Series: The Perfectionists #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Source: Publisher [Edelweiss]
I've only ever read one Sara Shepard book before (the first PLL book) and I enjoyed it, but I was already way too engrossed in the TV show and because it's so different from the books, I never got around to reading the rest of them. So when I heard about The Perfectionists and the synopsis had a slight PLL feel to it, I knew I had to read it.
The Perfectionists follows 5 girls - Ava, Caitlin, Julie, Mackenzie & Parker - who are brought together by their hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. Nolan has done something horrible to each of the girls - some worse than others - and they all want to make him pay for what he's done. So they come up with a plan to humiliate him at one of his parties. The next morning they wake up and discover that Nolan Hotchkiss was found dead at the party, and the girls find themselves the main suspects. But the girls know they didn't do it, so they set out to find out who murdered Nolan before they're framed for it.
I've been reading a lot of YA crime/mystery/revenge books lately and The Perfectionists is definitely one of the best. Shepard's writing style is so easy-going and I found myself reading constantly for hours and thinking only an hour had gone by.
Despite the fact that there were five main characters (plus their friends/family and love interests), I feel like I really got to know each of the girls. Ava is and extremely beautiful young girl who is determined to prove that she's not just a pretty face, that she has brains too. She's naive and gets herself into a pretty weird situation, but she's really sweet. And she also has the sweetest boyfriend. Caitlin has been having troubles since her brother's death. She's beginning to question her life dedicated to soccer and wondering whether there's something else out there for her. Her boyfriend, Josh, isn't the most sensitive person and doesn't seem to give a shit about what she's going through. She then starts to develop feelings for Josh's younger brother, Jeremy, who understands her. Julie is embarrassed about her home life and her mother, so she puts on a perfect front to hide it from everyone. Parker is the only person who knows the real Julie and knows what her life is like. Mackenzie has dedicated her whole life to playing the cello and getting into Julliard. Her and her best friend Claire are constantly competing against each other. Claire knows that Mackenzie has had a crush on Blake forever, but when Blake kisses Claire, Mackenzie swallows her feelings and pretends to be happy for him. She convinces herself she doesn't have time for a real life - practicing is her life. Parker has had a troubled life and her run in with Nolan brought everything to a head. Now her father is in jail, her mother hates her and Parker has receded into a shell to hide the person she's become. She's extremely self-conscious and closed-off, and she's suffering from extreme headaches and memory loss due to an incident with her father.
Every single one of the girls had a motive to kill Nolan Hotchkiss, but I'm not going to tell you what they were. One of the best parts of the book is finding out their reasons.
Right from the word go there was so much going on in this book. It was packed full of suspense, mystery and loads of twists that kept adding more mystery! I actually think I had more questions at the end of this book than answers, there's so much still to be uncovered! There was a pervy teacher hitting on students, a creepy therapist following one of the girls around (although I definitely think there's more to his story and hopefully he'll be in book 2), back-stabbing best friends (never saw it coming!) and a couple of love triangles. Caitlin, Josh & Jeremy were the main love triangle. After Caitlin and Jeremy's first encounter in the cemetery, I knew there was going to be something between them. They had a connection that Caitlin and Josh didn't have, plus, Josh is an ass. And then we had Mackenzie, Blake and Claire. I can't really go too much into their relationship, but Claire is a bitch and I did like Blake to start with. I'm possibly reading too much into their relationship, but maybe Julie and Parker have some romantic feelings for each other? Yes? No? I kind of hope they do.
The ending was a holy crap! ending because there were Even. More. Twists! Sarah Shepard sure loves her suspense and now I have to spend a year waiting and wondering what's going to happen and find out who killed Nolan! I have one possible suspect, but only because of something that happened at the end of the book. I'm not sure if this person is tied to the Nolan thing, but I definitely think their tied to the twist at the end. And also framing it on the girls (for some unknown reason).
Overall, The Perfectionists is fantastic mystery/revenge novel. It was thrilling, fast-paced and the ending left me desperate for more! The wait for book 2 is going to kill me, but I honestly can't wait for it.