Hi all and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Laura Silverman’s You Asked for Perfect!
I adored this book and it resonated so so strongly with me and all of the pre-college application jitters that I had! So I’m really excited to share my review and an international giveaway with y’all!
The summary of this book doesn’t do it any justice, but basically, Ariel is a senior and preparing to apply to Harvard, but when he fails a calculus quiz, it sets him into a downward slide where his life comes crashing down around him–both his grades, his valedictorian status, his relationship with his friends and family and potential boyfriend–and Ariel might not be able to pick himself up in time for his Harvard application.
I really enjoyed this a lot and it captured so many of those pre-college stress feelings that I had! My review is below, but I also want to point you to my friend Eva’s review because she’s a Jewish teen and her input is a lot more valuable with respect to the Jewish parts of this book!
This book was so cathartic, especially because I just got out of applying and waiting for my college decisions in December! (I got into my first choice mid-December, so I’ve been cruising through senior year ever since!)
I intentionally waited till after decisions came out to read this because I was scared of jinxing things (so scared oh my), and reading this after really let me release some of those feelings I’ve been having about STRESS AND STRESS AND STRESS AND COLLEGE.
Yeah. Fun times.
You Asked for Perfect was wonderful in the way that it let me release all of my stressed feelings about applying to college, being a good student, getting into college, looking like an ideal student so I hopefully get accepted, etc. Ariel’s senior year was so relatable for me, and I think a lot of teens will see themselves in his overwhelming stress (says a lot about high school, tbh).
That was definitely the highlight of the book–not a lot of novels really emphasize just how stressful school is, and seeing You Asked for Perfect do this was really nice and meaningful. Like, yes, I understand that stress doesn’t really work with a lot of perfect YA narratives, but frankly, a real high school experience is 90% populated by stress for a lot of teens (not all, though).
Take every single kid in an Ivy or Ivy-like school or who applied to those schoos–this book would probably resonate really strongly with them (and therefore me) because it’s a really accurate representation of this experience.
Beyond that, I think the romance between Ariel and Amir was so so cute, and I also really enjoyed all the Jewish rep in it! (See, my aforementioned friend’s #OwnVoices review of this element.)
It was relatively short (300ish pages) and the buildup of this book was so intense as everything in Ariel’s life just seemed to be going downhill fast. I think Silverman did a great job of handling the ending and all of these explosive feelings.
Plus, I loved how this explored not only the stress of school, but Ariel’s relationships with his friends and family and how he was constantly overcommitting. Silverman wrapped all of these ideas up very nicely throughout the book, and I enjoyed it a lot!
I guess where the star fell off was just that there were a few discrepancies and places where things didn’t make sense (i.e. his interview has been scheduled for so long, and that’s really abnormal) and also I wish that we had gotten a little more of just Ariel himself in a non-slipping environment, if that makes sense? Like, more at the beginning of what it was like just juggling his life, before the crash and burn ensued.
I also really wished that we got to see a little bit about the privilege that is associated with the college applications process, but unfortunately we didn’t get to read a lot of that in this book.
Overall, I definitely really enjoyed You Asked for Perfect and would recommend it wholeheartedly to juniors and seniors especially as they stress about school! And also everyone else, because you’ll still enjoy Ariel’s story.
More About the Book
You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 5th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary
Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.
Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.
Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.
More About the Author
My debut novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a summery coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the entire summer. It debuted in May 2017. You can order it from most book retailers and of course request it at your local library! My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, is about the effects of intense academic pressure on a teenage Valedictorian-to-be. It comes out March 2019, and you can add it on Goodreads here.
I have degrees in English and Advertising from the University of Georgia, and I have an MFA in Writing for Children from the New School. While I lived in NYC, I interned at Penguin and two different literary agencies. In addition to writing, I also freelance edit manuscripts and query letters. Please check out my services if you’re interested! I particularly love helping with those query letters!
Want to try your luck and see if you’re the lucky winner of a copy of You Asked for Perfect? Check out the giveaway in the Rafflecopter button below where one lucky winner will receive a finished copy of You Asked for Perfect! (Open where Book Depository ships!)
Or, you can guarantee a copy for yourself by using one of the buy links in the “More About the Book” section!
Thank you so much to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting this tour and to Megan Manzano for sending me an ARC in a giveaway! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops below!
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