Title: You Asked for Perfect
Author: Laura Silverman
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Description: “For fans of Adam Silvera and Nina LaCour comes a timely novel about a teen’s struggle when academic success and happiness pull him in opposite directions.
Senior Ariel Stone has spent his life cultivating the perfect college résumé first chair violinist, dedicated volunteer, active synagogue congregant, and expected valedictorian. He barely has time to think about a social life, let alone a relationship…until a failed calculus quiz puts his future on the line, forcing Ariel to enlist his classmate, Amir, as a tutor.
As the two spend more time together, Ariel discovers he may not like calculus, but he does like Amir. When he’s with Amir, the crushing academic pressure fades away, and a fuller and brighter world comes into focus. But college deadlines are still looming. And adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push Ariel past his limit.
Full of empathy, honesty, and heart, You Asked for Perfect is a story for anyone who has ever questioned the price of perfection.”
-From Book Depository (Click here to purchase from my affiliate link!)
When I picked You Asked for Perfect out on NetGalley, I was expecting a cute and sweet romance that I would enjoy, but it wouldn’t be mindblowing. Young adult contemporaries can be a little hit or miss for me (though I rarely outright hate them), probably because I’m not really the intended audience for them now that I’m in my twenties. In the end, however, this turned out to be one of my favorite books of 2019 so far, which caught me completely by surprise.
There’s so much to love here that it’s hard to know where to properly begin, so I guess I’ll start with the stellar diversity and representation. Ariel is bisexual and Jewish, and his love interest, Amir, is Muslim and gay. Religion is also important to Ariel, so a large part of the plot centers around him and his family observing various Jewish traditions and holidays.
Speaking of family, Ariel’s family and friend relationships are at the forefront of this book just as much as his romance with Amir, which is a rarity in the young adult genre. Ariel loves his parents and sibling, and it’s refreshing. He also has a close relationship with his friends and doesn’t immediately stop talking to them as soon as he starts contemplating dating. Romances are great, and Amir and Ariel have some wonderful chemistry that made me smile every time they were together in the book, but it’s nice to see the other relationships in Ariel’s life.
Everything I’ve mentioned up to this point in the review would have added up to a solid four-star read, but there is one element that pushed You Asked for Perfect into five-star territory, and that is how Laura Silverman deals with the pressure of academic success. I have always been the sort of perfectionist that wanted to have as close to straight A’s as possible and it definitely caused me far more stress than it should have at a young age. Seeing this represented so accurately on the page makes me wish that this book had existed when I was a teenager.
This book will not necessarily appeal to everyone to the same degree, but that’s okay. Not every book needs to be for every person. People who know that the grades they get do not define their existence don’t need this book to emphasize this, so I don’t know that they will get as much out of it. Teenagers who put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the best should absolutely read this, however, because I know it would have saved me a lot of pain growing up by knowing that I am not alone.
Final Score: 5/5
Note: I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.