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Radiant Shadows


Perfect - Ellen Hopkins As always, Ellen Hopkins is able to blow me away with her stunningly beautiful prose. I don't think I could ever actually dislike a book by her, as they're so elegantly written. Never read an Ellen Hopkins book before? Then you are in for a treat with this sample:Sensuous. Dangerous.Deadly venomous. AndI'mthe snake charmer whosnaps out of a tranceto find the serpenthas tricked him intotumblingunder her spell.Just beautiful.Now, having sufficiently gushed over how much I enjoy Perfect's prose, I do have to say that this is not my favourite Ellen Hopkin's book. The book is divided into 4 characters, and we flip between each of them as narrators. Both male characters' stories (Sean and Andre) were a little uneventful, and I didn't really see the pressure for Perfection that the female characters seemed to be under. Sean had a fully supportive Uncle, who he pushed away because he didn't want to feel like he was replacing his father. He put the pressure on himself, and I didn't ever fully understand why. Andre admittedly came from a loving home, with a father who had pursued his dreams contrary to his father's wishes, so I didn't understand Andre's hesitance to do the same. Kendra had all the pressure of a pageant mom, and so I completely understood why she felt the need to have plastic surgery at 17 and how she developed an eating disorder, but I also felt her story was so stereotypical of a wannabe model, that it was almost a little cliche. I really would have liked to hear more from Cara and witnessed more of her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. Instead I felt like a lot of her character building moments were slightly glazed over and rushed, leaving me feeling pretty unsatisfied with her development. And why wasn't Jenna a narrator?! Talk about an interesting character who left me wondering as to what had happened in her past to make her so unstable. I can't say I was too unhappy with the ending either. There are a lot of loose ends that did not get tied up, which has me thinking that another instalment must be on its way. (I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum here) By the end: the only person who seems to have come to terms with being unable to achieve someone else's definition of perfection is Cara; Kendra's anorexia is barely acknowledged, let alone dealt with, and there's also the issue of what's going to happen to her career, now that she has compromised both her body and values to get what she wanted; Sean keeps saying he will stop taking steroids, but the voice he started talking to hasn't been silenced; will Andre go to the second audition? Or will he back out of talking to his parents about his dreams of being a dancer?; and what's going to happen with Jenna? Will being in the hospital force her to deal with her alcoholism? All questions left unanswered, which I'm not used to from Ellen Hopkins. Usually by the end, the stories have been (mostly) neatly tied up and there's a huge twist that leaves me breathless. Not so much in Perfect.That being said, I devoured this book, which counts for something in my books. Putting aside my issues with her character choices (again, how did Jenna not score a main role?!) and the rather uneventful ending, I really enjoyed Perfect - but more so for her elegant prose then for the actual story. I don't feel like a 3 is sufficient, so I'm giving Perfect a 4...but just barely.Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows