Friday, October 30, 2015

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 Kiera Cass’ 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.

Rating: 1/5 stars

“I didn’t care about freedom. That’s not what I wanted. I just wanted Penn to look at me again under the silver moon while we danced, to take my hand in his and walk me through his magical garden once again.”

Perfected is a story set in a dystopian world where girls are bred to become pets of the high class. At sixteen years old, Ella is sold to a congressman to be the pet and playmate of his younger daughter, Ruby. Despite the promise of a life of comfort and being pampered by their masters, Ella will soon find out that the Pet’s situation is far from ideal and she’ll have to choose between the comfort she has always known and the freedom she never even considered as a possibility.

I started to read “Perfected” because I was granted access to its sequel, “Tarnished” through Netgalley. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the fact that there was another book before it (would it kill people to say “second in a trilogy” in the description??). So I picked up the first one in order to know what I was getting into and, if I’m being honest, had it not been for the fact that I still had that eARC, I would have DNFed this one very early on.

Perfected reminds me of The Selection by Kiera Cass and The Jewel by Amy Ewing in the sense that there are beautiful girls being, well… “selected” to become part of a higher class but nothing else really happens after that. There is no world-building, the characters are underdeveloped and they have no personalities or distinguishable traits, and there is basically no plot.

I still can’t believe how people can write books where nothing happens. You have an interesting premise here, people are bred and raised to be pets and all you do is have her admire dresses and fall in love with a guy she saw from a few feet away?

Ella was bred and raised to be a perfect pet. She’s quiet, obedient and has neither passions nor dreams besides serving her masters. She also has no feelings or opinions which was something that baffled me. Besides commenting on how lovely her dresses are, or that she likes playing the piano, we never really get a feeling from her. Never do we see “I’m happy that this happened this way” or “I’m so excited for this.” Nothing, her feelings are never there, she simply narrates what happens with no opinions or thoughts on her own.

It was not exciting to read from this girl’s point of view, because she didn’t have a point of view. She was not a character or a person, simply a narration that we were somehow supposed to root for.
As a pet, which is nothing but a fancy word for slave, I should want for Ella to be free, to have the chance at making her own decisions, to follow her own path instead of having to obey what other people tell her. They decide from what she looks like to when she’ll die and in the entire novel we never see Ella seeking for freedom, to escape her life as a pet. She’s happy being a slave.
Ella never questions her life until the really hot guy she’s into points it out for her, and even then she only does so because he tells her she should question, be mad and want freedom. But when she actually has a chance to be free all she can think about is going back to her masters because it’s what she’s supposed to do.

Ella’s attitude was constant throughout the entire novel. She has no character development despite all she has gone through, probably because she’s not even a character to begin with.
Needless to say that, as a Main Character she was a disappointment.

The world building simply wasn’t here. Ella doesn’t know anything from outside of the kennels, she was raised to be ignorant and she doesn’t even know how to read. Of course it’s all designed so that the pets won’t question their lives and place in the world, but it doesn’t help with the novel.

How did a law allowing humans to be bred and sold came to be?
How did the world change to let that happen?
What is the time frame by the way?
Why are only girls being bred and not boys?
Why are they sold at the age of sixteen?
Why were they all Caucasian instead of girls from different races?
Why was everybody Caucasian?
What happened to other countries? (This is more like a general question to all YA dystopian books, what happens with the rest of the world? Are we ok?)
Why does gluten-free recipes say it tastes “just like the real thing”? Don’t lie to me.

Ok, I got a bit off topic there. Let’s go back to another subject that bothered me, the romance:

The romance between Ella and Penn wasn’t believable or compelling. Ella sees him staring at her when she arrives and immediately she’s enthralled by him.

"When I finally turned to follow him, I noticed someone else standing in the doorway. I hadn’t seen him before because I’d been so distracted by the congressman’s story about the other pet, but there he was, leaning up against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest, his deep brown eyes staring right at me. I froze, and for a second the world went fuzzy around the edges. The only clear thing was this boy standing in front of me."

The girl had never even met a guy that was less than fifty years old for crying out loud, am I supposed that her being curious about a male near her age is true and undying love?

During the entire novel her body flushes, her face gets red, her heart beats simply by having the guy looking at her. I get that she likes him (even though she doesn’t even exchange a word with him before she’s so super-duper in love with the guy) but I just didn’t care about reading that when there were much more exciting things that we could be exploring and we never do.

Besides, I could never see the love from Penn’s side. He hates her at first (‘cuz it’s sooo romantic to have a guy hating you!!!) because she’s unnatural and yadda, yadda but the second he learns that she likes music he’s madly in love with her?


He seemed to be more into her due to some kind of rebelliousness toward his parents than anything else.

The book ends in a cliff-hanger and, although Ella doesn’t change at all during the entire novel, I’m hoping that she will in the sequel or it’s going to be a very painful read.


  1. I love it when I'm reading a book and I start coming up with so many questions, I want to track down the author and just be all "HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?!"

    And by love it I mean I hate it T_T so frustrating. This one looks...badddd.

    1. Hahahah, I know, right?! I kept waiting for explanations to come but the plot was fully centered on the romance rather than anything else :/

  2. Great review! This book sounds bad, and that first quote you gave literally made me cringe! Romance over Freedom? Sounds like quite the book! And the fact that a boy has to point out that she shouldn't want to be a slave!? What is that!?

    Sorry you had to suffer through this one, but thanks for this review!