The Perfectionist Series
The Perfectionists & The Good Girls
By Sara Shepard
Released: October 2014 & June 2015
“You want to throw your life away for some stupid conversation we had? Like we’re the first people ever who talk about people we want dead.”
**MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
Disclaimer: I know I don’t normally include spoilers, but just in the off chance I accidentally type something about the series that might give something away, I want to be safe! I will not spoil any major points in the book.
I am one hundred and fifty-five percent obsessed with Pretty Little Liars. No, I’ve not read the books, but the Freeform show is my life. Since I only have two weeks of it left, I figured I would try to dive into something of Sara Shepard’s that might give me all of the Pretty Little Liar feels I need, then after the series ends, I can start the books. This series definitely gave me those feels, and I can gladly say that I enjoyed it. Even if it was eerily similar in some ways.
The Perfectionsts follows five girls Ava Jalali, Julie Redding, Parker Duvall, Caitlin Martell-Lewis, and Mackenzie Wright. Ava Jalali is a star student. She lost her mother, and her father shortly remarried a woman she can barely stand. Julie Redding seemingly has the perfect life. She’s popular, beautiful, and everyone loves her. She hides her home life and the fact that her mother had a mental break after her father left and is a hoarder of things, and cats. Parker Duvall used to be the it girl and is Julie Redding’s best friend, that is until an accident scarred her beautiful face. Now she has blackouts and suffered from a fall from grace after the accident. Caitlin Martell-Lewis is a soccer star and lives in a adoptive family with her two mothers. She is dating a soccer star, is on her way to a huge soccer scholarship, and life couldn’t get any more perfect. Aside from the fact her younger brother killed himself a year ago. Mackenzie Wright is a musical prodigy on her way to Julliard, always competing with her best friend over who is the better artist. And over boys. The five girls couldn’t be more different, but a scandal and and the murder of popular jock Nolan Hotchkiss brings them close together. They all had a reason to hate him, and one conversation in their film studies class makes them the prime suspects for his murder.
In the class, the girls are grouped together to discuss a film where a judge lets a criminal go because the victim deserved it. Quickly and quietly they begin to discuss people they would kill, and how they would do it. Ava would kill her stepmother–she’s a drunk, how easy would it be for someone to push her off the balcony and pretend that she slipped. Julie said she would kill Parker’s dad, the man who almost beat his daughter senseless and ruined her pretty face–people die in jail all the time, all it takes is one fight. Parker said she would kill Ashley Ferguson–the wannabe who copies everything Julie does from her hair color down to her toenail polish. Mackenzie adds her best friend Claire Coldwell to the list–she’d just run her over in the street, make it look like a hit and run. Last but not least, Caitlin chimes in and points at the bad boy himself, Nolan Hotchkiss– everyone knows his drug of choice is oxy, just give him a little too much, or slip him some cyanide, just like in the old movies.
Each of the five girls has a different reason to hate Nolan. He’s spread lies about one of them, bullied the people closest to one of them, took advantage of one of them, and caused irreversible damage to another one. They decide to play a prank on him at his big house party. Give him a little oxy in his drink so he passes out and take some incriminating photos. Take down the bully by bullying. What could go wrong? The day after the party, Nolan ends up dead. Cause of death? Overdose. Just how the girls had talked about it. But they didn’t kill him, right? They only gave him one. As the girls race against the clock to clear their name, they find a suspect in someone they never expected. They begin to investigate against him, but when he winds up dead too, the girls have two dead bodies at their feet, and the police are closing in on them.
The girls are being framed. Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, one by one each of the people they said they would kill end up dying just the way they had discussed it in class. Someone is out to get the girls, but who is it? It’s a race against the clock to find out who is behind it all. There’s a twist ending you won’t see coming.
I personally really enjoyed this series! It definitely had a PLL feel to me, and the characters were somewhat similar in some ways, but even though it was a young adult novel it kept me very interested. It’s a short easy read, both books, so you can’t really lose interest. I did not see the series ending coming, from a long shot. It was nice to be surprised! I thought I had it figured out once, and it took me for a loop. The characters were each given individual personalities and back stories, and even though there were five main characters, I felt like none of them were neglected. I felt like I knew each one personally and could see into their minds.
I would recommend this series to anyone like me who is needing to fill the void of one of their favorite shows coming to an end. Rumors of this becoming a television show as well swarmed a few years ago, and I would love to see it on the small screen.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5