Perfect on Paper is a delight contemporary novel of a young bisexual girl who runs a love advice locker. One day she gets caught by one of the school’s popular kids, and he wants to hire her to help him get his ex-girlfriend back.
While I am not usually a big contemporary fan, this novel’s premise was intriguing, and it had me hooked since chapter one. Darcy is such a relatable character, and the story arc was a true “finding oneself”. It’s tough to find stories with a character that genuinely works to improve as a human rather than giving a string of apologies and excuses for their actions.
Throughout the whole novel, Darcy goes out of her way to help strangers, especially the sorta handsome Australian student who hired her for her love advice services. Most contemporary do not explore family dynamics in a teenager’s life, but Perfect on Paper was that golden child that actually did this. We watch Darcy interact with her sister, mother and father and further her relationships with them throughout the novel. The heart-to-heart she had with her mother after certain events happened, and Darcy asked her mother to be more present in her life and issues, was so powerful. The mother acknowledged this and worked towards being more attentive and being available to her daughter when in moments of need. We need more parent relationships like this, please!
This novel also explores the bisexual experience and erasure they feel when they are in an m/f relationship which I have never seen before in a book. Darcy coming to terms that being in a relationship with a boy did not erase her queerness was so beautiful, and I hope other bi people can find themselves in Darcy there.
However, my favourite part of the novel was that the story was never about Darcy falling in love; it was her relationships with different women in her life and how they are just as important (if not more) than a romantic one. Nothing ever felt forced, not even the romance. It truly felt like a regular girl living her life while learning more, not just about herself but the people she cares about. It was truly magical.
Honestly, I could go on and on about this book is fantastic, but I feel I might spoil it.
If you loved To All The Boys I Ever Loved and Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda, then you will really love Perfect on Paper. It was smart, it was funny, and it was wholesome. What else can you ask from a YA contemporary novel?
I really think we need more contemporary books that focus on all types of relationships rather than just romantic ones.
This book was provided to me by Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 09 March 2021
RRP: $17.99 AUD
Personal Rating: 4.5/5