Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch


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 Keira Cass’s 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.
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Publishes in US: July 1st 2014 by Entangled: Teen
Genre: YA dystopia
Source: Entangled Teen via Netgalley
Series? No?

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    Perfected stood out to me as a book to be read because I liked the sound of the premise. Chilling that humans with thoughts can be purchased for entertainment and raised for a life like this, but I liked the sound of Penn, the to be romantic interest and where that will lead. Though it does say a life of luxury, it is still hard to reconcile that you can be trained to be graceful and demure but then sold as a pet. 

    While I liked Ella, that she felt so real with her insecurities, it was also a little weird. I was at a bit of a distance because I have never been in a similar situation, being trained to make others happy. It was certainly interesting to see what they were taught, and see how it translates into getting her own family. 

     Ruby is the youngest and really takes to Ella. She wants to be her friend, and also adds an element of truth to the family that I am not sure how we would have been clued into as soon. Ella's family had a pet before, and it comes out that she was sick and was taken back to the kennels. 

    While I liked the romance with Ella and Penn, it felt a little underdeveloped especially before the twist and things that led to the ending. Though I suppose that there was a lot going on that forced his hand to move as quickly as he did towards making a stand, but still. I did like the chemistry between them. I think he saw more about her and through her by her reactions to music, and then he reveled in showing her new things, like banana splits and new songs instead of the classical piano she was trained on. 

    As far as the congressman goes, I think that the world was pretty well set up. I think that they could have been a little more clear on some of the steps to the allowance of the genetically engineered teens as pets instead of having us on the brink of that being okay. But I still thought it was a solid premise, scary and chilling, but interesting. 

    The mystery and build up of what happened to the family's previous pet felt a little too staged for me. It was whispered a lot over and over with no information only to confirm what I expected. Although Ruby's friend Jayne and her pet did bring up some other issues that I was wondering about such as age and when their owners tire, but I think those could have been explored more. 

    The ending was so-so for me. I liked the courage and strength, as well as the kindness of others in helping Ella. But I didn't feel like it was resolved enough for me. I didn't get quite the HEA I was looking for, unless this is a series, and in which case, disregard everything I said in this paragraph. 

    Overall, Perfected had a good premise, and it was a fast read. I finished it virtually in one sitting, so it had enough going on plot and character wise to keep me engaged. 

Bottom Line: Has some issues, but I still enjoyed and would keep reading.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think that you could accept a genetically engineered pet?
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  1. Ugh creepy! I ca only imagine what this would lead to

  2. For some reason this book has piqued my attention very much and though you pointed out a few downsides, I just got even more interested.

  3. That is a creepy premise! Sorry the ending and romance didn't work so well for you.
    Thanks for the review!

  4. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsJuly 3, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    That's the hardest thing when you haven't been through what the characters have or their situation, is the connection. Ending sounds a little sucky if it wasn't resolved properly or a little too quickly, but at least you liked the chemistry between them, right? I wouldn't accept these genetically engineered pets because ugh, weird. But, a genetically altered dog? Yup.

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  5. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this as a whole. Sorry the romance was underdeveloped in your eyes. I love me some romance. Almost always! So it's disappointing to hear that it didn't live up to your expectations. Though yay for a good chemistry :) Hmm. Well, I can clearly see why you had issues, but at the end of the day, it still seems like a read worth exploring. Great, honest review, Brandi!

  6. The premise on this one caught my eye also. I don't like the idea of human pets. That's just creepy and wrong on so many levels. I'm sorry about the underdeveloped romance... I also dislike it when that happens, it makes the relationship seem less real. Still, I'm glad that you ended up liking it.

  7. I've been curious about this one, I don't think I really understood what it was about but now I'm even more curious.

  8. Saw this somewhere the other day. I like the political aspect but I feel it wasn't explored as much, more of a background because of who the heroine is? I think I'll pass...

  9. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds interesting. I'm not liking the sound of family relationship that much and I don't like when things are staged. But still I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall. Great review, Brandi :)

  10. This sounds completely interesting and I'd read it for the same reason you did. Too bad it's only three hearts.

  11. That is a very chilling thought. This one does sound interesting though not sure if I'll pick it up. But I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the few issues you had :)

    Lovely review!

  12. I just finished writing my review of this one and it will be up tomorrow. I agree with you on the mystery of the old pet and how it was a let down to already have guessed it. I wrote something very similar in my own review. I was hoping that even though I felt like I knew what was going to happen, that there was some sort of twist on it that I wouldn't see coming. Oh well. Great review!! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  13. The concept of this story sounds really cool. I mean, who has the idea of perfect humans being made to be a real life pampered play doll? Yep, that sounds like something new to me as well. It's a shame the romance didn't quite go as well as it could've but it seems like a generally okay book.
    No, I don't think I would be able to accept a genetically engineered pet. It's not so real then. The best thing about having a pet is knowing that it might hate you but you choose to love it anyways. Of course, it's always a plus when it loves you too. :3

  14. jayd @ booksfoodandotherthingsJuly 14, 2014 at 6:08 AM

    Sounds like such an interesting book! I havent read the Selection series, but I love Lauren DeStefano so much. Perfected definitely sounds like something I would like to read!
    I really enjoyed your review, now I know what to expect when i manage to pick up the book.

  15. Bookworm BrandeeJuly 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    I hadn't heard of this one before, Brandi. But it does sound pretty interesting. Thanks for the great review!


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