Friday, October 10, 2014

[Review: Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch]

Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Series: Perfected #1
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Date Published: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format Read: Purchased eBook


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 Kiera Cass’ 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.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Perfected,

Hello there, you diabolically, twisted, messed up, book! I love that you had me inwardly and outwardly cringing as I read your pages. The things inside of you are screwed up on so many levels, but you also use them in a way that reminds us of what it means to be a person. You're unsettling and I like you even more for it all...

-The White Unicorn

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Birch has a way with writing stories that set you on edge as you read them. She's not afraid to tell a story with uncomfortable story devices. This time around she's telling a story of humanity through the eyes of a girl who's been genetically created to be something like a pet to people. The creepy factor is that Ella has emotions and feelings and is in all actuality a person. A person who is forced to be treated like a pampered poodle. It's a disgusting thought, but Birch gives us strong story building and characters that you will love.

While reading this book, I was left with a creepy feeling. The fact that people were out there creating other people for their own pleasure makes me sick inside. These girls are being created in kennels to be the perfect doormats, but Birch reminds us that you can't take humanity out of someone, so things don't always go as planned. Going in to the book I had no idea that it was set in an dystopian future. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be, but I'm glad that this was the case. It made it even more unsettling, knowing that the technology might be out there to do something like this.

Ella doesn't even have a name while she's in the kennel. It isn't until she ends up at the congressman's house that they decide on her name. I can't even imagine what it's like to go 16 years without a name and only a number to your person. She shows up, get's a name, a necklace with a dog tag on it and a world full of luxury. She's clueless. She's been raised to listen and that's about it. Well, they also taught her how to play the piano as a way of entertaining her owners, but that wasn't originally for her, though she loves it with everything inside of herself. She doesn't know how to read, or cook, or do much of anything but sit around and look pretty. This could have been terrible for her as a character, but it actually makes the world that Birch created even more vivid. It makes Ella someone that you can root for as she starts to see things as they really. As she starts to see that she has options in the world, options that she never thought she'd have. 

She starts to gain a personality as the book progresses, so even though she seems like a weak character to begin with, you see that she's made of so much more as the book moves along. She starts to realize that she wants things and that she's been cheated out of the human experience and when she starts fighting for it, you'll want to cheer her on too. 

Perfected happens to be fueled by a romance. In this case it works and I think that it also softens the blow of all the intense things that are happening to Ella. How was she supposed to know that she'd fall for her owners son? I enjoyed Penn. He's what Ella needs. That being said, I felt like he was the weakest part of the book. For some reason I just didn't love his voice. I liked him, but every time he opened his mouth, it was like his words didn't match up with his personality for me. I can't put my foot on what was off, but this little thing didn't mess with my enjoyment of the story, because in the end, the book is about so much more than the love story, even if that is used to move the plot along.

Birch manages to slowly peel back the layers on what is actually going on with the pets and as more and more comes to light, the more you want to rip the pets out of the pages of the books and free them from the hell that Birch has created for them. I have to admit that I saw a few of the twists coming, because they weren't very hidden, but a few things still snuck up on me.

If you want to read a book that's going to set you on edge and make you feel like every person on this earth counts, this is the book for you. It's got so many blood boiling moments in it that will make you happy that Birch's world isn't a reality.

   4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


{Scribbler} Skye said...

OMG apparently I had no idea what this book was about! I'm definitely going to give it a try - thanks for putting it on my radar!

Giselle said...

Oh wow this sounds horrifyingly awesome! It reminds me a bit of Beta except actually well done lol! I also love it when an author is daring and tells a story without fearing the uncomfortable or blunt. I like how unsettling this all sounds, too. These are usually my fav kinds of dystopians! And the character growth sounds well crafted, too! Great review, Christianna! :)

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

I like unsettling and disturbing, always makes things interesting.
Okay, yeah, it really does sound sick and twisted, and the worst thing is, you can actually imagine that, take away a kennel and everything, the way some people treat people is the same. I doubt I'd like the romance, but it doesn't sound like it takes away from it anyway, so that's all good. Love how it focuses more on humanity more. :)