There are no spoilers in this review.
Laura Silverman’s debut, Girl Out Of Water, is one of my favorite books of all times, so I’m not going to lie: my expectations were high for You Asked For Perfect, even higher given the synopsis of this book. Dealing with academic stress, anxiety, an adorable romance looming on the horizon? This honestly sounded too good to pass up and, friends, let me tell you, this book was perfect.
Sorry. You knew I would do this, wouldn’t you.
A STORY FOR AND ABOUT ANXIOUS MINDS
You Asked For Perfect deals with academic anxiety, as our main character Ariel, valedictorian, always, always sets the highest expectations on himself to succeed and to do it all, pushing himself hard to manage it all.
If you ask me, Laura Silverman manages to perfectly capture that feeling. You’re young and yet, you feel like you’re already running out of time, constantly restless and needing to do it all at the same time. It’s that feeling, really, that just seized me and made this book such a good, uncomfortable, highly relatable reading experience for me and, most likely, why I loved it so much, too. Ariel’s anxiety was so relatable, on many levels to me. I graduated from my Masters’ degree a couple of years ago, yet I could still feel that anxiety, that tension, that overachiever NEED taking over and I still now, in so many ways in my life, feel that crippling anxiety. How complex, yet how valid it was, too, made me, in a way, feel seen, too and I adored it.
CHARACTERS I FELL IN LOVE WITH
You Asked For Perfect, in addition to perfectly tackling a theme that echoed deep with me, gave me a cast of characters I fell in love with. Ariel was a main character I could relate to and rooted for, right from the very first pages. It was hard, complicated, gut-wrenching, even, at times, to read as he wore himself away and exhausted himself with work, too, but if half of me wanted to reach out and hug him, another half of me 300% understood him, so… well, that was an experience. People surrounding Ariel were just as endearing, from his best friend Sook to his best valedictorian-spot-enemy Pari, the cast of characters was so naturally diverse and well developed that I enjoyed them all.
There are two things that stood out for me, in this book, when it comes to the relationships: the family relationships and the romance.
Let’s start with the family. More often than not, we don’t get a lot of family moments in young adult books, something I’ve always been craving and here, Laura Silverman gives us this incredible family, these dinners, these moments when they tell each other about their day… she just creates such a great family cocoon that I wanted to jump in and have dinner with them all. Ariel and his family are Jewish and I appreciated seeing their faith and seeing it so naturally being such a big part of their daily lives.
Onto the romance now. It was the softest, most adorable romance ever, I adored how it slowly developed over time with them becoming friends, talking a little more and developing feelings and I HAD FEELINGS TOO OKAY I’m sorry I can’t coherently talk about them, I just loved them OKAY.
I’m keeping this non-spoilery but, if my review didn’t manage to convince you, let me tell you: I cried and, when I cry while reading a book, it means something. There’s no sophomore slump for Laura Silverman, who delivers a perfect story that I 300% recommend for YA contemporary lovers, anyone wanting to read about anxiety and academic pressure and… well, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be screaming about this book for the next hundred years.
Final rating: 5, a hurricane, a new favorite!
The biggest thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a free digital advance reader’s copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: hospitalisation, anxiety & panic attacks.
Diversity: Jewish main character (Ariel) and family, Muslim main character (Amir). Korean main character (Sook). Sapphic main character (Sook), bisexual main character (Ariel), gay main character (Amir).
Laura Silverman, You Asked For Perfect, Published by Sourcebooks Fire, March 6th, 2019.
Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.
Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.
Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.
Did you read You Asked For Perfect? Do you want to?
What’s the last book that you found very highly relatable? Do you have any recommendations of books dealing with anxiety? Let me know in comments!