TITLE: Perfect Couple
SERIES: Superlatives #2
AUTHOR: Jennifer Echols
PUBLICATION DATE: January 13, 2015
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PAGES: 336 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows
BUY LINKS: Amazon
In this second book in The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Harper and Brody think they’re an unlikely match, but the senior class says they belong together.
As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody ‘Perfect Couple That Never Was’, her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.
Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together; first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.
The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
I combed through the first third of the book before I found the excerpt I wanted to share with you. I hope you all enjoy it and decide to pick up a copy of this awesome book!
“I’ll catch up with y’all,” I said “Back to the towels for me. I’m having contact problems.” Amid the chorus of “Oh, no!” and “Poor baby!” and “Do you need help?” I explained what had happened. “If I can wipe my eyes and run fresh water over my hands, I think I’ll be okay.”
I sloshed toward shore. But as I reached dry sand, I was anything but okay. My left eye stung. My right eye was worse. When I opened it, all I could see was blur. The beach was as bright as another planet with no atmosphere to filter the sun. I could hardly see my way back to the island of umbrellas and towels I’d come from. When I finally made it, I tripped over several boys and landed on the dog, who didn’t budge.
“Move, dog,” I said rudely. She got up, sticking her sandy dog butt in my face as I opened my cooler for a thermos of water.
Kennedy was telling the other guys about the indie film we’d seen at the Tampa Theater downtown last weekend. They were laughing uncontrollably. Kennedy was brilliant and had great comedic delivery. He would be perfect someday as the vastly intelligent, super dry commentator on a political comedy show. His shtick was as much as what he left out as what he said. At the moment, he was strategically omitting that we’d had an argument in his car on the way to the movie and that he still hadn’t been speaking to me by the time he dropped me off at home afterwards.
“Right, Harper?” I heard him ask. He wanted me to verify some funny point in the movie – something he hadn’t discussed with me one on one, because we’d hardly talked since then.
This was his way of making up. After our fights, he ignored me until he just decided not to anymore, signaled by him by asking me a question and me responding, and then it was like nothing had happened between us. This time, instead of answering, I poured freezing water over my hand and wiped at my eye. Now it felt like I’d gotten sand in my eyeball. I tried to shift the offending particle into the corner where my tears would flush it out. That was a mistake. The stinging was intense.
I tried to open my eye. I couldn’t. My upper eyelid was wedged shut with my contact. Was it possible that my contact had drifted that far back? Could it float even further and get stuck on my optic nerve? Where was my eleventh-grade anatomy knowledge when I needed it?
“Guys,” I called. Kennedy kept up his blasé movie commentary while I went blind in one eye. Tears streaming down my cheek, I said more loudly, “Guys, do any of you wear contacts? I need help. I think my contact has shifted into the back of my eye socket.”
“Harper,” Kennedy said, “only you.”
I took in a deep breath to calm myself, but I was on the verge of panic. These boys were not going to help me. Kennedy would make fun of me while this piece of flexible plastic sliced its way into my brain and gave me a lobotomy. The girls would help me, but they were too far away to hear me yell over the surf, and I couldn’t open one eye, and now I couldn’t see out of the good eye because of the tears. I felt like screaming.
Strong hands framed my face. One thumb pulled at my lower eyelid. I was surprised Kennedy had relented and come to my rescue. “ I wear contacts, and I know all about this, unfortunately. Let me help.”
But it wasn’t Kennedy’s voice. It was Brody.
Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
When Harper and Brody are voted Perfect Couple That Never Was they are both shocked. The two couldn’t be more different. Harper is the photography nerd and Brody is the star quarterback. But since that day, she finds herself noticing him more and more. Since that day, her friends have been pushing her to ask him out. Even though she has a boyfriend, she finds herself thinking about Brody more and more. She finds herself wondering if maybe the school knows what they are talking about and she should give this budding attraction wtih Brody a chance.
Harper is that geeky girl who is hiding a rocking body. She’s smart and hard-working, with a desperate drive to get the best photographs. She dresses pretty conservatively for a high school girl and she swears it’s because she likes it that way. But is it really? The further into this we get, the more we see her question those decisions. I both loved and hated this. I loved that she wanted to experiment. I loved that she was brave enough to try something new. I loved that the new looks work well. What I didn’t love was how it was all inspired by Brody. I’m very big on the be yourself schtick. Changing solely to impress a guy is something I feel like very girl does and something that we shouldn’t. We should all put our best face forward, but there is a difference between that and drastically altering your wardrobe to get a guy. What happens when you get tired of wearing those tight tops and mini-skirts? What happens when you just want to roam around comfortably in jeans and a tee, but he expects full-on glamor all the time? That isn’t what happens here, but it bugged me that her change was Brody inspired. She ends up liking it for herself, but it could have easily went a different direction.
Brody was a character I wanted to love immediately, but he took time to grow on me. He’s cocky and hot and completely sure of himself. He has a bit of that player vibe going on that I tend to find slimy rather than sexy. He has enough charm to keep me from being completely weary of him, but he also has a sorta girlfriend when he starts fooling around with Harper, when gives me the skeezy vibe. Beyond that, though, he was pretty loveable. It was clear that he was sincere under all the bravado.
What I really enjoyed about this, about all Echols work really, is the relationships. It’s not just about boy meets girl, it’s about friends and family and self. It’s goes deeper than just a flirty YA contemporary romance. Both characters are realistically flawed and relatable. I didn’t always agree with their actions, but they always felt authentic and true to life. That’s not to say that some of their actions weren’t downright stupid because they were. That whole “make Brody jealous” bit sent me into a mini-rage because we all know that was not the right move. How is that the right thing for the moment? Those moments always anger me in books. You know, the ones where the character finds out something they don’t like and instead of thinking things through, they do something rash and stupid. I’m not a fan of stupid. I actively try to avoid stupid.
What I didn’t like was they was this skirted around the cheating issue. Harper is dating Kennedy. No matter how much of a jerk Kennedy is, they are still in a relationship. Nothing should happen with Brody until after that has ended. Brody is sorta dating Grace, but that’s a bit more vague. Either way, lust doesn’t excuse a lack of common curtsey. I hate how some novels portray cheating as acceptable because it’s “true love” and the characters “couldn’t help themselves.” I’d just like to call bullshit on that particular concept. Be man (or woman) enough to admit want and go after it, but don’t deceive people to get it. I’m a bit more forgiving here because they are teenagers and hormones do run high at that age. Plus, you know, teenagers aren’t as much of an adult as they’d like to believe. Also, shit happens.
I think I may have liked this a bit more than Biggest Flirt. Even though I am still a bigger Will fangirl than I will ever be for Brody. Will is that nice, boy next door type and I love seeing those. That’s beyond the point. This is a perfect contemporary YA written with Echols trademark style and wit. It’s addictive and I tore threw it needing to know if Harper and Brody finally worked out their shit. If you like Echols previous work or contemporary romances, then you’ll love this!
****Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****