The title of this novel holds no secrets about its content. Four individuals whose lives intersect tell their own stories of the difficulties immersed in striving for perfect, and the pain that underlies the desperate, unrelenting need for it. Cara's parents expect the absolute best from their children, and one of those children has already attempted suicide as a result of the pressure mounting at home. Cara's almost-loving relationship with Sean doesn't help to support her in her journey towards figuring out who she really is and what really makes her happy. Sean doesn't think he can live without Cara, but he's convinced that it's really baseball and his ultimate athletic success that makes him who he is. Kendra is in constant pursuit of the perfect body and the perfect face to allow her modeling career to soar, no matter the price. And Andre has his heart set on a certain career and a certain girl, neither of which really fall into the plan that his parents' have created for him.
Ellen Hopkins never fails to deliver the real deal. With powerful word selection and nothing short of stark honesty, Hopkins' characters are true depictions of the hopes, dreams, torment, and struggles that fill up lots of the nooks and crannies that make us all human. Recommended to all high school readers. (Release date for this title is September 13, 2011.)
Also discussed on this blog are Burned and Identical. Her most known novel is Crank, the story of Kristina Gregory's journey with the "monster" of drugs and addiction that claimed control over most of her life (continued in two sequels), but all of Hopkins' novels in verse are powerful explorations of the mixture of light and dark found within individuals across the globe.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.