Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 3.25


 

Better than Perfect started out very “wobbly”, in my opinion. And honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to make myself continue reading.

Anyways, here’s the synopsis. Better than Perfect centers around the perfect Juliet Newman: she’s got a fantastic family, a loving boyfriend, amazing grades, and a completely set future. What more could you possibly ask for?

But then everything begins to spiral downwards, and Juliet starts to question whether everything’s actually as perfect as it seems. (Hint: it’s not.) When she meets Declan, a gorgeous boy who gives her the ability to step outside of her comfort zone, she realizes just how much she’s missing out on.

Now, that sounds like a great story in itself – and I would’ve enjoyed it too, but there was one thing that kept nagging me and simply made the book frustrating to read.

The cheating main character.

Normally, the cheating main character would be a deal-breaker for me, but in this case, I actually felt okay about it, knowing that later on in the book, there would be the big reveal and Juliet would be able to redeem herself.

But that never happened.

Indeed. Juliet decided to leave the matter untouched as she and Jason parted ways. Now, that is definitely not setting a good example.

Maybe I’m just sensitive – but I felt it extremely hard to concentrate on the love between Juliet and Declan, knowing that their relationship was founded on dishonesty.

You know the saying: Once a cheater, always a cheater.

I spent some wondering exactly why it was so hard to relate to Juliet, and I concluded that it was because of how overwhelmingly perfect she was from the very start. Juliet had an amazingly perfect life with “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.”

There were also moments where I thought Melissa Kantor had missed a golden opportunity, but as I continued reading, it became clear that allowing Juliet to make her own decision was a much better option. (I know this paragraph was really vague, but if you come back after reading it, you’ll know what I’m talking about)

I’m a little indecisive on the open ending, because while I like being able to interpret stories in my own way, it remains a little difficult to imagine how Juliet and Declan’s relationship would progress, given the short amount of time they spent getting to know each other and the fact that they had both been cheaters. (This still bothers me.)

Still, I feel as though Kantor’s Better than Perfect was a book that had great potential and expressed the changes that people go through when their lives are turned upside down, and it remains a good reminder to everyone that they don’t have to be perfect to be happy, which I think, is a message that Kantor was very successful in addressing, despite the unlikeable characters.

So I guess, unfortunately, Better Than Perfect was NOT better than perfect.


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