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Impulse #2


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Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.
Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never understand.
Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

622 pages, Hardcover

First published September 13, 2011

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About the author

Ellen Hopkins

58 books17.3k followers
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the "only one who understands me", and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,731 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
March 14, 2017
1.5 stars. This book had some really good stuff going for it, which was ruined by some really horrible treatment of rape victims and lgbt people.

The writing style is good, as long as you like Ellen Hopkin’s writing. I happen to find it easy to devour. Usually, her verse style gives good character insight, but I didn’t totally feel that here. Now, the characters themselves were not as much a strength as I usually find they are.

~ Kendra’s character spent 600 pages in the throes of anorexia, and did not develop at all. Sure, people do sometimes not conquer anorexia. But her ending was 1) too open, and 2) her character ended up being kind of a pointless inclusion in this book. What impact does she have on this story? Why is her non-arc there at all?

~ Cara’s character is… hmm. I went in really expecting to love her, and I just… didn’t. She’s supposedly trying to live a perfect life, but I didn’t feel that. I didn’t connect to her on any level, despite the fact that her character’s situation should have felt relatable. Her relationship with Dani is also pretty instalove and I never felt for them.

~ Andre’s character was better. The connection between his character and the others is not well built. Three of them make sense: Cara is dating Sean, who used to be dating Kendra, who used to be dating Cara’s brother. Andre’s connection to the group is that he dates Kendra’s sister for a little while. Andre is very disconnected from the other three characters, which was a bit frustrating. Overall though, I could tolerate this because his arc was compelling and he got a great ending.

~ Sean’s character is just a complete mess, and that’s the main reason this book is getting only two stars. After his girlfriend Cara says she wants to sleep with him, partially to convince herself she's not gay, she realizes that she does not want to and says no at the last second. He then rapes her. She, obviously, freaks out and breaks up with him. He then stalks her, going so far as to peek into a window to watch her have sex with her girlfriend and compare it to pornography. (Yes, she cheated on him, which I do not condone, but that does not even come close to justifying these actions). He then takes photos of them having sex and spreads them around the school, outing her and also putting her in an incredibly horrible position. And Sean did not develop at all. At the end of the book, he is still going to Stanford and has suffered no consequences for being such a shitstain on the face of humanity. He wasn’t even outed about his damn steroid usage. And to be quite honest, his narrative has nothing to do with trying to be perfect. He doesn’t belong in this book and frankly, he deserved to fall off a cliff.

This book also utilizes some minor problematic tropes. For example: the rapist was the representation of mental illness, which I really didn't expect from Hopkins. Jenna (Kendra’s sister) dates Andre to make her racist father angry, and he doesn't mind. How does he not mind? How would anyone not mind that?

Lastly, this book had some issues with biphobia — the exact same issues that Impulse had, and now the You I've Never Known As Well. (More on these two books here and here.) Cara does not once bring up the option of being bi, and her girlfriend immediately calls her a "a full-out dyke" despite the fact she’s still questioning, as well as implying being bi would make her lesser. Again, this is never called out. I am so confused as to how Ellen Hopkins wrote such good bi representation in Tricks, and then proceeded to perpetrate biphobia in so many other series.

I'm not planning on picking up any more of her books after this. I enjoyed two of her books, but given that I've now hated two more, I don't think continuing to read her books is a good decision.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,521 reviews9,019 followers
March 24, 2012
In Perfect Ellen Hopkins tells the story of four teens trying to find their flawless selves. Cara's brother has been committed to a psychiatric hospital after a failed suicide attempt, and she is struggling to deal with their parents' overbearing expectations as well as her sexual identity. Sean utilizes steroids in order to succeed, but does not realize that the risks and the consequences may make his efforts futile. Kendra covets the perfect body, yet cannot see beyond the idea that skinny is beautiful. Andre aspires to be a dancer, although his family disapproves. These four have to fight not only with the external forces raging against them, but also with their internal demons that may be the end of them.

Staying true to her trademark, Hopkins weaves a tale of teens with issues - in this case, anorexia, homosexuality, steroids, and dance - through her pulchritudinous poetry. Her writing was wonderful and seamless, as always, and Hopkins is one of the few young-adult authors who manages to obtain that perfect balance between not enough detail and too much detail - which, considering the subject matter, is quite an accomplishment.

Like most of her characters, the protagonists of Perfect are flawed but relatable. Cara's strength and resolve made her my favorite, but I saw a little bit of myself in every character - even, to a small extent, Sean. Hopkins included cameos from the characters of Impulse smoothly, and the intertwining of the two tales by the end of the book was genius.

I vacillated between 4.5 and five stars for this one, mainly because I felt that some of the characters' story lines could have been resolved more deftly. However, I then remembered Hopkins' message conveyed through the characters and their journeys: that perfection itself is not a real thing, because it is entirely subjective and everyone has different opinions on what is and what is not perfect. While a couple of the characters in this book were left with far from perfect endings, that's just how life is. Hopkins has done a praiseworthy deed by writing this book, and I hope many teens who are plagued with these problems will reach the conclusion that there is no need to be perfect - and that, in the end, being who you are is perfect enough.

*review cross-posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Sammi.
211 reviews
October 24, 2011
I've read enough Ellen Hopkins books to have an idea of her average character. Addicted to something, self-destructive, beautiful, liable to fall in love over the course of the book. And at the beginning of Perfect I thought that was exactly what I got. It followed the structure perfectly; multiple intertwined lives meshing to prove the same point. It's the point that made on the very first page: perfect is an illusion.

I guess I was a bit disappointed.

There was alcoholism and pill-popping and steroids and anorexia. There was love and lust and unhealthy obsession. It wasn't until the end pulled it all together with a final note of tragedy that I fell in love with this book. Paired with Impulse it highlights the subtle difference between what one will suffer through, and what one will die for.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,969 followers
August 7, 2015

I didn't like this book as much as I did the first one, Impulse, but it's still pretty good.

You have Cara who is Conner from the first books sister. Then there is Sean, Cara's boyfriend, Andre a new character, and Kendra who used to date Conner before he dumped her.

So the story focuses on these four. There are some other characters that are involved in their stories but it's all about them from each of their perspectives.

Cara has trouble with her parents the same as Connor. She's not sure she wants to be with Sean any more and she finds out many different things about herself in her journey. She also ends up getting bullied because of it and stalked.

Sean is a sports fanatic that has to workout constantly and be the best or better than he can be, all of this leads him to things he should never do.

Andre is just a normal guy that wants to be a dancer, but can't tell this to his parents. They already think he is gay because he wants to go to art school for goodness sake. He keeps his secret from them because they want him to be some big star in other areas.

Kendra and her mom want her to be perfect. She's constantly working out, not eating much and having cosmetic surgery to try to be the best in these beauty pageants. She has a sister too that has problems with medications who dates Andre for a little bit of time.

All of these characters go through some heart wrenching things in the book, I would say some more than others. I can't say what because that would give out some spoilers.

The end of the book brings the first book to a close and it's all so very sad and tragic.

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Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews934 followers
January 16, 2020
I really enjoyed this book! Ellen Hopkins always does such a great job at writing about difficult topics. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars, is that sometimes I would get the characters confused. I had a hard time telling all the girls apart and how everyone was connected to each other.

"Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.
Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never understand.
Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect? "
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,932 reviews438 followers
July 10, 2020
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins must be read before 'Perfect' since 'Impulse' sets up to some degree in a sideways fashion what happens in 'Perfect'. In 'Impulse' seventeen-year-old teens are getting psychiatric care because they tried to kill themselves. Three teens in the previous book, the main characters in therapy, talk about their parents and other overwhelming issues which brought them to Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital in Nevada. The novel 'Perfect' follows up on some of the issues in 'Impulse' by tracking the middle-class twin sister of one of the hospital's inmates, adding insight to how dysfunctional parents or their unrealistic expectations can crack their kids minds like raw eggs. Entertainingly, of course, even while very enlightening. I KNEW kids like the ones in this book!

Cara is dealing with the same emotional issues that brought her twin brother Conner to thoughts of suicide, but she still is pushing through her loneliness and feelings of not being good enough. She is on track to being accepted by Stanford if she continues to earn top grades at school and excel at extracurricular activities which are showing her to be a standout student. But what she really wants is her parents' approval. Her cold withholding mother, especially, is forever telling her to be even better - to be perfect. She isn't sure if she can keep herself together enough in being perfect, especially since she notices herself looking at girls more than boys.

Sean loves Cara, the school's most perfect girl. He feels she also adds to his value as the school's top athlete. However, he is fearful he is not a strong enough athlete to qualify for an elite college despite workouts and team sports. He knows someone who knows someone who sells illegal steroids to bulk up on muscle. If he can make his muscles bigger he will be perfect.

Kendra misses Connor even though he broke off their relationship before he ended up at Aspen Springs. She wants to be a model. Everything she does to herself is to be thinner and thinner. She diets and works out constantly. She has scheduled an appointment to have her nose reshaped. But somehow she can't seem to get thin enough despite her near starvation diet and physical activities. Maybe a pill to stop her remaining appetites? She will be perfect if she can squeeze her 70 inches of her slender body frame into a size two dress.

Andre has a few issues with his parents' expectations, but he has a plan which involves going behind their backs. He is dating Jenna, Kendra's sister, who he likes being with so much. But why is Jenna becoming more and more the wild party girl? Her clothes are simply scraps barely covering her body, and she appears to be drinking more and more. Does she really like him? Or is she using him to enrage her racist father? His own father wants him to go into business, but he wants to be a dancer. Going into business would make him perfect to his dad.

The book is truly realistic in describing a lot of dysfunctions some teens begin to have due to various social and parental pressures. Some of the pressures are there because of multiple issues caused by parents - divorces, not much affection or only conditional love or approval, physical abuse. These particular teens in the books act out in different ways. However, some are able to recover either because they have basically decent parents or they find a support person, like a good friend. Others crash and burn, unable to pull themselves out of their spirals of self-destruction.

I thought the book topical and illustrative. Readers learn about the emotional mechanics of revenge sexting and self-destructive partying, what effect a parental emphasis on kids giving a successful public show of a perfect (per)form(ance) over any real personal substance, modern school and peer pressures, and how social mores and markers of personal superiority by beauty and athleticism can royally f*kc up people. Modern family dysfunctions are amplified by the presence in most teens of naturally occurring angsty insecurities.

The book can be an emotional validation and a navigational roadmap for teens and adults. For me, it was a revealing look at realistic family dramas from the viewpoint of teenagers. I think it is a good series, if not for some sensitive folks. It is all in free verse.
Profile Image for Jessica.
636 reviews25 followers
July 24, 2019
Thanks for tearing out my heart, throwing it on the ground and stomping on it with both feet.
I appreciate that..
Profile Image for Jay G.
1,286 reviews460 followers
May 11, 2017
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...

Cara's parents are controlling which led to her twin brother Conner trying to commit suicide. When she discovers something about herself, she doesn't know how she can be who her parents want her to be. Kendra wants to be a runway model, but how far will she go to achieve that goal? Sean wants to play baseball for Stanford and live a happy life with Cara and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Andre has a dream, but is afraid his parents won't approve. Four teenagers. Four different perspectives on what perfection means to them.

I really enjoyed this book! I find Ellen Hopkins writing to be both beautiful and dark at the same time. I love the verse style of writing and find her books so easy to read, I devour them every time. I really liked how Hopkins tied the characters from Impulse into Perfect and how the end of the book wrapped up perfectly with the ending of Impulse. I liked Cara and how she eventually came to terms with who she is. I hate Sean and he can go away and never come back. Kendra just made me sad and I wanted to hug her. I hate not knowing what happened with her character, her story arc seemed unfinished to me. Andre was by far my favourite character and I felt so bad for the way Jenna used him.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,347 reviews343 followers
February 24, 2014
Well, this was a big improvement over Impulse for me. I do think that Hopkins's writing has steadily improved over the course of her writing, a little better with each book. The thread that tied all of these stories together is a little thinner than in some of her other books, but certainly closer than in Tilt. The one thing all four of her viewpoint characters have in common is that they're being pressured to be perfect, by their parents, by themselves, or both. We have two guys and two girls, Cara, Sean, Kendra, and Andre.

I wasn't surprised to find myself most riveted by Cara and Kendra. Cara is the one that I have the most hope for. Watching her break out of the shell her parents (especially her mother) have built for her was really nice to see, and I liked her romance with Dani. Kendra's story was sort of like watching a car crash in slow motion. And I think the worst of it was that the crash isn't over at the end of the book. Kendra hasn't entirely faced that she has an eating disorder, and neither has her family. And she hasn't yet realized that her new agent is taking advantage of her. I wish at least some of this had happened in the book, even if the dust hadn't entirely settled. I just hated putting the book down with Kendra still where she was. Cara isn't optimistic about her future, and neither am I, but I still would have liked to have a better idea.

Sean's narration could be tough to read, because we're watching him on a serious downward spiral. Andre, though... Well, I liked him, and I could understand him. But his story was less about him and more about his relationship with Jenna, Kendra's self-destructive sister. And I didn't at all enjoy watching Jenna implode. Still, I can't really complain about their voices, or the believability of their stories. I just didn't really care for following them.

This isn't the best thing that Hopkins has ever put out. But it is an improvement over Impulse, and it's a good sequel to that book. I get the feeling that there could be yet another book in this series, and I don't know how I feel about that. Maybe if Hopkins would stick to fewer viewpoints, it would be easier for her to finish out a story in one book.
Profile Image for Alex Black.
688 reviews49 followers
May 25, 2015
I couldn't get past the blatant victim blaming and that happened to Jenna's character. I had high hopes for this book because I loved some of Ellen Hopkins's other works, but how Jenna's character was treated made me physically ill. I had to pause for several minutes after Andre visited her in the hospital because it was too much. I couldn't believe how everyone just shrugged it off as she got what was coming to her, especially considering how much of an activist Ellen Hopkins is. Not a book I would recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Melissa See.
Author 2 books103 followers
September 26, 2011
Oh my God. As of right now, there are no words to describe how much I loved this. And I doubt there ever will be. Thank you, Ellen Hopkins. Thank you.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,144 reviews593 followers
April 15, 2018
So before reading this book I hadn’t read anything by Ellen Hopkins. I probably never would have, because from what I’d heard her books sounded pretty heavy (heavy as in emotionally heavy), and I don’t tend to pick up heavy books for fun because, well, they’re called “heavy books” for a reason.

I joined my schools book club, and someone picked this book for December (whose idea was this?). I figured no harm in at least trying an Ellen Hopkins book. They're pretty popular after all.

Now that I’ve finished it, I’m not really sure what my reaction is. The only thing I can think to say is “jeez”.

This book was in a way exactly what I was expecting while also completely shocking me. I’m going for a 3.5 rating, because while I didn't have anything I necessarily disliked about this book, I wouldn't say I enjoyed it.

Ellen Hopkins has a very distinct and unique approach to writing. Basically it’s to make up characters and then put them in the worst possible situations you can think of, and do everything you can to make it get even worse from there.

I mean, it works if that’s what you want to read, but does anyone really enjoy that?

There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved. Ellen Hopkins has a way with words that is just breathtaking, but sometimes I though the plot just went too far.

At the beginning of the book I thought it was an emotional read, punching me right in the feels, but I think that after a while it just went over the top. Things can only get so bad until it just feels absurd and I can’t relate to the characters anymore.

I found the characters interesting, but never quite liked any of them.

As far as Cara goes, I found her cold attitude toward her twin brother rather shocking. Sure, I didn’t have the background of reading the companion novel first but I’m not really sure how I felt about Cara. I never disliked her, but I never really related to her either. I did find her chapters more interesting than the others.

Kendra was probably my favorite. I did feel like I really understood what she was going through at the beginning, but as the story progressed my sympathy turned to horror. I wish we could have gotten some resolution to her story.

Sean was absolutely horrible. I’m not sure if I was supposed to sympathize with him, but I honestly was creeped out by him from the second he entered the story. He was truly an awful human being, but by the end I really didn’t want to read anything from his POV.

Don’t have much to say on Andre. He was okay, I guess. So-so plotline, probably had the best outcome.

And that ending… Jesus Christ. I hadn’t read the companion novel, so I had no idea any of that was going to happen. I definitely wished I’d read it first because I think I would have felt a much harder emotional impact. No to say I wasn’t affected, because I majorly teared up, so I imagine there would have been some full on sobbing had I read Impulse. I mean that was some heavy shit… Guessing Ellen Hopkins isn’t much for happy endings.

Trigger Warning For: rape, sex, suicide, abuse, drug use, alcohol use, steroid use, pretty much any other bad situation you can think of… See what I mean when I say there’s such a thing as taking it too far?

I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to tell from my review if this is book you’ll be able to handle. I think I’ll pick up Impulse because I would like to see what progressed to that ending, but other than that I think Ellen Hopkins books are going to be a little too much for me.
Profile Image for Rhyanne.
5 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2012
Rhyanne Lynch
January 23, 2012
Period 2
“Perfect” Review
Sex. Sexuality. Deprivation. Desperation. Abuse. Abandonment. The pursute of complete and udder perfection is a very messy one with many turns and tricks. Hopkins positively describes the true emotions and feelings of confused individuals and explaining perfect as an expectation you hold to yourself, not one someone holds for you. The saying “Went looking for perfection, got lost.” comes to mind when reading Ellen Hopkins enthralling book, “Perfect”. in her book, Hopkins does a great job of explaining the thought process of a confused, unappreciated teenager.

Many people go searching for perfection, and in that frantic search completely loose themselves. This happens to be the case for Kendra, who’s light blond hair and crystal blue eyes have gotten her everywhere she’s wanted to go, so far. Competing in beauty pageants since she was a little girl, she has always been aware of the way she looks; but her mirror no longer suits her expectations. Too fat at 5”10 and 120 pounds, Kendra is constantly dieting (a.k.a not eating).

Cara to all of her friends at school, is the popular “it” girl. With a great body, pretty face, and hot boyfriend, you would think she had everything. But she would argue she has the exact opposite. Never really understanding what love is has frusturated her her entire life- having a boyfriend who “loves you” can only mean so much to a girl who was raised by a mother who never even smiled in her direction; a cold woman with no compassion for anyone, only selfishness. As if these challenges aren’t enough for one girl to handle, Cara is faced with another when meeting an amazing girl and begins to question her sexual preferences.

Sean has got it all- a pretty girlfriend, Cara, who he loves, nice guardians, and since starting steroids, an awesome bod. But without realizing, Sean’s life had actually begun to spiral. Cara was distant and hanging out with a girl more than him, his uncle kept saying he was worried about him, and he began needing more and more steroids to keep up with his expectations.

Andre, an extremely wealthy black guy, has the whole world going for him. Connections to all colleges, creativity, smarts, and experienced. But what he really wants in life is to not be a banker, or a doctor, politician, or a broker, but an artist. Andre must decide whether to follow his dreams and face his parents, or do as he’s been told.

Though none of these teenagers had very similar lives, they all learned important life lessons in what the true definition of perfect is- perfect through their own eyes and no one else’s.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
364 reviews105 followers
February 19, 2016
I've read almost all of Ellen Hopkins' books besides Fallout, I think. I absoloutley adore them. She is one of my favorite authors. I love how she writes, it's so artistic and beautiful. She really makes you connect to her characters, and I love how she normally always has more than one main character to follow, and you can always at least relate to one.

I expected this book to be AMAZING, and I even bought it the day it came out. I've been waiting for it to come out, and I'm not gonna lie, I was really quite disappointed. I thought it would be so relatable because I'm very self conscious, and I thought that I would for sure relate to some of the characters, if not all of them. I did relate to some of them, but I never felt THAT connected to them. I feel like a couple of them are just randomly placed in there just so that she had more to write about and to make the book longer.

Just because this book wasn't one of my favorites of hers, I still love her, and she will always be one of my favorite authors (especially after Identical and Tricks). I just wasn't as impressed with this book as I thought I would be. And if anything, the end kind of confused me... I'm gonna have to ask my friend who has read it about the end, because it didn't feel like everything came together, like most of Ellen Hopkins' books do at the end. I give Perfect 2/5 stars, and maybe if I ever read it again, everything might come together better and I might enjoy it better.
Profile Image for Spencer.
291 reviews60 followers
May 21, 2015
Without a doubt, Perfect is my new favorite book.

Perfect tells the story about four teens: Cara, whose parents demand that she be perfect in everything she does, and her parents' drive for perfection have already landed her brother in Aspen Springs, after he tried to commit suicide. Kendra, who desperately wants to model, and she wants the perfect model body, no matter how many pills and plastic surgeries she needs to get her there. Sean, who is obsessed with having muscles on top of muscles. He uses steroids to try to make him get as strong as he can be. Then we have Andre, who wants to be a dancer and follow his dreams, but his parents won't let him.

This book follows around the time of Impulse with different point of views but it ends in the same way. Also, I knew the ending, but I still sobbed at the ending. I never really cry in books, didn't cry in The Fault in Our Stars or Allegiant, but this book and all other Ellen Hopkins books, I sobbed. It was perfect.

This book was incredibly relatable, and it shows what people will do for perfection and the stress of being perfect that teenagers go through. It was one of the most amazing books that I've ever read, and I recommend that everyone read it.
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,526 reviews
February 4, 2013
I've been waiting to read this book for a year ever since I read Impulse, and now that I've finished all I can say is Oh my gosh! I can't even explain all the emotions I'm going through after reading this book; and since I'm not very good at making reviews, I'll make this short and sweet.

Obviously, it was beautiful. The novel talks about how individuals (particularly teenagers) are so focused on achieving perfect standards that are superficial and unrealistic that they lose their identity in the process because the price is too extreme. They're not content with themselves and struggle for improvements that only lead to misery and regret.

Let's start with Cara. I was a little disappointed by the fact that Cara turned about to be a lesbian (although I can't say I hadn't thought of that conclusion from the beginning), I thought she'd eventually become the perfect child Conner hadn't been. But with parents like hers I probably would've developed a problem or two.

Then there's Kendra. She had family problems, Conner broke her heart, and she had low self-esteem. For me it was really painful to read about her distorted perception of her body; among all the characters she was the one who needed help the most. I don't even know if she did get over her anorexia or not because her ending was quite vague. It's just so sad because what she went through is really happening in reality and so many beautiful girls (and boys) are starving themselves to reach an ideal that makes them feel good about being unhealthy. A hundred years ago, plump girls were considered beautiful because their bodies presented health and wellness. But nowadays the media bombards us with ideas that look down on voluptuous bodies and gives praise to rail-thin models. It's just so sad...

Now we go on to Sean. I hated the fact that he couldn't handle the break-up, but I did feel sorry for him knowing that he lost his prime motivation for performing well. But his ending was good because he came to a realization that a person shouldn't put all his heart and energy in just one human being when he doesn't have enough to fuel his self-love. If you want to be loved for who you are, you have to love yourself first. Because no one on this earth (except God) will be able to accept you and understand you but yourself.

And lastly, there's Andre. His problem was his lack of ambition and initiative. He didn't have the courage to stand up for what he loved (dance), and he didn't know how to help his beloved Jenna. I got bored at times when it was his turn to narrate because he didn't have that much of a problem. But in the end he too got his happy ending. It required sacrifice and encourage but it all worked out for him in the end.

Well that's the end, I'm sure I'll be re-reading this novel for many years to come. :)

4 reviews2 followers
April 26, 2012
Whether its getting good grades in school, getting the girl or guy, or if its just meeting expectations, we all strive to be perfect. Ellen Hopkins best selling book “Perfect” tells about four strangers aim to be perfect sets them into a downward spiral.

Ellen Hopkins, a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse, draws in her readers by her style of writing and presenting powerful themes of lost love, betrayal, fear of failure, temptation, pride and downfall.

“Perfect” tells the dramatic story of four seniors who have to face everything life has, even the kitchen sink. Cara Sykes is the daughter of the top two graduates at Princeton and the twin sister of Conner Sykes, who not only has a fetish for women twice his age but is suicidal. Now Cara must give in to her downfalls, heartbreak, and the journey to finding herself.
Kendra Matheson is the pretty girl who wants a little more and a little less. She wants more fame, more attention, and more Conner Sykes. She wants less stomach, less thighs, and less nose. Throughout the whole book it is evident that Kendra, in my opinion, is the one with the most insecurities.
Sean Terrence is the star baseball player at school and has muscles bigger than a gorilla on steroids. Which is ironic due to the fact Sean does take steroids, anything to be on top. Sean has to have a plan for everything, and lately his plans have been revolving around his girlfriend, Cara Sykes. Sean must figure out if his life with Cara is worth losing her and his dreams.

Andre Markus is, how his lady friends may say, the bomb. He is the son of two credible plastic surgeons and his future is heading in that same directions. But not on his will, Andre wants to be a dancer. His future is all about rebelling against his parents and doing his own thing. Until he meets Jenna Matheson, Kendras busty sister. Andre has to make the decision of if having an alcoholic lustful girlfriend is better than his own happiness.

This book is an insight to all the aspects of life and how people cope with their aim at being perfect. We all have our little temptations that make us want to be perfect. But ultimately only you can decide what’s perfect.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,212 followers
October 27, 2011
Of the Hopkins books I've read, this one is her weakest. The idea of perfection actually gets lost in a smorgasbord of other issues, especially at the end when the catalyst for all of the characters waking up comes through a character who never got caught up in this very issue (I realize that statement is debatable but since we never see Conner on page, I won't buy it).

The other issue I have with this one is that verse novels are hard. Hopkins is, however, a master. There is no question she can spin verse novels better than almost anyone else doing them. However, when more than a couple of characters are brought into a story line, it's tough to give them their own voice within a verse novel, and Perfect suffers from this. I am not convinced any of the characters had a voice, but rather, they were differentiated via their problems. Take out the sexting, the prescription abuse, the eating disorders, etc., and you're left with 5 characters who all sound exactly the same. That is the weakness with the verse here. It stands as the character when the characters needed to stand for themselves.

Profile Image for Thomas.
126 reviews12 followers
July 5, 2015



This book takes place during the events of impulse (the 1st book in the duology) and is from Cara's POV (Connor's sister) & 3 of her "friends".

While Impulse concentrated on suicide & the meaning of life etc, Perfect is all about Perfection and what it is to achieve "perfect".
But this book is so powerful! It deals with sexuality, substance abuse e.g. drugs & alcohol, body image, eating disorders, relationships, abuse, rape, parental & sibling relationships, death & bereavement, racism, sexism & so so so much more!

The characters are all so different, in various & numerous ways. All with their own strengths & flaws. Every character has so much backstory & complexity to why they are how they are!

The writing is beyond beautiful! The free verse style adds so much more emotion & subtext to every line, it's captivating!

This series has made realistic fiction one of my favourite genres!

I honestly love this duology so much!

I can't recommend it enough!

If you want something that'll really make you think & question, pick this series up!
Profile Image for David.
108 reviews11 followers
December 30, 2014
At first, I wasn't liking this one as much as the first one, but then I realized that I relate to this one more than the first one. This writing is so beautiful, it's like nothing I've read before. Ellen Hopkins has that unique style that makes you want to keep reading. I read this in a day, just like the first book of this series. It was great to see how Cara was dealing with life while Conner was in Aspen Springs. All of these characters really discovered theirselves and it was great. The ending of this though broke my heart. Loved this book though!
Profile Image for Mara.
303 reviews6 followers
November 23, 2022
this was so beautifully written I think it's important to know how society was in the early 2000s/2010s. it hurts me knowing that everyone in this books was hurting in all different reasons but society pushed and said they were "crazy/overreacting". today's society is I feel much better from what it used to be at least in the general sense. I'm glad we all know that mental health is very important and we take Ed's very important as well. Ellen Hopkins knows how to make you grieve with the characters and I'm so glad she does. <3
Profile Image for Natasha.
104 reviews139 followers
January 29, 2015
I listened to this on audiobook, and it was cool to hear 4 separate voices paired up with the characters. Each person had a painful story to tell, and even the supporting characters had pasts that hurt to hear about. The main theme though of striving for perfection, pleasing other people over yourself, not being good enough, etc., really hit home and I feel most people will have an emotional connection to it in some way.
Profile Image for Rebecca K. 8b.
4 reviews18 followers
October 24, 2017
This book is defiantly for more mature readers. I really liked this book because I can tell the author isn't afraid to bring up certain topics that most authors are afraid to bring up in there books. Things like suicide, depression, and anxiety. This book defiantly brings up those and many other things people deal with as daily struggles because of our society and that's what I like about it so much. This book doesn't hold back at all and shows you the truths of how this world turns and it defiantly gets you thinking as a reader. I would say it is defiantly and emotional puncher and really connects to the readers. I also really love how this book was written and see my self reading so many more books by Ellen Hopkins in the near future.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,890 reviews12 followers
November 11, 2022
Many trigger warning for this book: suicide, rape, substance abuse and eating disorders are the afflictions of the teens in this book. While there is a story this feels more like shock values as we don’t know if and how they overcome and become decent adults.

How did this book find me? This book was challenged at the Seaman School District in Topeka, KS on September 27, 2022. This is a week after the American Library Association's Banned Book Week. Perfect did remain on the shelves at Seaman High School. I am a believer that we should read those books that are banned and/or challenged nationwide, but especially in your community.
Profile Image for Angel (Bookn.All.Night).
1,480 reviews31 followers
July 24, 2021
I devoured this one...I really enjoy this author's writing in prose. It makes for a beautiful, thought-provoking yet devastating read.

Delving into the minds of teens is no easy feat and this author does such a great job showcasing all the crazed emotions, fears, inadequacies and desires to be perfect that teens deal with.
Profile Image for Suzi Evelyn.
244 reviews45 followers
December 19, 2021
3.5 stars

i think i enjoyed it more than impulse but it really could’ve benefited from more depth
5 reviews
October 30, 2020
Such an amazing message. A must read for all teens as part of school curriculum.
Profile Image for Anna.
15 reviews
September 14, 2011
First, a word: I am not in any way suggesting that this will be an unbiased review. I have been a huge Ellen Hopkins fan ever since I read Crank in fifth grade, and I have been waiting since Christmas for this to come out. I loved Impulse, and I pored over the sneak preview of this book in the back of Identical too many times to count.
I read it as soon as I brought it out of the bookstore (taking time, of course, to admire what I believe to be her best cover yet). By the time I had read the first chapter (chapter being cycle of all four characters narrating), I knew I would not be disappointed. Initially, I had been most excited about Kendra, but as the story progressed, I started anxiously tearing through just to get to Cara's chapters. I also became more and more interested in Sean's story—admittedly because it was tied in with Cara's so much. Andre, despite being different than I expected, simply didn't interest me. There was a lot of detail about Jenna, not so much about him.
Some of my favorite things about the story were the crossover scenes. I loved peeking back into the world of Impulse. I also—naturally—loved Cara's and Dani's romance. I was so glad to see another lesbian character, I overlooked some of the unrealistic parts. For example, how quickly they became involved. I was a little bothered by this scene: Cara falls into a snowbank, Dani helps her out, Cara feels attraction to Dani, they go on a ski lift together, Cara somehow guesses that Dani is a lesbian, they make out. Seems a bit unrealistic, considering it all happened in the space of a half hour or so.
Another thing that bothered me was how much the story focused on Cara. I didn't mind, because I was so fascinated by her story, but by the whole photo-fiasco, she was the main topic. This may be because I was up so late finishing it, but it seems like Sean's, Kendra's, and Andre's stories sort of petered out. There was a definite lean toward Cara as the main character. Kendra was, at least in the end, a vapid, shallow ninny, and I'm not exactly sure what Andre was. And Sean. Is it just me, or did even the author hate him? There just wasn't enough justification—however biased—from him to make me see his side. Maybe that was just because I liked Cara so much, but I think that was sort of neglected.
Despite its flaws, I loved Perfect too much to give it any less than a full five-star rating. I'm already reading it again.


Beginning: A
Middle: A+
End: B

Cara: A+
Kendra: A-
Sean: C+ (she made it hard to sympathize with him in the end)
Andre: B+

Overall Grade: A-
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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