The premise for this book sounded like The DUFF, which I thought was one of the most reprehensible books ever written for a YA female audience. But Huntley Fitzpatrick plugged Faking Perfect, and I adored My Life Next Door, so the worst that could happen was I would end up writing a rant about it. There were some similarities, but Faking Perfect is by far the superior book. It manages to be edgy and honest without sending the wrong message to teens about sexuality. I thought it was really quite good, and if you enjoy contemporary YA fiction, I think you will, too.
“Edgy and honest, Faking Perfect is the real thing.” –Huntley Fitzpatrick
When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High’s resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:
1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.
Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?
I really liked how this book portrayed the internal and external conflicts that Lexi faces. She felt like an honest-to-goodness teenager with real grey areas in her thoughts and behaviors. Themes focused on love in all forms and had real things to say about expectations and fears that are attached to those relationships. It had positive messages about the ability to change but also presented the truth that sometimes people don’t change, even when you really need them to. Lexi works through a tangle of relationships, both with the boys she is attracted to and the parents who seem to fail her. I think a lot of YA readers will find her authentic voice, the realistic outlook on life, and the imperfect romance very compelling. As far as YA contemporary goes, this is one of the stronger offerings I’ve read in a long time. While I don’t particularly care for the choices the characters make about sex, drugs, and alcohol, I think the book portrays them in a thoughtful, tasteful and honest light that allows readers to draw their own conclusions without feeling like they are sitting through a sermon. Adult readers will appreciate the writing and complexity of this book more than the average YA contemporary.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.