Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
Author: Jen Larsen
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: October 6, 2015
No. of Pages: 320 pages
Price: None. HarperCollins approved an eARC of this book for me over at Edelweiss and that did not sway my opinions for this book. Thank you, HC! You guys are awesome!
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction
DNF at 55%
So, okay. Remember when I reviewed Dumplin’ and told everyone that “I’m all for the YA literary trend that relates to perfectly imperfect characters such as Willowdean Dickson”? It was actually from that realization that made me want to read Future Perfect, seeing that Ashley Perkins, the main character of this book, happens to be experiencing the same troubles that Willowdean did. She, too, was overweight and the story seems to revolve on that specific idea. I happen to love Dumplin’, and I, too, happen to be overweight. That’s what enticed me to read this book as well. One of the many reasons why I read books is that I want to relate to the characters that authors introduce me to. As for the case of Future Perfect and Ashley Perkins, it wasn’t like that at all.
I feel like there’s too much conversation in this book and it led the story away from the reader. The author seems to have focused on writing a story based on conversations rather than giving due importance to other elements of a good story like actual character developments, mid-story plot twists, etc. I mean, most of the time, I personally tend to look for an actual dialogue so that I could vividly understand a story, but in the case of this book, there was just too much of that. Unnecessary little details and stories were written when there was no actual relation to the story. I don’t know if I’m perfectly able to put my thoughts about this into writing, but, the point is there were just too many dialogues.
As for the characters, I don’t know if it’s just me or there were also too much characters who I, as a reader, wasn’t even introduced to. It was utterly confusing for me, since I didn’t even know who the main character was talking to most of the time. I had to backtrack several times so that I could comprehend what was actually going on. This could have been great if the author tried a little harder to make her characters a little more identified.
One more thing I want to add is that the premise of this book could have been great if the writing style was more vivid and creative. See, the story was about a girl who had it all: a brain, a social life, and even a boyfriend. Her only dilemma was that she was overweight. Now, I don’t know about you guys but that to me seems like a great story in itself. The author just had to make things a little more interesting so as to keep the readers hooked up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t kept interested enough to at least finish this book.
For the record, though, I did try to finish this. It’s just that I couldn’t find any reason to look forward to do so, and I didn’t want my first few reads of the year to start out on a low note.
But of course, that’s just me. You could always check out Future Perfect by Jen Larsen and it may work out for you. It is already out, and you should check out your local book stores to see if they have it. As for my Filipino readers, I know that Fully Booked has them in stock and it is priced at Php684.00.
Characters – 2.00
Plot – 1.50
Writing Style – 2.00
Pacing – 2.00
Ending – ?
TOTAL – 1.5 / 2 Stars
On the plus side, there were some quotes that caught my interest. I’m still leaving some down below.
“It’s a life skill to always look graceful in dangerous situations.” – Ashley Perkins
“Sometimes I worry that I have poetry in me, the kind that makes you sentimental and sappy and vulnerable.” – Ashley Perkins
“I don’t want someone who doesn’t want me.”
“Secret identities are for people with something to hide.”
About The Author:
Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at jenlarsen.net.