11 July 2014

Tour Stop (Review): Perfected - Kate Jarvik Birch

Perfected - Kate Jarvik Birch
Release Date: 07/01/14
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.

Ella is perfect; trained to be poised and elegant, to speak politely, to behave impeccably and to look stunning at all times. She is the perfect pet until one day she realises that she wants things she is not allowed to have.

Let's start with the characters. For a fairly short book, all of the main characters were extremely well-developed. I simply adored Ruby, and loved how the perceptions of characters like the congressman, his wife and Penn changed over time. Ella and Penn were both drawn beautifully with rounded ideals, loves, hates and dreams that neither of them were meant to have. This is truly a story about embracing every part of you and being happy in your flaws, but it is also a story about going out and getting what you want, no matter what others might say or think. Ella could have easily been a Mary-Sue, but thank God for her incredible naivety to begin with, then her confusion and indecision later in the book.

The themes running through this book are really interesting, and they were the ideas that made me want to host this tour in the first place; cloning and possession of humans. It is strange to think that others could think less of someone due to their status as a clone, as if they aren't real people. Of course they are! Aren't twins technically clones? As a twin myself, I can honestly say that I do not feel as if I have half of me missing; I am as much a whole as the next person. Anyway, the possession aspect really makes you think. Once upon a time animals were wild too, and we tamed them, interbred them and owned them. Is this a barbaric practice? It feels like it is barbaric to own another human being; it brings back thoughts of slavery and makes you remember that not everyone does have freedom. It is nice to see someone addressing these ideas in a western setting, because many westerners do not realise that slavery is something that still goes on today. Trafficking, the sex trade, forced marriage, child labour and bonded labour are all modern forms of slavery that still need to be abolished.

There were a few flaws within this read, the largest one being that some of the plot twists were very obvious. I found that I knew why the previous pet left the house pretty much as soon as the first hint was read, very near the beginning of the book, and this was only confirmed at the end. Maybe to a YA reader, this may not be so obvious, though, and if anything it reinforces Ellas naivety.

An engrossing read about forbidden love and ownership with a truly heartbreaking ending, putting me in mind of Wither and The Handmaid's Tale. If there is a second book, I will definitely be keeping an eye out!

Author Bio:
Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit www.katejarvikbirch.com

Author Links: http://www.katejarvikbirch.com/ 

Thank you to Entangled Teen, Kate Jarvik Birch and YA Bound Book Tours for this opportunity.

Perfected Blog Tour
Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours