AUTHOR: Laura Silverman
PUBLICATION DATE: March 5th, 2019
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary, LGBTQ
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Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.
Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.
Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.
RATING: 5/5 stars
Ariel is the perfect student. He’s in all AP classes, first chair violin, volunteers at the local animal shelter, and is expected valedictorian. He’s worked his whole life for this. One failed calculus grade is not part of his plan. He figures he can put in a few late nights and bring his grade back up (he can sleep after he graduates). But, when his grade continues to slip, he hires a tutor.
Ariel has worked hard to make it look like his life is effortless. All the high ranking kids do. But, unlike all the other kids, he finds that he doesn’t really have a passion. He’s been working his whole high school career to be valedictorian so he can apply to Harvard, but he hasn’t made any real friendships or relationships, not until Amir comes along. Senior year shows him what’s really important in life. Sure, school is important, but so are relationships.
I absolutely loved this book! I was pretty stressed while reading it, not gonna lie, but it was definitely worth it. It put some things into perspective for me and reinforced some beliefs of mine.
How do you know if a goal is worth it until you get it? We work hard for a lot of stuff. Should we not put in effort because the reward might not be what we thought?”
Ariel wants to be valedictorian, so he doesn’t have much of a social life. Then, Amir comes and everything changes, but not instantly (or at least it doesn’t feel like instantly, which I liked). I liked that there was a slow build up to everything. We got to know Ariel and his life better, and how he slowly reformed his stressful life. Even the little stuff like his schedule and asking for extra credit really stood out to me. It just made him more relatable.
I also really liked the religion aspect of the novel. That’s probably one of the underrated things of the book. I liked how Ariel could talk to the rabbi when he wished, and he could ask for spiritual guidance whenever he wanted.
I go to a regular public school, and while it’s not competitive I’m not even close to being valedictorian. I never would have been anyway because of certain circumstances. Anyway, I was still able to relate to Ariel struggling to balance everything in his life. I’m in school for eight hours a day, I have to do homework and studying, write blog posts, I volunteer on the weekends, and find time to read and write!
“Tatala, we don’t care where you go to school. Perfect is overrated.” Mom’s eyes shine. “Who would want perfect when they could have you?”
Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book. I’m glad I’m reading this before my senior year because it made me think about some things. Grades aren’t everything. For me, I took them way too seriously ninth and tenth grade, and I’ve forced myself to take a step back this year and do other things too. I’ll be totally honest and say I don’t want to end up in the position where Ariel finds that he doesn’t know what he’s passionate about. I’ve been working my whole life towards avoiding that, and I’d like to say I’ve gotten to that position, but I won’t really ever know until I’m in college.
*All quotes are taken from unfinished Advance Reader Copy and are subject to change upon publication.
My debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.
I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!
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Prize: Win a copy of YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT by Laura Silverman (INT)
Disclaimer: INT as long as Bookdepository ships to the country of the winner.
Start Date: 11th February 2019
End Date: 24th February 2019
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