Nobody's Perfect

Nobody's Perfect

5.0 5
by Marlee Matlin, Doug Cooney

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Megan has spent forever planning her positively purple birthday sleepover. She's even made glittery purple invitations for every girl in her class. Then a new girl, Alexis Powell, joins their class. Alexis seems perfect: She's smart, pretty, and rules the soccer games on the playground. But no matter how hard Megan tries to be a friend to Alexis, the new girl is


Megan has spent forever planning her positively purple birthday sleepover. She's even made glittery purple invitations for every girl in her class. Then a new girl, Alexis Powell, joins their class. Alexis seems perfect: She's smart, pretty, and rules the soccer games on the playground. But no matter how hard Megan tries to be a friend to Alexis, the new girl is aloof or rude. At first Megan thinks Alexis is shy. Then Megan starts to fear that Alexis is treating her differently because she's deaf. When the girls are forced to collaborate on a science fair project, Megan learns the truth -- and realizes that nobody's perfect.

Once again Marlee Matlin draws on experiences from her own childhood to tell Megan's story. In this funny, poignant book, readers will root for Megan, a spirited young girl who doesn't let anything stand in her way.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Megan is very excited about her upcoming sleepover. She has all the invitations made, but when a new girl named Alexis joins her class, she feels that she should invite her as well. Alexis is perfect in every way and seems to dislike Megan. Megan wonders if it could be because she (Megan) is deaf. When the girls are assigned a science project together, their personalities really clash. Eventually, though, Megan learns that things are not always what they seem when someone does not appear to like you. While Megan is an interesting character, the overall plot falls a bit flat. Alexis does very little to earn the title of "perfect," so Megan's complaints on that account seem unfounded. The details of Megan's ability to follow conversation are confusing. It is not until page 141 that Megan explains that "I wear a hearing aid and I read lips." While her deafness is not and should not be the main focus of the story, a little clarification would have helped. Still, an enjoyable read. 2006, Simon and Schuster, Ages 8 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This sometimes-tedious sequel to Matlin's Deaf Child Crossing (S & S, 2002) focuses on Megan, a deaf girl whose speechreading and signing skills allow her to thrive in the hearing world. Megan can't wait for her "positively purple" birthday party, but her perfect plans get derailed when a new girl, Alexis, joins her class and rebuffs Megan's invitation. Alexis seems to be smart, athletic, and pretty, but she brushes off all of Megan's attempts to be friendly. Not until the two girls are paired up for a science project does Megan find out the reason behind Alexis's behavior. She's ashamed of her autistic brother and is afraid that her new classmates will find out about him. When Megan teaches him some basic sign language, it opens up communication with both him and Alexis. As in the first book, every character except Megan is sketchy at best, and the plot hangs on the flawed, funny forcefulness of the protagonist's giant personality. Information about Megan's school days, though often clunkily inserted into the story, provides interest. Readers unfamiliar with deafness will be fascinated by the descriptions of how she studies for a spelling bee and her interactions with her American Sign Language interpreter in the classroom (though actual interpreters will be appalled at the woman's use of bright red nail polish, an extreme no-no). Illustrations showing the manual alphabet are appended.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Celebrating deafness and a unique character, Matlin brings back Megan from Deaf Child Crossing (2002), returning full tilt from summer camp, ready to invite every girl in her fourth-grade to her perfectly purple birthday party, everyone except Alexis, the new girl who appears to abhor deafness. Alexis's apparent, callous rudeness challenges Megan not to rush to judgment, but to follow her family's strong influence to gather facts and not react to feelings alone. She uses all her talents, control and charm to be caring of Alexis as a human being, and by torturously pushing aside easy anger, Megan wins the truth and discovers Alexis's personal motivation: an unsettled relationship with an autistic brother. The miracle that she brings to Alexis's family is worth all the suffering. Megan is all purple feathers, glitter and friend, endearingly sincere with an intense energy that explodes with action on the page, shaking her world with an internal struggle worthy of a heroine. Heads above the companion volume. (Fiction. 9-11)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Nobody's Perfect

By Marlee Matlin

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Marlee Matlin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 068986986X

Chapter 1: Glitter Emergency

"Help!" Megan screamed in a voice so loud she rattled the windows. "I'm having a glitter emergency!"

Megan had meant to sprinkle purple glitter onto her handmade birthday invitations, but only enough to add sparkle to her name. She had folded a piece of purple construction paper and written her name across it in big gooey loops of glue. The plan was to gingerly tap the bottle of glitter so that tiny amounts tumbled onto the glue. But Megan had been in her usual hurry and had forgotten to put the cap back on the bottle. With one quick flick of her hand she had knocked over the bottle, which she'd bought earlier that afternoon at Stratton's craft store. What a mess! Glitter was everywhere.

Leave it to me to buy the giant size, Megan thought as she looked at the mountain of purple glitter covering her desk. Everything was buried in shiny purple flecks, even the notepad where she had written the names of the eleven girls in her fourth-grade class that she was planning to invite to her party.

"Did anyone hear me?" Megan called out again. "I repeat! This is a glitter emergency!"

Megan went to her bedroom door andpoked her head out to see if anyone was coming to her rescue, but the upstairs hall was empty. Where is Mom? Megan wondered. Her mother was always there to remind Megan to do her homework or pick her soccer shorts up off the floor. Now, in the middle of a glitter disaster, she was nowhere to be found.

Okay, where's Dad? thought Megan. But then she remembered that it was Saturday and he was probably puttering around in the garage. If Megan tried to talk to him now, he'd put her to work washing the car.

Okay, so then, where's Matt? wondered Megan. Her brother was always right in her face when she didn't want to be bugged. Now, in her time of need, where was he?

I'll just have to handle this myself, Megan thought with a sigh of resignation as she walked back to her desk.

Megan Merrill considered herself a very independent person. She could take the bus to school by herself. She could go away to summer camp and not even be homesick. If she could do all that, she could certainly handle a glitter spill, even if it was one for the record books. It seemed to Megan that it was the biggest glitter spill in the history of the human race.

Megan folded a piece of purple construction paper and held it in one hand. She cupped her other hand along the edge of the desk and began to scoop the glitter into a giant pile. Her nose itched but she resisted the urge to scratch. The last thing she needed was purple glitter up her nose -- she'd be sneezing sparkles for a week.

After a few more careful strokes Megan had brushed the glitter into a considerable mound. Just as she moved the pile of glitter to the edge of the desk and pushed a chunk of it toward her cupped hand, her older brother, Matt, tapped her on the shoulder.

Megan whirled around. The glitter went flying, scattering all over her rug.

"Whoa!" said Matt. "What's with the fairy dust?"

"Matt! Look what you made me do!" Megan said.

"Me?" Matt said. "You don't need my help making a mess. Check out your room!"

Matt had a point. Clothes were scattered everywhere and there was still leftover wrapping paper and ribbon on the floor from her late-night holiday gift-wrapping session over a week ago.

"At least you could help me clean up this glitter," Megan said.

"I could," Matt answered, "but then I'd be late for practice."

Matt was wearing his baseball jersey and batting glove. Baseball tryouts were coming up, and he was spending a lot of time practicing with the team in the hopes of securing a starting position.

"Besides, I'll get that stuff all over my jersey," Matt continued, "and I am definitely not going to practice wearing glitter. Looking all spangly and shiny is pretty much a baseball no-no." He wagged his finger demonstratively in Megan's face and then headed for the door, but he stopped in his tracks before he got to the hallway. Megan had crawled underneath her desk and was pinching little clumps of glitter from the carpet. Matt walked back toward Megan and knocked his knuckles on the desk to get her attention. He crouched low so that they were eye to eye.

"Tell you what," Matt said, "I'll bring the DustBuster up from downstairs."

Megan smiled. Matt could be a jerk, but most of the time he was an okay brother. "If you do, I'll let you come to my birthday party," she offered.

Matt smirked. "No, thanks. I think I'm seriously busy that day."

"You can't be busy that day," Megan protested. "You don't even know when the party is."

"So when is it?"

"January nineteenth!" Megan exclaimed. She pointed to her desk and the calendar with the big purple circle drawn around that date. "How could you forget my birthday? Mom says I get to have a sleepover slumber party for all eleven girls in my class! Well, twelve if you count me. And I guess you have to count me because I'm the birthday girl." She held up one of the finished invitations. It had purple feathers glued around the edge, and it read: MEGAN'S POSITIVELY PURPLE PARTY! The information was all inside, the date, the time, the fact that it was a sleepover -- "wear your pajamas!" -- and the request that all the guests wear something purple.

Megan had been planning her Positively Purple Party for a year, and she couldn't have been more excited. Everything was going to be purple because purple was her favorite color. She was decorating the house with purple streamers and purple balloons. She and her mom were baking a purple cake decorated with purple frosting. They were making purple punch and purple tea-sandwiches, and the girls were going to give each other manicures with purple nail polish.

"Thanks for the warning," Matt said. "Any night you invite a dozen fourth-grade girls to sleep over at our house is a night I'm definitely going to be busy."

He started to leave again, but Megan hurried from the desk to plant herself between him and the door. She held up her hands and started to gesture in sign language.

"Take that back," she signed. "You're my only brother, and you have to come to my birthday party!"

Megan had been deaf since she was eighteen months old, and everyone in her family could sign as easily as they could talk out loud.

"Okay, okay," Matt signed back. "But I'm not going to wear anything purple!"

"I don't even own anything purple," said Cindy.

"Yes, you do," Megan insisted. "Everybody thinks they don't own anything purple, but they're forgetting that violet and lavender are still purple too."

"Oh!" Cindy exclaimed. "I have some pants that my mom says are lilac."

"That counts as purple," said Megan.

Cindy brightened. She was Megan's best friend, and she certainly didn't want to attend Megan's birthday party without obeying the dress code.

Megan and Cindy were sitting in Megan's dining room on Sunday afternoon. Megan was inviting every girl in her class to her birthday party, which meant she had to prepare a total of eleven invitations. She had carefully stacked the works-in-progress in her bedroom, carried them downstairs, and rearranged them across the dining room table. "I finished writing in glue and sprinkling the glitter," she explained to Cindy. She showed off an example of the front of the invitation with the "Megan" in "Megan's Positively Purple Party!" in spangly letters. "So what we have to do now is glue on the feathers."

Megan raised a plastic bag bulging with tiny purple feathers. It was something she'd found at Stratton's craft store, and it had been too perfect to pass up.

"Purple feathers," said Cindy. "Excellent!"

"I know," Megan agreed. She tugged on the plastic bag to break the seal, but it was stronger than she anticipated. Megan tugged harder and a small explosion of purple feathers burst from the bag.

Megan and Cindy laughed.

Megan arranged a few feathers as a border on the face of the invitation.

"Oh, that looks good," said Cindy, using her thumb to dig at the glue that had hardened at the top of the glue bottle. "But do we put the glue on the feathers or put the glue on the paper?"

"Better glue the paper," said Megan. "These feathers are too small." She placed one feather in the palm of her hand and pursed her lips to blow it toward Cindy.

"You really don't have to make an invitation for me," said Cindy. "I already know all about the party."

"Of course I do," Megan insisted. "You're my best friend!"

"Best friends forever," said Cindy with a smile.

That was when Matt walked into the dining room and belched loudly to announce his presence.

"Ugh!" Megan shrieked after a few seconds, pinching her nose. She twisted sideways to swat Matt with her arm.

"I didn't think you could hear that," said Cindy.

"Much worse!" cried Megan. "I could smell it!"

"Megan has a better sense of smell than an alley cat," Matt explained.

"Hey, Matt," said Cindy, waving with purple-feathered fingers.

"Hey," said Matt, stuffing a banana into his mouth. "Mom's going to be mad when you get glitter all over the dining room," he said, looking over the birthday party invitations on the dining room table.

"You know I can't understand you when you talk with your mouth full," Megan replied.

Matt gestured at the clutter spread across the dinner table and signed, "And you know Mom's gonna be mad."

Megan didn't respond. Instead she reached toward the empty dining room chair beside her and raised the DustBuster. She waved it at Matt to indicate everything was under control.

Matt shrugged, unimpressed. He gazed over the purple invitations, each one individually written, glued, and glittered. It seemed like a lot of work. "Why don't you just send out an e-mail with the date of the party?"

Cindy sighed impatiently. "Girls appreciate it when you put out an effort," she explained.

Megan looked up from the task of gluing purple feathers, perplexed by whatever Cindy had said to Matt. She elbowed Cindy and shrugged her shoulders to ask, What's up? Cindy repeated Matt's question in sign language, and Megan shook her head and rolled her eyes.

"I know," said Cindy. "Can you imagine? All you'd get is an e-mail: 'Come to my party.'"

"Nobody would come," Megan replied.

They finished the invitations and stacked them in a box so that Megan could hand them out the next day, their first day back at school.

"I cannot wait to hand out my invitations!" Megan said with excitement.

"I know!" said Cindy, admiring their work on the last invitation before handing it to Megan to store in the box. "I'll help you hand them out if you want."

"I'm going to need it!" said Megan. With all the invitations, the box was kind of clumsy. "We'll hand them out at the end of the day so that they don't get crushed or anything."

"And on the first day back at school after winter break," said Cindy, admiring the feathers and glitter. "Just wait!"

"I know!" Megan agreed. "All the girls are going to freak out!"

Copyright ©2006 by Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney


Excerpted from Nobody's Perfect by Marlee Matlin Copyright © 2006 by Marlee Matlin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Marlee Matlin, deaf since she was eighteen months old, won the
Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in
Children of a Lesser God. She was nominated for Emmy Awards for
her performances in Seinfeld, Picket Fences, The
, and Law & Order: SVU. Her film credits include
It's My Party and What the Bleep Do We Know!? She is the
author of Deaf Child Crossing. She has made numerous television
appearances and currently appears on The L Word. Marlee Matlin
lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four children. Visit her at

Doug Cooney is the author of the middle-grade novels The
Beloved Dearly
and I Know Who Likes You. His musical
adaptation of George Saunders's The Very Persistent Gappers of
recently premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles,
produced by the Mark Taper Forum P.L.A.Y. Cooney also teaches songwriting
and collaboration for Voices Within, an educational outreach program of
the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He divides his time between Los Angeles
and South Florida. You can visit him at

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Nobody's Perfect 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brookiee More than 1 year ago
this book was so good i read it all in one night. i fell in love with it because theres like a life lesson in it. this girl named Megan is deaf and she meets a new girl at school that she thinks is only avoiding her because shes deaf. and in the end she says "U dont like me bacause im deaf do u." and i just think it was so suspenceful and just AMAZING. really u neeed to look into it because u wont be dissapointed. i loved it. u really will too. Trust me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book that I read with my hearing impaired daughter. Helped her to read about another girl almost the same age that she is and what her life is like.She's having difficulty feeling different at school.This book helped to boost her self esteem!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is totally awsome! I was hooked into the book and now, i got my mom reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This may look like a complicated book to read but once you get to reading it you'll feel extra sorry for the characters. It'll make you start thinking about what would you do in a stitch like the problems she got on her hands. Nobody is a protagnist or antagnist.