Book Review – ‘Perfect Ten’ by L. Philips

A cute contemporary, but ultimately didn’t hit the mark.

PerfectTen_BOM_2P.inddGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

No. of pages: 352

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Who is Sam Raines’s Perfect Ten? 

It’s been two years since Sam broke up with the only other eligible gay guy in his high school, so to say he’s been going through a romantic drought is the understatement of the decade. But when Meg, his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend, suggests performing a love spell, Sam is just desperate enough to try. He crafts a list of ten traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th.

Enter three seemingly perfect guys, all in pursuit of Sam. There’s Gus, the suave French exchange student; Jamie, the sweet and shy artist; and Travis, the guitar-playing tattooed enigma. Even Sam’s ex-boyfriend Landon might want another chance.

But does a Perfect Ten even exist? Find out in this delectable coming-of-age romcom with just a touch of magic.

Page border 2020 by Casey Carlisle

This was a cute light romance. But it didn’t tick all the boxes for me. It did not feel like an authentic voice. Something about the position that Sam’s voice was coming from did not feel totally realistic for a young gay male. Yes, it was angsty and swoon-worthy, but there are subtle layers wrapped up in the identity that were not realised.

Additionally I just found Sam to be such a whiny privileged guy who was so thirsty for attention that he ‘threw his cat’ at any boy who paid him even the slightest amount of attention. For someone who was desperate for love, he acted in contradiction for the entire story.

The pacing is also slow.

This book feels like jamming as may experiences with boys in a PG setting as humanly possible to appeal to a tween audience. The dash of Wicca even further proved my point in baiting that demographic.

Perfect Ten Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The character arc and character development were pretty good though. Even if I found Sam to be one massive sigh and eyeroll away from wanting to throw up in my mouth. L. Philips even crafted a commendable ending, throwing a few red herrings out there… but ultimately for me even that felt undercooked and drawn out.

I did love her depictions of art and music. I can see she has a talent for writing, but maybe steer away from the M/M romances, she’s writing an interpretation of the gay experience and missing some of the major issues that gay youth struggle with internally and externally.

Sam would have had to have been medicated to behave the way he did – a lot of his reactions are so far from biologically male it was laughable.

I liked Meg, though again, she was so stereotypically the >insert derogatory term for female best friend of the gay lead< that I was praying that she would have something else going on for her storyline other than seeking relationship advice and validation. It’s obvious their friendship is more than that, but L. Philips neglects to explore any of that.

Landon just felt like a cautionary tale for engaging in sexual activity too young. And to act as an antagonist. In all honesty after finishing the novel I really felt like he was a plot device. Again there were so many missed opportunities to increase tension and pace that were missed.

All the characters were so ‘nice.’ It was a pleasurable enough read but felt like it lacked substance and authenticity. I would have rated it lower if not for L. Philips lovely writing, great dialogue, and a sense that there is a lot more to her than presented in ‘Perfect Ten.’

I’m not going to recommend this one, there are a lot more contemporaries in this genre which execute a story much better, like Bill Koinigsberg, Cale Deitrich, David Levithan, and Adam Silvera. I really wanted to love ‘Perfect Ten,’ but it disappointed me… though it does show a lot of promise for L. Philips as a writer.

Overall feeling: Undercooked and inauthentic.

Perfect Ten Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Perfect Ten Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – The Fault in Our Stars

Strumming heart-chords everywhere.

The Fault in Our Stars Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle

Where the film devastated me, the book completely annihilated me.

I nearly wasn’t going to read or watch anything to do with John Green’s creation, mainly due to the fact I’m easily reduced to a blubbering mess for days in stories like this; and sense-memory of my own battle with the big ‘C.’ But as evident of this review I finally caved – and true to form, was not fit for public appearances for at least two days.

I loved how the book gave the reader glimpses into how undiscriminating cancer is, how it steals your dignity, and how moments of despair and resolve wash over you. The movie interpretation doesn’t do this as successfully though – it was too ‘pretty.’ Sick people really don’t look as pleasing as Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (who play Hazel and Gus respectively.) It was a heart-warming love story though, and if the reality of their situations were laid bare in technicolour, I don’t think many would watch it. So, a sanitised version for the big screen is something I’m prepared to overlook.

The Fault in Our Stars Film vs Novel Pic 1 by Casey Carlisle

Going into the book without expectations, and not trying to anticipate the plot let me revel in the beauty of Hazel and Gus. See the determination and will to experience life through their eyes. You also get a sense of this in the film, but it is not as prominent. Where the book has layers about love, life, survival, death, significance/insignificance (and I could list ten more) the movie was essentially a romance. So while I enjoyed both, the delicate undertones and meaning of John Greens’ writing did not translate well to the big screen.

So too did I feel the characters were a less sparkly version for the screen: where Hazel was quiet and strong and Gus was devilishly cheeky and debonair, even though both actors imbued the characters with these traits, they were so much stronger in the novel.

Both are in my top favourites and I urge you to read the book before watching the film – be warned: the story may destroy relationships for you forever. Gus is a hard guy to live up to.

And it’s the novel for the win… okay? Okay!

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.