By Kate Jarvik Birch
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.
The concept behind Perfected is fairly unique. I can’t think of another book that deals with clones being kept as pets like a dog or a cat. And there are a lot of parallels drawn between owning a pet human and owning a dog or cat. Everything from having a special diet to collars and walking on a leash…it was these details that made this book very readable and I finished it quickly.
I will agree with a lot of other reviewers that this book was relatively light for a dystopian novel and that the book didn’t do enough with its intriguing concept. However, I know there’s at least one other book in this series so I have to hope that the series grows and develops just as Ella grows and develops.
Insta-love is such a problematic trend in YA. But in Perfected, it gets an extra level of creepiness. Penn goes from hating Ella and everything she represents to madly in love with her in about 2.5 seconds flat. It felt like there was no textual justification for this sudden reversal of feeling. And because she’s a pet, it kind of feels icky even though I guess it technically isn’t. Once again, the text doesn’t really provide any context or direction. You never get confirmation if Penn ever thought of her a pet…if he did, ick. If he didn’t and thought of her as an enslaved human, well, that’s not icky then, but the insta-love is still problematic.
I enjoyed the friendship between Ella and Ruby and the world-building, such as it was. There wasn’t much of the world to see, but hopefully that will be rectified in the next book. Overall, a quick read that I’m still reserving judgment about until I read the next one in the series!