Perfected | Kate Jarvik Birch | Reviewed by Anjali
Sunday, 13 July 2014
In an almost dystopian-like America, girls are raised in kennels to become pets for the wealthy. When they are ready, they are bought, given names, introduced to family members and are integrated as pets into the household. Ella is no different. Raised in Greenwich Kennels, she's small and petite, graceful and beautiful and perfect, ready to do whatever it is she's told her, just as she was trained to do.
Bought by the Congressman, Ella moves into a fancy home where she is introduced to the Congressman's wife, his daughter Ruby and his son, Penn. Ruby is incredibly excited to have another pet (the last one they had had to be returned) and treats Ella with love and looks after her, and even takes her to her another girl's house to meet their own pet. Penn is distant at first, angry at his father for purchasing another pet, but over time his friendship with Ella grows, and blossoms into some more. Yup, it's a typical YA love story. But when Ella is kidnapped and thrown into situations where she has no idea what to do, she starts to realise that all that she was taught in the kennel isn't all there is to be known, and the world is a much bigger, a much darker place than she thought.
Ella as a character was annoying and a little infuriating, but that's really just because she didn't know anything - her only truth was what she learnt in the kennel, and while she was ignorant and clueless, it's how she needed to be, given her background. Ruby was a sweet kid, and with little friends she really did just need the company that Ella gave her. Ruby loved reading, and I think that's one of the main reasons I liked her so much. Also, she was kinda like me...only 10 years old. When she is talking to Ella at one time, for example: "'Oh my gosh,' she whispered, as if she was suddenly remembering something very important. 'I forgot to ask you what your favourite book is.'" Heh heh! I love it!
Another line I loved from Ruby: "'You can't swim or read and you've never had candy? How are you supposed to survive? Those are like the most important things.'"
Penn was a bit annoying that at first he didn't like Ella at all, and then suddenly he was basically in love. But I guess that's sort of standard YA love time line for you. You can go from 'I hate you' to 'I love you' in less than 20 pages sometimes.
Occasionally I have issues with the writing style of some novels, but not in Perfected. I found it easy to read, and everything flowed well. Despite me taking about a week to read it, if I had just sat down and read, it would have only taken about 2 hours. It was fast paced, and while there were times of more dull events, it didn't really seem that way.
Perfected, by Kate Jarvik Birch, while a short YA novel, does a great job at looking at humanity, society, and freedom. I guess what I mean is that this story isn't set in a pre- or post-apocalyptic world, or an America gripped by plague or robots or zombies, there's no goodies and baddies, there's no different factions or groups...it's simply a society like our own where these pets are engineered to enhance people's lifestyles, and all it took was a law saying that this was okay. It's a bit of a scary thought really, but nevertheless I really did enjoy this novel. I hope there's another one, because the ending was not okay, and I need to know what happens next.
Thank you to Net Galley and Kate Jarvik Birch, who provided me with this book for an honest review.
This review was written by regular reviewer Anjali, get to know her here.
Image from Good Reads.
Post author: Anjali
Anjali is a New Zealander with a love of DIY, photography, travel, Harry Potter, binge watching TV shows, and blogging over at This Splendid Shambles. Oh and books. She loves books. Her favourite genres are YA, dystopian, and fantasy.