The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | Book Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard | Book ReviewThe Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Published by HarperCollins, Hot Key Books on October 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher

In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.

Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?

What I thought

I’ll start this review with being honest and confess that I have never read any of the Pretty Little Liars’ books. I have watched the show… for a few seasons (when I still didn’t know who A. was a season or two later I got annoyed and quit watching -please don’t hit me). I read the synopsis and thought the story sounded intriguing, somehow under the impression that this was a standalone novel. Imagine my surprise when I got the end of the book and found out it wasn’t.


Well, that, or this book ends in a seriously dissatisfying way.

To me, it seemed that this story bore quite some resemblance to Pretty Little Liars. Of course I am basing this on my experience with the tv-show, but as the story unfolded I just couldn’t help but feel like I’d read this story before. I found the characters stereotyped and they have quite a similar mindset to the main characters in PLL. Not to forget that they share the same tendency to make the most stupid, dangerous decisions that just can’t have any other outcome than one that ends badly.

There are just so many high school cliché’s in this book, from the characters, to the events, and the predicaments. It wouldn’t have worked for me in any other book, but somehow Shepard made them interesting and engaging enough to keep me hooked to the story. Like I said, the characters make lots of silly, and some just plain stupid, decisions. Their web of lies grew and grew until they couldn’t see a way out anymore. While it did boggle my mind every single time, I can’t deny that it added to the atmosphere of the story.

In a way the plot demanded those ‘stupid, dangerous decisions’ because that’s that way the tension builds. It makes for a fast paced, engaging, and action  filled story. Unfortunately, it also became a little too much at times. There was just too much happening and too many decisions that were more than stupid and idiotic. It was what I expected going in, and I found it manageable up until that ending.

Of course I was under the impression it was a standalone, which may have meant that the ending came as a much bigger surprise, but it seemed so abrupt to me. BOOM cliffhanger: The End. I must have turned the last page a few times, just to check if it really was the ending. There was no clear resolution, just an ending that left me gaping like a fish.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!The Perfectionists was an enjoyable read (up until that ending, that ending was just ridiculous), but it bore a little to much resemblance to Pretty Little Liars for me. The book is by far one of my favourites, but I can’t deny that the story was engaging and has a slightly ‘potent’ and addictive quality to it. All and all it was an entertaining book to read.


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  1. 24/10/2014 / 17:01

    I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now, but then I’m afraid it will drag on like Pretty Little Liars (which I haven’t read). And I hate cliffhangers. So I might wait till the next books comes out. But thanks for the great review :D

    • Iris
      11/11/2014 / 09:29

      I hope you end up liking it more than I did! It was pretty enjoyable, but a little too similar like Pretty Little Liars for me.

  2. Janessa
    11/03/2015 / 21:38

    I read this book after it came out and it seemed so similar to PLL, anyways, I heard their making a show on The CW based on this book, hopefully they actually use teenagers for it, but this book was good, but had too many characters… and a part I really didn’t like was how many times they had to say that Ava was beautiful, like we get it, we don’t need a damn book character to rub it in… but other than that I liked it…
    And I actually liked Granger, but it was a nice twist.

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