Publisher : Penguin Random House
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 288
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
CW: recreational drug use, hospital, stress burnout.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.*
Hello this is my love letter so Laura Silverman’s books and how their softness never disappoints. Way back when, I read Girl out of Water and absolutely fell in love with it and the author’s writing, and knew that no matter what she writes next I will gobble and love and I WAS RIGHT, You Asked for Perfect did not disappoint. This book made my heart so full and was just so real and true that I couldn’t help but love it as much as her debut, if not a little bit more.
The writing is absolutely immersive, I found myself invested in Ariel (the MC)’s ambitions, struggles and doubts from very early on, so much so that I found myself getting anxious for him. But whether that’s do to the writing or to me relating to his state of mind is up for debate. Probably a bit of both if we’re being honest. The author’s writing style is also extremely accessible but no less beautiful, the way she strings words together has a way to pull at your heart strings while simultaneously wrapping you in a gentle hug. And I think that’s the best thing about it, because no matter how much the MC struggles (spoiler: it’s a lot), You Asked for Perfect explores it in such a gentle way without ever taking away from it. Also, the characters are total softies.
This is a very character driven story just like I adore them. Ariel, the main character is set to be his school valedictorian, attend Harvard, and excel in everything he does. That’s until his grades start slipping up, he puts too much on his plate with school, family, friends, etc… and starts losing control of everything. And the way that Academic pressure and stress was explored was just so realistic and genuine that I couldn’t help but set parallels between Ariel’s life and mine, even though you know…I’m a grandma in medical school and not a high school student. But from what I’ve seen from teenagers, they could relate to Ariel’s experiences on a visceral level too, especially those of them that are more Academic oriented.
I also liked how by the end of the book, the takeaway is that most people struggle in one way or another, everyone’s just good at hiding it so we think we’re alone when, in fact, we definitely aren’t. From the outside looking in, most people look like they have it all together and that they’re doing more, achieving more, succeeding more when in fact, they might be putting a huge amount of pressure on themselves as well and thinking the exact same thing about you. The main message of the books is also that you don’t have to do it on your own, it’s okay to ask for help when life gets overwhelming and I appreciated that about it.
Ariel is a cinnamon roll that must be protected AT ALL COST! He’s a bisexual Jewish boy who’s super tight-knit with his family and loves and cares about them deeply. I also loved how attached to his religion he is and how invested in the Jewish community his family is. He cares too much about his Academics but for the completely wrong reasons and he’s just so lost and overwhelmed for most of the book that I just wanted to sit him down, make him some hot chocolate and tell him everything will be okay. I loved how close he was with his family, especially with his little sister, Rachel, who’s as much of a stress ball as he is when she’s only ten. She’s super witty and bright and their relationship was just so cute.
Amir was the light of my life in this book, I absolutely adored him. He’s a Muslim Pakistani gay boy who’s so comfortable in who he is and what he wants, you can just feel it through the pages. He’s sweet, effortlessly confident but never cocky. One thing I’m 1000% grateful for is the fact that he wants to be a doctor because HE ACTUALLY LOVES IT, he’s so passionate about it and I think that’s pretty cool since it’s the first time I see this in a book, most of them have characters who are pressure into that career path and absolutely resent it so it was refreshing. This also subverted the trope of Muslim parents pushing their kinds into more “money making” careers, because his actually want him to major in photography because he’s so good at it.
Their romance is the CUTEST THING EVER!!!! It’s so nerdy and cute with lots of Harry Potter references, and they’re just *clutches heart* so good to each other, they’re definitely not perfect but do their best and care SO MUCH about each other, also that thing Ariel did at the end…*dies of cute*. The conversation between them flows so naturally and they just make sense together, the banter and ease between them is so endearing and precious!!! That being said I really wanted to see a bit more of them.
This book warmed my heart so much while still tackling the important topic of academic pressure that’s put on kids in an honest way, which not enough books do even though a lot of people struggle with it.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read You Asked for Perfect? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.