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Perfected by Girls

Perfected by Girls

3.0 4
by Alfred C. Martino, Karen Grove (Editor)

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Life isn't easy for Melinda Radford. She's the lone girl on the Ashton High wrestling team�dealing with opponents who refuse to compete against her, a few who want to crush her, and a coach that seems less-than-pleased having a girl in his practice room. At the same time, Mel's parents have forbid her from seeing her new boyfriend, her grandmother insists she give up


Life isn't easy for Melinda Radford. She's the lone girl on the Ashton High wrestling team�dealing with opponents who refuse to compete against her, a few who want to crush her, and a coach that seems less-than-pleased having a girl in his practice room. At the same time, Mel's parents have forbid her from seeing her new boyfriend, her grandmother insists she give up a fun job at the mall for a dreary office internship, and her infuriating older brother, who's the varsity team captain, is constantly flirting with her best friend, Jade. Just when it seems things can't get any more complicated, an off-handed comment puts Mel at odds with her teammates, her brother and, worst of all, her coach. But through a strange twist of tragedy and fate, Mel is given an unexpected opportunity to accomplish something no girl in Ashton High's history has ever done, and to redeem herself in the eyes of many. How will she handle it all? Can she handle it all?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amanda McFaden
Melinda Radford, sophomore at Ashton High, lacks self confidence. This poses a problem as it translates into the sport she loves—wrestling—and leaves her wishing that sometimes she was a guy. Her older, more proficient, and pedantic brother does nothing to help. When she meets Stuart, a valet at the club to which her grandmother belongs, romance blossoms, and so does the pressure to take things further. Soon, Mel is misquoted in a newspaper article and becomes the least favorite person in her school. As she struggles with the guilt concerning what she said about the wrestling coach, he dies of a terminal disease. Mel is certain that she will never play varsity wrestling and blames herself for making the coach's last days difficult. Out of the blue Mel gets called up by the new coach to play varsity. As the pressure builds, her weight plummets, she has a screaming match with her best friend, and Stuart does not return her calls. Will the pressure of being on the varsity team be too much? As it is a minority sports book, as well as being written in the first-person, the plot lacked substance. Descriptive aspects and explanation of technical terms that would illustrate the sport to the non-wrestler were missing. After a slow start, the momentum picks up in the second quarter of the book. The wrestling vernacular within the plot takes away from the essence of the developing love story. This book will have limited readership. Reviewer: Amanda McFaden
ALAN Review - Emily Pendergrass
Melinda is the lone girl on a prestigious wrestling team in a Michigan high school. While Melinda is a wrestler, she is not a tomboy as she sports 4-inch leather heels and designer dresses to events around town. She loves wrestling with her teammates, and since the team captain is her older brother, she scores extra points with the team. However, she struggles with making weight, balancing friendships, and the hostility felt from outsiders for being a girl wrestler. Things seem to be looking up for Melinda, until she chats with a reporter about her wrestling coach. In Martino's third novel on wrestling, he focuses on an adolescent girl trying to bridge the divide between her dream of wrestling and what others think and expect from girls, including members of her family. He addresses the concerns of many girls: weight loss, boyfriends, friendships, family expectations, and older siblings. An enjoyable, quick read. Reviewer: Emily Pendergrass
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Melinda Radford loves designer clothes, hanging out with her best friend, and participating in school sports. Trouble is, though, her sport is wrestling, and she's the only girl on the championship team. She gets crude comments from classmates, and members of opposing teams refuse to wrestle with her. Off the mat, Melinda has other concerns—her best friend and her older brother are making eyes at each other, her grandmother insists that she take a boring summer internship at her company, and her mother forbids her to see her hot new boyfriend. Melinda's situation turns even uglier at school when she makes a comment to a reporter for the local newspaper, and she's seen as not being a team player or supportive of her coach. But when she starts to question her commitment to the sport, she gets a chance to move from the JV to the varsity team and really compete instead of warming the bench. The protagonist has an authentic voice, and readers will empathize with her isolation throughout the school day. Some may gloss over the detailed wrestling descriptions, but the romance and other aspects of Melinda's life will strike a chord with girls, even those who don't participate in athletics.—Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX
Kirkus Reviews
It's a busy year for Melinda Drake Radford as she wrestles on the JV team--and with other challenges of her sophomore year, too. Sometimes, Mel wishes she were a guy, or more like a guy. She envies their muscles and confidence and power. But over the course of several busy months, she does just fine as a girl, even as a girl wrestler, where on the mat "the conditions are always the same. The mats are nearly all the same dimensions. Matches are indoors. Singlets and wrestling shoes are pretty much the same. It's just you and your opponent. For three two-minute periods." Off the mats, the world is less predictable. Her wealthy grandmother is pushing her into the business world, her boyfriend is pushing her into the bedroom and her varsity-wrestler brother pushes her to work harder, get better. Despite flat pacing, the novel is a solid portrait of a teenage girl trying to be herself when everyone else seems to be deciding her life for her. Though wrestling is the heart of the tale, Martino wisely resists heavy-handed and inspirational sports metaphors, letting Mel's actions speak for themselves. There's always a need for more sports stories for girls, and this is a solid addition to the genre. (Fiction. 13-16)

Product Details

Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

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Perfected by Girls 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
surroundedbybooks More than 1 year ago
Alfred C. Martino's PERFECTED BY GIRLS is a fascinating young adult novel revolving around girls and sports. Melinda Radford just wants to wrestle for her high school team, but getting onto the team seems the beginning of her troubles. The boys either don't want to wrestle her or feel her up when they do. The captain and her own brother don't seem pleased to have her there. Then, a comment to a reporter put her at odds with the entire team. She has to find a way to bring her life into control while continue doing what she loves. PERFECTED BY GIRLS has a wonderful, fairly authentic female teen voice. The characters and conflict seemed realistic. I love how the simple act of being a female wrestler showed people's character, whether they supported her or not. I found it interesting to learn about the Greco-Roman style wrestling, how there are women's teams, and how a woman deals with being on a predominately male team. The novel is fast-paced, and I wanted to keep reading until the very last word. If you're looking for a great contemporary young adult novel, then look no further than PERFECTED BY GIRLS by Alfred C. Martino. It's a great read that'll wrestle you to the page and keep you reading until the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad until i hit this one part. Then i quit reading it. Not a comedy and not a cute romance. Its very real life, but i guess i got to a point where i just didnt like the book or characters very much. Dont get me wrong im all for girl power and stuff. The main girl likes to wrestle but she gives up during matches when it gets tough and she lets her best friend peer pressure her and become a worse person. But i cant say i judged the whole book because i did quit reading halfway thru, but this book just gave me a bad impression.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago