Saturday 12 June 2021

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Review: Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Published: 11th March 2021 | Publisher: Hodder Children's Books | Source: Bought
Sophie Gonzales's Website

In Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back.

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke... who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she's not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
From The StoryGraph

I decided to read Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales was my first read for Pride month, and it's brilliant! So cute and funny, but also really intriguing.

Darcy runs Locker 89, an anonymous romance advice service. Slot your letter with your problem, an email address to respond to, and $10, and Darcy will get back to you. Fascinated by romance psychology, Darcy isn't your regular agony aunt. She responds with tailored, insightful advice specifically for the recipient, and has a 95% positive rate. Except the one time when she gave her best friend Brooke, who she is in love with, the opposite of good advice for selfish reasons. When Broughman discovers her collecting the letters after school one day, he blackmails her into helping him get his ex-girlfriend back. Knowing if Brooke found out it was Darcy behind Locker 89, it would ruin their friendship, not to mention any chances of them ever getting together. Darcy has no choice, but to help Broughman.

I decided to read Perfect on Paper after the controversy on YA Twitter, where an author of erotic YA criticised it for featuring a bisexual character who ends up in a different gender romance as not being queer enough. I knew I needed to support the book, but I also realised I haven't read many YA books featuring such queer romances. And I really loved it!

I loved the premise of the story, and how most chapters start with a letter from someone asking for help and Darcy's response. Darcy is really into romance psychology; she watches Youtubers and blogs, and she knows her stuff. The advice she gives her clients is just so good! I, an adult, was surprised by the advice she gave, talking about things I'd never heard of, advice that would fit right in any women's magazine. I loved seeing the answers Darcy had for each person, and found I learnt things from her myself.

The predicament Darcy found herself in was really interesting! When you see a character making the wrong choices, and knowing things just aren't going to go well, it's frustrating, but you can't help but wonder how things will play out. I actually really liked Broughman. He's not your typical teen guy, and is actually a really genuine, nice guy, if seemingly stand-offish at first. It was wonderful seeing the friendship bloom between Darcy and Broughman, and how dorky they are together.Broughman is also really insightful, too, so it was just so awesome seeing him challenge Darcy on her theories, and them getting into friendly debates. I honestly loved them!

It was really awesome to see Darcy open up in her Queer & Questioning Club about being bisexual, and the idea of being "queer enough". There's this whole discussion about biphobia and bi-erasure, and it's just so beautiful! The whole "This is what I've experienced, this is what I feel, this is how I'm seen," conversation, shining a light on the very thing that led to the book being criticised for was just so, so cool.

In regards to the romance, there's a massive case of miscommunication throughout the story that just makes you want to bang a couple of heads together. But it's also really cute seeing things develop and grow, and it was just adorable. Honestly, I just loved it so much! I really bloody loved Perfect on Paper, it was such a cute and fun read, and I highly recommend it! And I'm so excited to read more books by Sophie Gonzales in future!

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