Saturday 29 November 2014

The Perfectionists

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard (Hot Key Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-4714-0434-4
Reviewed by Jacque Duffy

This is one of those non-put-downable books. It is well written, the main characters are likeable, and the pacing is fast, but I have a problem.

Sara Shepard is the author of many popular books including the Pretty Little Liars series, which I confess to not having read but have heard quite a lot about. Pretty Little Liars has sixteen – yes, sixteen -- books in the series. Don’t get me wrong, I like a series, I don’t mind a little breathing space between books. I like to let the characters have a rest too, especially after a fast-paced book like this one.

But here is my problem. The Perfectionists has a lot of characters, starting with five girls plotting revenge against the school’s most popular boy slash bully; each of those girls has her own group of secondary characters, some of which are crucial to the plot. That is a lot of characters to make mental notes about.

I was enjoying this book immensely; not only are these girls managing to get themselves into all kinds of trouble - most of the time not of their own doing - but there has been a murder. Towards the latter half I found it hard to put the book down. I read faster and faster, needing to know who the bad guy/girl is and if the girls were going to be safe.

Then it ended.

Just like that.

I have no idea if these girls whom I had become so fond of were safe.

Looks as though I will have to wait for book number two; I hope it comes out fast.

The book, if read in a classroom situation, would raise healthy discussion. The serious matters of sex, drugs, bullying, suicide and revenge are raised in this story. The characters are fully formed and each has their own story to tell.

The story obviously gives room for sequels and I am sure each would be an enjoyable read.

 Jacque Duffy is the author and illustrator of the series ‘That’s not a …’ learn to read books used in all Queensland State Primary Schools, a picture book The Bear Said Please, and one local history coffee table book.


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