Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: Amazon ● The Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Ashley Maria Perkins. 50 pounds for a trip to Disneyland.

Ashley Maria Perkins. 75 pounds for a shopping trip in Paris.

Ashley Maria Perkins. 80 pounds for a new car.

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother. Pretty standard, right? But like clockwork, every year, Ashley’s card also contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks. She knows exactly how she fits into her life, wide hips and all. But no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.

But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University.

Ashley wants it—she can’t deny it. But their annual negotiation has upped its stakes—Grandmother wants her to get weight-loss surgery in return for the money.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. They all believe that Ashley could be her best self if she would just listen to them. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

I don't think I've read a young adult novel that features a larger protagonist and focuses on weight-loss before! This was as interesting topic at hand for me, particularly because I'm definitely a larger girl, and it's sad that I really haven't explored this topic in fiction. Future Perfect seemed like a great book, but while I did love the core of the story, I had a few issues with the plot.

Some of the story was pretty unnecessary. I almost felt like giving up at points, but I really wanted to find out what Ashley decides to do in the end, which is why I kept on going. It was an intriguing read, but sooooo much filler. The weight-related content was good. A-plus reading! The other stuff just felt like the author was trying to unnecessarily drag on the book for a while. Like the party scene? While, like, one part of it was totally related to the plot, it just...didn't seem to fit with the message of the book. It actually made me not like Ashley, Jolene and Laura's characters all too much.

The characters were really diverse though. Not only do you have an overweight half-white half-Latina character, you also have Jolene, who is transgender, and Laura, who is black. A great cast of characters for sure. And all super complicated too. I was on the fence between liking them and despising them though, because I would often get annoyed at how adamant and snappish they were towards each other, as well as the whole escapade they get into as mentioned above. Friends help friends! Friends don't flake out or take it out on others without good reason. Ashley's grandma was probably my favourite character, because despite the terrible bribery on her part, she's such a good person. Ashley herself is a pretty good character–I liked her conviction and strength, as well as her weaknesses and vulnerable side. This girl doesn't let her weight alter her outlook on life, and she's top of the class and knows how to hold her place.

With Future Perfect, I wish two aspects were examined further. One is family, because I mean, her mom leaving was a pretty big part of her life, but I felt the book didn't go too much into it for some reason. While I liked that it didn't take over the entire plot, I just felt that it was somewhat incomplete. Second aspect? Romance. It kind of leaned more towards the filler part of the novel, because some of it was unnecessary and it unbalanced the plot a teeny tiny bit. However, I did love that it completely ruined the ugly opinion that some people have, which is that fat girls can't find love. Um, excuse me? WE TOTALLY CAN. Ashley proves it, amongst the bajillion other "fat" girls who supposedly can't get with a guy because of their size.

Inspirational and moving, Future Perfect, amidst its flaws, was powerful at the core. It brings me so much joy to see a protagonist, labelled a "fat" girl, accomplish and do so much, despite the negative opinions directed at her and her body. Jen Larsen delivers a strong message about body positivity, which, despite my hesitancy to like the story in its entirety, makes this an important novel for young adult readers.

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds heavy, like the type of story that would have me bawling and reaching for serious liquor!

    Enjoy the coming week!


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