A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard is a guilty pleasure similar to her Pretty Little Liars series, and as such has some risqué content: In addition to drinking, smoking, drugs, two murders, some strong language, and label dropping, a lecherous teacher preys on female students, even collecting sexts from them; a girl makes her best friend think the boy she likes likes her back; a bully pushes a kid to suicide; a boy shares a sexy picture of a girl with his friends, and more. The protagonists -- a group of girls -- drug a boy to exact revenge, and he turns up dead. But, even though they do a bad thing, they're trying to right a wrong, and they do look out for one another. Readers will have to decide for themselves whether these characters are worth rooting for. If your kids won't read anything else, this fluffy fiction may do the trick. Teens also may be interested in some of the films mentioned here, including The Bad Seed and And Then There Were None, which are based on great novels.
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What's the story?
If you're familiar with the Pretty Little Liars franchise, you know the drill. In THE PERFECTIONISTS, there's a group of girls hiding big secrets: One is the daughter of a hoarder; one is falling in love with her boyfriend's younger brother; and another is cheating with her best friend's boyfriend. The biggest secret of all? What they did to the bully who tortured them all on the night he was murdered. But really, Nolan's death is only the beginning for the girls in this scandalicious series.
Is it any good?
Author Sara Shepard has a gift for spinning an endless string of secrets and scandals. Among this material, she does manage to raise some contemporary issues that will make readers think. There are many instances of bullying and cyberbullying, including one character killing himself because he can no longer handle how a bully is treating him at school. Readers also will enjoy thinking about the question of vigilantism that the girls discuss in their film class: "It was weirdly satisfying to watch each person get what he or she deserved. Could you even call it murder?" Readers who liked the Pretty Little Liars book series and TV show are likely to get hooked on this series, too -- even before the planned TV show comes out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about murder mysteries. What is appealing about these kind of stories?
Also, what do you think of the girls' behavior? They make some bad choices, including drugging a classmate. Are you rooting for them anyway?
What's fun about reading a series? Do you plan to read the sequels? What do you think will happen next?
- Author: Sara Shepard
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: October 7, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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