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 – A Walk to Remember

Shades of bullying and ostracism are outshined by love, faith and identity.

 Film vs Novel A Walk to Remember by Casey Carlisle Pic 01

A Walk to Remember Pic 06 by Casey CarlilseWhile I loved the story of A Walk to Remember, and found it truly touching, my experience with the book was somewhat lacking in comparison to my enjoyment of the film.

I felt the tone of the book it was a little too preachy and Landon’s final decision felt like it was motivated more out of duty than love. Where as in the film, each character was developed so much better. Nuisances and extra parts to the modernized storyline had it feeling much more realistic. The religious aspect had been dialled down, which really let the romance shine. Additionally, I appreciated in the movie how they allowed Jamie to enjoy the climax of the story a little before the ending, it really let the emotion resonate with the viewer – where in the novel the story simply stopped.

I adore Nicholas Spark’s stories, however his narrative style does not match the subject matter. I refer to the writing of Beautiful Creatures or Mara Dyer, where the language is practically melodic. Spark’s felt dry in comparison, and the repetition of the phrases ‘by the way’ and ‘hits you right between the eyes’ ended up giving me a headache.

The movie explored Landon and Jamie’s story so much more. There wasn’t such a clichéd ending either. Where I completely broke down in tears in the film, the book barely had me emoting. I remember when first reading A Walk to Remember over fifteen years ago I couldn’t think of a better piece of literature, but today having a more experienced pallet, it did not stand up to my raves. It may sound like I don’t like the book, when in fact I did – a great light read for an afternoon… I just wish it packed the punch that the movie did.

A Walk to Remember Pic 04 by Casey Carlilse

The title is tied in brilliantly within the novel, and there is a completely different interpretation for the film. Additionally, our main characters Landon and Jamie are different versions. Where Landon is more of an everyday guy in the novel, his screen counterpart (played by Shane West) is a smart-ass rebel. The latter serviced the character arc with much more dramatic flair. Jamie on the other hand was a goody-two-shoes that could do no wrong, that everybody loved for the book, yet in the film Mandy Moor played her as an understated, quite soul with an unwavering heart and unconditional kindness. Again the latter felt more realistic and fragile and was easier to identify with.

I feel like the Landon of the film was driven by his feelings to do more for Jamie – like checking off her bucket list, not afraid of rolling up his sleeves and doing some hard work to get there. In the book that impact was lost – there was maybe a couple of grand gestures leaving the story feeling rushed.

The bullying and teasing dealt with in the book was minor in comparison to that of the movie. Landon really struggles with it in the film, and lashes out, where the reaction in the book felt a little over dramatized. So too, did the reactions to Jamie’s news on the printed page… I much prefer the reveal in the film.

I’d recommend either, the book is soulful and touching; but the film crawls under your skin to squeeze your heart…

So a resounding win for the movie in my opinion!

A Walk to Remember Pic 03 by Casey Carlilse

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. 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.