sold.<--- that was not a pun, I swear! <333


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