Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 26th 2015
My rating: 2 stars
Juliet Newman has it all. 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. But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she's always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there's Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who's totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be?
Kantor’s Maybe One Day was one of my favourite reads last year, Kantor’s beautiful writing and characters just struck a chord with me that I had the book on my mind for weeks and months after, I thought this would be the case with Better than Perfect too, although I was mesmerised by Kantor’s gorgeous writing once again, I had a tough time connecting with the characters.
First there was our MC Juliet, she had a gorgeous boyfriend in Jason, she had a lovely home, a doting mother and if she continued to study hard she would be on track for Harvard early action. But everything changes one night when her mother is rushed to hospital and Juliet decides to live on edge for the night and ends up kissing somebody else. I could see why Juliet wanted to get lost for the moment with everything coming down around her, but she knew it would be something she would look back on and regret, especially the way she left things with this guy too and you know how things come back to bite you in the bum? Well this happened in the most awkward way possible for Juliet. I know Juliet had a lot to deal with but it seemed like for most of everything going on around her she had blinkers on, okay so maybe she didn’t know her mum had a drinking problem and an addiction to medication, but I found it hilarious when her brother was shocked to inform her that her parents had been attending counselling sessions and not date night once a week as Juliet had assumed. Also with the love triangle in this book, I kind of knew who I liked from the beginning and who Juliet should have picked, I wished that she didn’t dally about for the ¾’s of the book and did the character change of one of these guys really have to be necessary? Also Juliet and her boyfriend had a habit of calling each other the same nick name “J”, which really began to gripe on me, couldn’t they just call each other by their full names, as it didn’t come across to me as cute at all.
I think Juliet for me was my biggest flaw in this book, I wanted to know how things would end up for her and who she would pick in the end, but I wasn’t able to form that connection with her that I had hoped. Jason too was another character who didn’t work for me, he came across a super sweet in the beginning, but then just became this really irritating guy who was constantly on Juliet’s case, and he eventually did make it easy for Juliet to decide who she wanted to be with.
I feel like I’ve complained throughout this entire review, which isn’t something that I wanted to do. Because even though Jason and Juliet were characters that didn’t work for me, there were some that made this book worth it and that was Declan and his family, they were pretty cool in how they accepted Juliet for who she was and didn’t really try to change her. The scenes with Declan’s family were ones that I did eagerly anticipate, as their quirkiness was hard to resist. And like I mentioned earlier Kantor’s writing is just beautiful, she writes the difficult scenes that a lot of characters had to deal with really well and it was largely because of her writing that I read this book to the very end, it’s just a shame that I wasn’t able to enjoy it more. Despite this being the case, I still will be looking forward to giving Kantor’s future books a go.