Published by Harper Teen on 17 February 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Family, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Also by this author: Maybe One Day
Place(s) Traveled To: Milltown, New York // New York, New York
First Line(s): “I’m going to miss you.”
When I read Melissa Kantor’s debut novel, Maybe One Day (my review), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it considering one of its main themes was one that I don’t like to read about much. Cancer. So it was with high hopes that I picked up her sophomore title, Better Than Perfect. I was hopeful for some of the same magic and story of friendship that Kantor captured in Maybe One Day along with a fun romance and a story that would just give me all the happy feels. Sadly, Better Than Perfect didn’t live up to my expectations and I hated that it included another trope that I don’t care for all that much, cheating. Throughout most of the story Juliet has a boyfriend and for the first portion he is away in France with his family.
During that time she meets Declan, a musician from England who recently moved to town, and they hit it off and hook up. While Juliet’s boyfriend is a bit of a dickhead and she’s better off without him I don’t like that she hooks up and leads on someone else while dealing with her issues. Issues of which she has plenty all while she trys to maintain an outward appearance of perfection even as her entire world is falling apart. For me, Juliet was a really hard character to like and I didn’t care for the fact that the bulk of this book was told through her inner monologue. I am a dialogue girl at heart and I think that if she’d had more conversations with people then maybe I would have liked this one a little better because there would have been a little less of her and more of others to break things up a bit. I just found Juliet to be selfish and superficial and I really don’t know what Declan saw in her as she never showed her real self to anyone.
Better Than Perfect was a quick(ish) read and it was well paced and written but it just didn’t have the same magic for me as Kantor’s debut. I missed the easy friendship that the characters in that book had and just thought that Juliet was too stiff and standoffish to really get to know. Even though we spent the entire book in her head it still didn’t feel as though we ever got to know the real her. She was still just the girl that she thought others wanted her to be. In all honesty, I don’t know what Declan saw in Juliet and I often felt bad for him because of how Juliet treated him. I get that she was going through some things but that didn’t mean that she had the right to jerk the poor boy around.
I am still a fan of Melissa Kantor and plan on reading her next book as I enjoy her writing style. There were just things about this one that I just didn’t care for and it kept me from fully enjoying the story. Overall though I do like Kantor’s world building and her writing as well as most of her characters. I wish that I had liked this one more as I do think that parts of it were better written than Maybe One Day and if it wasn’t for Juliet and the cheating than I may have liked this one a little more as well.
Add Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell to Goodreads (review coming soon)