|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.56(d)|
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By Kendra C. Highley, Heather Howland
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Kendra C. Highley
All rights reserved.
"All in all," Mr. Granger said, "the scores on the midterm were pretty good, so I didn't feel the need to grade on a curve."
Paige clenched her fists in her lap, already feeling the sting of tears in the backs of her eyes. No curve? That test had read like it was written in Greek Wingdings for all she understood of it. Trying not to hyperventilate, she sneaked a few quick glances at her AP calculus classmates. Most of them didn't look worried. A few even looked relaxed and confident.
Oh God, oh God, oh God ...
Mr. Granger paused by her desk. He didn't let anything show by his expression, but she could tell he was puzzled. She had a reputation of being one of the most organized, most reliable, and very best students at Alderwood. Popular, pretty, and smart, she'd heard people say. The girl who'd been voted Most Likely to Succeed in her class four years running.
But her teacher's expression said the exact opposite.
He slid the test onto her desk ... facedown.
Facedown? She'd never had a test handed to her facedown. They didn't hand back A tests facedown. Swallowing hard, she waited until he'd moved to the desk behind hers before braving a look.
Her stomach rolled. She'd made a sixty-eight — a D. She'd gotten a D. She'd made exactly two Bs in her entire time at Alderwood before this semester, and so far in calc, she had two Cs and now a D on a test that was twenty-percent of her semester grade. Her final transcript was due to Stanford in January. Without at least a B in this class, she'd fall out of the top ten in her class. That might be enough for Stanford admissions to deny her application.
Calc was doing its best to ruin every dream she'd written in the little red leather notebook her mom had given her last year. Stanford for premed. Harvard for medical school. Residency with the best neurologists in Texas. Fellowship at UT Southwestern. Then go into medical practice with Daddy and take over for him when he retired. He was counting on her, and she couldn't disappoint him.
Tears welled up in her eyes while Mr. Granger went over three of the most missed questions on the exam. Ironically, she'd gotten one of those right. Even more ironic — she had no idea how. Lucky girl was lucky.
Flashes of her parents' horrified faces as they read her denial letter from Stanford kept replaying in her head. "Oh, Paige, what happened?" Mom would croon, crestfallen. "You know your father's alma mater only takes the best."
"You tried, Sweet Pea," Daddy would say, crushing her with his inevitably sad expression. "That's what counts."
A sob threatened to tear free from her chest. How could she possibly tell them? She'd always tried to live up to their expectations and the examples they'd set — especially Daddy's. Her mother would be so disappointed.
Oh no, she was going to cry right here at her desk. Paige Westfield never lost her cool in public, and she wouldn't let that change now. She flung her hand in the air.
"Yes, Paige?" Mr. Granger asked.
Don't cry. Do not cry. "May I go to the restroom?"
Did she imagine the pity in his eyes, or was it real? "Of course."
She burst from the classroom, head down, and hurried around the corner toward the girls' bathroom at the end of senior hall. Red lockers lined the wall like witnesses to her failure. Now that she was alone, she let the tears seep down her cheeks. What was she going to do? There was no way anyone could know about this.
The hallway seemed to stretch out ahead of her, longer and longer. Would she ever make it to the safety of a bathroom stall — someplace she could silently cry her eyes out, then fix her makeup before a soul saw how upset she was? No, today was the day the universe had decided to spit in her Cheerios, because she snagged a toe on a loose spot of carpet and went sprawling. She landed flat on her stomach, arms stretched out too late to break her fall, and her breath whooshed out in one great gust.
For a moment, she couldn't do anything but force air into her lungs. Once she could breathe, though, she pushed herself to her knees, praying no one had seen her. The sound of running footsteps told her those prayers had gone spectacularly unanswered.
"Oh my God, that was a crazy fall," a guy said, sounding breathless. "You okay?"
Paige looked up at a concerned face — a boy with glasses, messy brown hair, and a frayed T-shirt. Not purposely frayed, but old and worn out, something you didn't see at Alderwood very often. "Fine," she snapped. "I'm fine."
The corner of his mouth lifted, as if he knew she couldn't stand looking foolish in front of anyone. "You have skid marks on your elbows and you've been crying, so I'm calling bullshit on that one."
"I was not crying." She glared up at him. "What are you even doing out here? Don't you have class?"
"You definitely were crying, and I could ask you the same question, Paige. My excuse is that I'm off sixth hour for work release." He held out a hand. "Here. Let me help you up."
She reached for his hand, frowning. "Do I know you?"
He rolled his eyes. "You ought to, since we've been in AP English together three of the last four years, and honors math for two."
She shook her head. "Sorry, I don't remember your name."
"No, I'd guess not, since I don't fly in your orbit." He steadied her on her feet. "My name's Ben —"
That triggered her memory. "Franklin! Ben Franklin." She laughed. "How could I forget that? Any relation, or do your parents have a sick sense of humor?"
"Both," he said, looking amused and annoyed. "So what gives? You were practically running down the hall, and you look upset. Did something happen to you?"
Her cheeks flushed hot. Was this the point when she crawled in a hole and hoped he forgot the whole thing? "No, just in a rush."
Ben cocked his head and stepped in front of her. "Are you sure that's all?"
She had to look up to see his face. God, this boy was tall, but his eyes were a warm brown behind the glasses, and he looked genuinely concerned. Some of her humiliation faded. "Yes. That's all."
He peered at her and she squirmed under the scrutiny. He seemed to see all the way down to her bones. As he put it earlier — he was totally calling bullshit on her.
"I'm fine," she repeated, wishing he would just go. She didn't know if he was the kind of guy who would happily tell his pack of science-geek friends all about this episode or not, and every minute he stared at her only made that fear worse.
"This is the part where I'm supposed to agree with you and walk away, isn't it?" he asked, that tiny smile still tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Because Paige Westfield said so, and she knows best?"
If he hadn't said that in the nicest teasing tone she'd ever heard, she might've stomped on his foot for being a jerk. "I don't know best."
"But you aren't denying that you want me to go away." He leaned against the wall of lockers. "You know, you could always leave. I'm fine right here."
Of all the infuriating ... "I was on my way to the bathroom."
"Then go," he said. "Unless you want to talk?"
She stood there, her shoes practically glued to the rough carpet. Her brain kept insisting that she pull it together already and walk away, but the temptation to talk to someone who might not judge her was pretty strong. "I don't know you that well."
He shrugged. "I know you. You liked To Kill a Mockingbird but hated Julius Caesar last year. You always wear a ponytail on Fridays. And you're best friends with Zoey Miller."
Okay, he was either a stalker or totally observant. "How do you know all that?"
Ben caught her eye again. "I pay attention to pretty much everything. Annoying habit, I guess."
Huh. "If I talk to you, who are you going to tell?"
"Not a soul."
Funny enough, she kind of believed him. Kind of. Even if he wasn't in her orbit, as he'd put it, Ben seemed like a nice guy. The kind of quiet, hard worker who didn't socialize much at school but never made trouble, either. The kind of boy who wouldn't make fun of her for crying or for belly-flopping in the senior hallway.
"Come on," he said with a sudden, disarming smile that made her flush again. "You can tell me what's wrong. I'm like the Fort Knox of secret keepers. Seriously."
She found herself wanting to tell him. There wasn't really anyone else to talk to. Zoey would roll her eyes and tell her not to stress, and the rest of the student council thought she was crazy for taking AP classes in general. Before she could reconsider admitting a weakness to another person, she blurted out, "I think I'm going to fail calc. None of my friends would understand — they aren't even taking math senior year. But I care a lot."
He nodded, and she could see her own fear of failure lingering in his eyes. "It matters, right? Because you're on final transcript watch for college."
"Exactly." Some of the stress knotted in her shoulders relaxed. He understood — she couldn't even believe it. How did this boy she hardly knew understand her? And why hadn't she noticed him before? He was actually kind of cute — lean, with good shoulders and arms, and that sweet, quick smile. And what about the way he was looking at her? It was like he really saw her, not the "Perfect Paige" everyone else expected. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I left in the middle of class because I just couldn't ..."
The thing was, she didn't know what to say next, but instead of letting an awkward silence grow, Ben said, "I get it. I do. I'm trying for a scholarship at A&M. I want to go to their engineering school, and I need every A I can scrape together right now."
The frayed T-shirt made a little more sense after that admission. Money wasn't her problem, but they both needed the same thing to get what they wanted. "You're not in my calculus class. Are you taking it this year?" She paused. "Of course, you have to. Engineers need it."
"Yeah, I have it third period instead of sixth."
"So you know what I mean about how hard it is."
He shifted a little, looking uncomfortable. "I ... uh, I made a ninety-four on the last exam. Now, to be honest, that's my lowest grade so far, so the test was hard. But —"
He was kidding, right? Right? "A ninety-four? No wonder Mr. Granger said there was no curve. You blew it for the rest of us!" He held up his hands, smiling a little. "Sorry. Math's my favorite subject. I can't help it if I'm kind of brilliant."
"'Kind of brilliant.'" She shook her head. "It takes balls to say something like that to a type-A overachiever. Because I'll make you prove it."
Ben laughed — he had a nice laugh, deep and totally real. No, there wasn't anything fake about Ben Franklin, Paige decided. What you saw was what you got, and that was different.
"You can see my grades online if you want," he said, like it was all a big joke.
"No, I believe you." She leaned against a locker and checked out the carpet burns on her elbows. God, the guys in StuCo were going to make some lovely comments about those. Good thing she was wearing jeans, because skinned knees would've been the topic of the night. "It sucks for me, though. Because now I'll never have a shot at a decent grade."
"Maybe you just need some help or something," he said, frowning. "You're not stupid, Paige. And math is solvable."
"Did you just make a math joke about math?" she asked. Of course he did. "I tried going in for tutoring with Mr. Granger. If anything, he confused me more. Maybe he's just a sucky teacher."
"No," Ben said in a voice that suggested she was acting like a five-year-old. "He's a good teacher. Calculus is just one of those subjects that can be hard to understand at first. It's only October. It's been what, nine weeks?"
"Yes, and nine weeks from now we have semester exams!" Her pulse stuttered and her lungs felt tight. Maybe she should find a paper bag to breathe into. "I'm doomed."
"That's a little melodramatic, don't you think? What about asking a friend from class to help you? Maybe someone could explain it better than Mr. Granger. Sometimes it's easier to learn from a peer than from your teacher."
She gave him a questioning look. "What, you mean ... you?"
"What? Uh, no." Ben's eyebrows shot nearly to his hairline. "I meant for you to ask one of the ... uh, the ..."
"It's okay, you can say 'popular kids' without it sounding like a slam." Sure, she was popular by default because of her best friend, but that didn't mean she felt like she was one of them. "First off, none of them are taking calc. And second, they can't know I'm having trouble. No one can. There are plenty of people who would love to hear all about my failures in math."
"If your friends think you failing a class is funny, they suck," he muttered.
"Maybe, but I can't even tell my parents. My father ... well, he's the one who wants me to go to Stanford, and if I'm failing, he'll be so disappointed. I can't disappoint him. And my mom ... she doesn't understand failure. Like, not at all." She took a shuddering breath, scared she might cry again. "I can't screw this up, Ben."
His expression faded into something sympathetic. "I know a little about that kind of thing."
Did his mom and dad have high standards, too? "I bet you do."
"Yeah ..." He paused, looking deep in thought. It was funny — he looked almost nervous, plucking at the frayed hem of his T-shirt. "Okay, I'll do it."
"Do what?" she asked.
"Tutor you," he said.
She sucked in a breath. Oh, she hadn't meant ... "That's nice, but ... uh ..."
"I'm the best tutor you're going to find, Paige," Ben said. "You can trust me on that one."
Would this work? Could it work? She didn't know, but it was worth asking what he'd charge while she thought about it — and looked for other options, just in case.
"I can pay you," she said. He could probably use the money, right? "Most of my tutors charge twenty bucks an hour. How's that?"
"I work two jobs. I can always use more money, but I can work more hours, too." Ben was watching her, his forehead wrinkled in concentration. "I was thinking about a knowledge trade instead."
What kind of knowledge did she have that he didn't? "Like what?"
He bit his lip. "It's kind of weird."
This might end in pain, but desperate girls took desperate action. "Okay ... let's hear it."CHAPTER 2
Paige stared at him, a skeptical look on her face. And why not — Ben, some crazy math geek, had appeared out of nowhere to witness her falling down in the hallway. Her angst over being caught in an embarrassing moment made him feel bad — she really didn't like anyone seeing her being less than perfect. He'd always admired her spirit — she was one of the few rich kids around here who wanted to succeed as much as he did. And she worked hard for it. He respected that. And now — now he could be her knight in shining armor. Armed with a graphing calculator and a sharp pencil, he would help her pass calc ... and maybe get something even better in return.
Who knew forgetting his physics book would've been the best thing to happen to him all senior year? He was going to be late for work at the tire store, and there would be hell to pay with Kent, but this was too perfect a chance to miss. Paige was in trouble, and he could help her out of it. The hard part would be convincing her to help him with a quest he'd had since his sophomore year — going on a date with Zoey Miller, the blond goddess of all his daydreams.
The problem was, Zoey was upper-stratosphere popular. Like homecoming queen, student council president, everyone-was-in-love-with-her popular. Like if there was a supreme deity of Alderwood High, she'd be sitting at its right hand, passing out blessings to the mere mortals around her. It took a crazy-special guy to be in her league.
And he ... wasn't. He wasn't bottom caste, because he kept his head down at school, but he definitely wasn't her type. No, she probably liked guys who looked — and dressed — like Hollister models. Guys who played football and drove new cars. Ben wouldn't even be a blip on her radar.
Excerpted from Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2015 Kendra C. Highley. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For more reviews to go: http://best-of-ya.blogspot.com/ “Perfect Paige” has her life all planned out; graduate high school as one of the top 5 in her class, attend Stanford University, and go on to medical school so she can take over the family practice. However, after getting a D on her latest calculus test she has to figure out how to pass this ridiculous class or risk the chance of her plans—and her parents’ expectations—going up in flames. Enter Ben Franklin: the sweet, smart boy from the wrong side of town. He agrees to tutor Paige if only she helps turn him into the kind of guy her best friend, and most popular girl in school, will consider dating. Paige hesitates, but can’t argue that this is the perfect plan…until she realizes that she wishes Ben was working this hard for her attention instead of Zoey’s. First of all, how freakin’ adorable is that cover? I mean seriously so cute. Just like this story. I thought it was going to be the typical cliche love triangle, but it turned out to be so much more--honestly the perfect contemporary romance. Ben has had a crush on Zoey for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately for him--and every other guy at their high school--he just isn't someone she'd ever notice on her own which is why he enlists Paige's help. As expected the two fall for each other the more time they spend together because they just make so much more sense. The twist though came with Zoey. She turned out to be a lot less like your typical self-absorbed queen bee than I had initially expected. Her and Paige could not have been more different; Zoey is completely laid back while Paige is anything but. Yet their differences work well together and Zoey is actually an amazing friend to Paige. Paige is a bit too nice—she can’t seem to say no to anyone—but she grows so, so much throughout the story. Ben is ridiculously hardworking and so incredibly sweet. He pushes Paige to finally be honest about all the pressure she's been feeling towards her future and gives her the strength to come clean to her parents--especially her dad. He helps her discover that perfection is overrated and that nothing but her happiness is important at the end of the day. I usually have a favorite character but I genuinely liked all of them which made this that much more of an enjoyable read. The ending left room for a sequel and I really hope that is the case because I am definitely going to be reading anything else written by Highley if she continues writing such great characters and I'm definitely interested in seeing how Zoey's story continues!
Paige is an amazing student with dreams of following in her Daddy's footsteps and becoming a neurologist and taking over the practice - easy right? Understandably Paige is stressed out to no end and a 'D' in calculus is the last thing she needed. Enter Ben, also a brilliant student, in need a bit of money. Wanting a new experience before he's off to college, Ben offers to tutor Paige in exchange for an introduction to Paige's best friend Zoey. I loved how feisty Paige was. She wouldn't let anyone stand in the way of what she wanted and she worked so hard to get there. She had a goal in mind and she just wanted to charge ahead and achieve it without any distractions. I did think Paige kind of lost that aspect throughout the read - it was understandable considering the direction the read was taking but I really wanted to see more of it because she was just awesome. I wanted her to stay true to herself and go for what she wanted in the end instead of just letting someone else handle it. She strayed too much from the character she started out as I think. Ben was sweet. He was the opposite to Paige in the sense that he didn't know what he wanted. The book basically followed Paige and Ben both realising what they want throughout the read - Ben by finding romance and Paige by realising she is following everybody else and their plan instead of her own. I thought the plot of the book was relatable in a lot of ways, and it made for an all round feel good read that I enjoyed. I liked the way things went down and the ending was satisfying. I really wanted more Ben and Paige time though
I absolutely loved reading Finding Perfect, it’s one of the sweetest romantic stories I’ve read so far this year. It was a total page-turner and just perfect. In the beginning of the story we meet Paige Westfield, a popular and smart high school student who to everyone else she is known as “Perfect Paige.” Too bad that doesn’t last long when she gets a D on one of her Calculus exams. Now she is afraid of getting her Stanford application rejected and having to face her parents. So when she stumbles upon Ben Franklin after having a meltdown, he tells her that he is willing to help her bring her grade up, only if she helps him get the attention of her best friend Zoey. It should have been easy for her to say yes right of the bat, but Paige takes her time giving him an answer especially after knowing that Zoey liked other guys…etc. When she does accept his offer, she promises him that she is going to do everything in her power to make Zoey like him back. That is really when the story truly begins, and we get to see them interact more. And the more time they spent together, the more do they start to realize that they might just be perfect for each other. For Ben Franklin living on the wrong side of town can be difficult, but being third in his class has giving him the opportunity to tutor and that is exactly what he offers Paige in exchange for her to get him to be like a guy that Zoey might be interested in. Soon he starts to see the real Paige and what she has to go through with her parents, and the pressure that she has to be “perfect” in front of everyone else. When he realizes that he just might be falling for her, he starts to plan out how he can get her attention and hoping that she’ll like him back. From the cover to the story plot, I thought that the story was enjoyable to read. I found myself unable to put the book down; it was just a page-turner that kept me up all night. Needless to say, the characters do develop as the story progressed. We don’t see a lot of change in Ben, instead we see him showing Paige that it’s okay to not always be perfect or try to be and just enjoy the experiences as they come into her life. Although the book centers around Ben and Paige, we do get to know more about Zoey, and she is sort of the catalyst that brings them together in the end. The ending was sweet and it really fit the story as whole, I highly recommend it. :) ***ARC provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for honest review.***
OH MY GOSH. This book is beyond adorable! I absolutely loved "Perfect Paige" (or is she??) and Ben (Franklin. Yes, Ben Franklin. Benjamin Fisher Franklin, which means--you got it--his initials are BFF. LOL!). They are my new favorite couple. And Ben would be my number one book boyfriend, if only I were remotely close to 17 again. So I'm going to have to gift him to Mini Moe #2 instead. I know she'll appreciate :) I really liked that Ben was the one who started out so clueless about how perfect he and Paige were for each other--it seems like so many times it's the girl who's all ga-ga for the wrong guy, not seeing the person who's right in front of them. This was a nice reversal. Well, not so much for poor Paige, who just saw herself as being overlooked for her best friend--again. It all gets fixed in the end, though (well, okay, more like 2/3 of the way through, really) so that's all good. Except for the pressure being "Perfect" is putting on Paige. And the more-than-slight obsession her mother has with controlling her life...not to mention Mrs. Westfield's conviction that Ben doesn't belong in it. But Paige is going to figure out her own path--with some encouragement from Ben, of course, but she'll do it all on her own. And Ben will pull out some major moves to win over Paige's parents. (Chocolate, butter, and sugar may be involved. There's even a Say Anything reference in there. It's epic. And the lavender! Reading about the lavender, and then realizing that it's on the cover too? Gave me all the feels...) And then there's Zoey--best friend / Ben's former love interest Zoey--who winds up being the best friend to beat all best friends ever. Her book cannot possibly be released soon enough. (Hint, hint.) This was a quick read--a believable, sweet YA romance that you just don't want to end, but find yourself smiling like a total dork when it does. And then you go back and re-read all the awesome bits you highlighted. Twice. Did I mention I was anxiously awaiting Zoey's book? ;) Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
**Thanks to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I'm a huge contemporary fan, so of course I absolutely adored Finding Perfect. The story follows Paige Westfield, who is super smart and popular. She's fourth in the class, though she's currently failing AP Calculus with a D and she doesn't know how to get any better at it. After going to the bathroom to cry her heart out, she runs into Ben Franklin, who's third in the class and offers to help her out. The only catch is that he wants Paige to set him up with her best friend, Zoey. In the end, Paige agrees. However, as time goes on, Paige starts to catch feelings for Ben. I loved the romance in Finding Perfect. It was absolutely perfect! Ben was definitely my favorite character, because for some reason my favorite character is always the male love interest. Anyways, Ben was extremely sincere and sweet for the entire story, which I absolutely loved about him. He tried so hard to impress other people though, because he felt that he wasn't good enough, though he obviously was. Zoey was a wonderful best friend for Paige. She was always there for Paige and I loved how she felt towards Ben. Zoey was also the kind of girl who didn't overload herself her senior year, unlike Paige. She was a little more easygoing. I absolutely abhorred Paige's mother! She was so rude all the time and really forced Paige into doing things that she didn't want to do, which I hated. She was a bit too controlling for me. I did like Paige's father though; he was a little bit more understanding which I could accept. Finding Perfect was an extremely cute contemporary that I flew right through!
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating. I am so unbelievably happy that this book found it's way into my life. After finishing Finding Perfect, I realize I've done just that...found perfection. It has been a very, very, very long time since a book has captured my heart so completely that I'm left desperately wanting to find a way to tack more stars to the end of my rating. Especially a Young Adult novel! This book has done just that. I devoured it. Devoured! And now I sit here with the early symptoms of the dreaded book hangover settling in and wishing I had slowed down and truly savored it more. I'm in love. What can I say? It was flawless. I am such a character driven person. All of the characters in this book were just brilliant and full of depth and I absolutely loved them. Even Paige's mom, whom I completely, to the depths of my soul, despised up until the last few pages, I loved the fact that she inspired all of those feelings and emotions from me. She inspired just as many feelings as the rest of them did. I love when an author can do that to me. Make me hate someone, yet at the same time love the fact that I do. Well done, Kendra C. Highley! Paige was simply amazing. I wish I had had even 1/8th of her drive when I had been her age. She would strive so hard for perfection and put so much pressure on herself to live up to everyone's expectations and she did such an amazing job, but at the cost of an incredible amount of stress that no seventeen-year-old should have. Ever. Of course it doesn't help all the added pressures and expectations from her mother. I mean the girl is 4th in her graduating class but her mother acts as if she's not trying hard enough to be number 1. I hated it. I hated seeing what it was doing to her. I'm surprised Paige didn't have ulcers. It was brilliant, though, watching her grow and finding the courage to start living up to her own expectations and desires. She totally kicks major butt and is worthy of girl crush status. Ben was just a cupcake. I loved how smart and compassionate he was. How he took the time to look past "Perfect Paige" and dig a little deeper. Plus my heart melted at his relationship with his mother. They had such a sweet and inspirational type of dynamic. Ben has such a huge heart and he's the perfect person to have in your corner, cheering you on. I adore him. No. I more than adore him. There are just no words. And don't even get me started on the others, like Ben's mom who works her behind off for both her and Ben and was so encouraging and just a warm and happy person. To Paige's dad who, even though it took him a while, really stood up for his daughter and he was pretty freaking funny to boot. But also the person I was afraid I wouldn't like, Zoey. The gorgeous and popular best friend of Paige. But I loved her just as much as I did Ben and Paige as well. She is so awesome and I cannot wait to read her book because that teaser of an epilogue has me dying already! As I said in the beginning this book was just flawless. From beginning to end. It was sweet, emotional and full of angst. Oh the most delicious angst. The romance was so incredibly sweet and heartwarming. I loved this book. I can't wait for more. I need more!
So I went into this story expecting a cute, slightly chiched story that's been done before. Make over the cute but not hot guy so that the best friend would like him. What I got was a lot more than that. This story dealt with some great themes and went much deeper than simply that. One of the biggest strengths to this story for me was the characterization. We've all read stories and seen movies about kids whose parents have these huge expectations for their future, a big plan for what they'll be, and the teen kicking and screaming against it the entire way. This is Paige's situation, but it's a little different from what I've read and seen before. Getting to see inside her head made me love her. She's a classic people pleaser, and so she's not bucking the plan... she's actually killing herself to try and live up to the plan and her parents expectations. She doesn't say no to anything, and she's so overextended, I'm surprised she's still on her feet. I loved how hard she tried to please everyone, even as I felt sorry for her because of it. I loved the journey she undertook to understand that she doesn't have to be perfect. And it was Ben that helped her to realize this. She does make Ben over in exchange for help in math, as this is a subject she's struggling with. Bear in mind, this is a girl whose in the top four in her class. So she's no dummy, and I suspected her problems with math ran deeper than a lack of understanding. The entrance of Ben into her life changes everything. He's motivated, smart, and the more you get to know him, he becomes hot. He also becomes important to her in a way that has them both thinking about what they truly want. This story had some deep characterization to it that I loved. Both of these characters were extremely well-drawn. I flew through this story in a blink,and was deeply satisfied with both the romance, and the story's outcome. It was unique and the writing was very engrossing. A very, very good read.
This storyline was just so cute! The romance was perfect and fun. It wasn't instant love (thank you Kendra!), it was the unexpected slow burn. I love how it all came together even if it was a little predictable. I really liked that it wasn't just romance. It also centered around the relationship with her parents, especially her very overbearing, health-obsessed mother. The second half of the book is where it starts to spotlight her relationship with her best friend, Zoey. Paige always took the back seat where Zoey is involved and it was great to see Paige develop through the book and become this very confident person! I am always a big fan of dual points of view but some authors have trouble differentiating the voices. Kendra, however, did it flawlessly. I absolutely enjoyed seeing both Paige's and Ben's point of view. It adds to their characterization and it helps us relate to both of the characters. I think it also adds to the anticipation of their romance. I can't tell you how many times I [internally] yelled at them for all the miscommunication! At the same time, the way that they saw each other was so touching and beautiful, ugh, it pulled on my heartstrings. I absolutely enjoyed the writing. It was easy to get into and some scenes were written so effectively and wonderfully that they brought me to tears. The characters ... I love them so much! I could absolutely relate to Paige, having all the stress of not wanting to disappoint your parents and all. Paige is smart, loyal, funny, musically talented, and friendly. She wasn't that snooty rich person that you'd expect. She never treated Ben any different even though he lived on the poor side and she was beyond rich. When she said that she loved playing piano renditions of Imagine Dragons but also loved classical music, I knew I loved her character! I really loved her growth and how she stands up for herself in the end. Ben, oh Ben. I love you. Why aren't you real?! He's not your typical bad boy/dark-side-turned-good love interest. No. He's the unnoticed nerd who works two jobs to help mom pay bills and save money for college. He rides his bike because he doesn't have a car and his worn out clothes are from Wal-Mart. My heart seriously broke for him. His living situation was terrible but he carries himself so well, works for his future and wants to take care of his mom. He's a genius (with a nice bod, too), he's funny, and he's sweet. He's perfect! The relationship he forms with Paige was just wonderful! I wish we got to see more of Zoey because she was such a wonderful person. With how the book ended, I'm hoping that there's a book just for her! She's such an amazing best friend to Paige and there was a certain scene with Paige where I cried because of their friendship. You can tell how much Zoey cares for Paige. I also really liked Paige's dad. He was a little questionable at first but once he got more page time, you see what a great dad he is. As for Paige's mom ... woah. She's so mean haha. She meant well, I get that, but come on, live a little. Can an entire book me the most memorable moment? Cause I feel that way. I am in love with this book! I want a physical copy. Ben's point of view was also a favorite of mine. Seriously, he's that adorable! I love how unsure he is with girls and how he feels like he's doing something wrong *cries*. I love all the cute little things and notes that he gave Paige ❤ ❤ ❤. Totally swoon worthy! I also LOVE the scene with Paige's piano recital
Gahhh the cuteness was just too much! I gotta say, this was probably one of the sweetest romances I've read in a while. Paige and Ben were cute and very realistic as far as chemistry and interactions go. But truth be told, Zoey was my favorite. She is these best, best friend anyone could ever ask for. Any page where she gets more than a few lines is bound to make you laugh and appreciate her. I think the most interesting part of this story was the dynamic between Paige and Ben. Sure it starts as your typical rich girl needs help from the cute guy from the 'wrong' side of the track but that's kinda where the similarities end. This girl is NOT your shallow and vapid popular girl. She's intelligent and sweet and she's the adorable nerd as more than just a nerd from 'poor'side of town. She really sees him and likes what she sees BEFORE his transformation. It's different, and gives their chemistry a whole new level of awesome. I liked that while Paige's home life is seemingly perfect, there is a lot more depth to get character and her interactions with her parents. It made the story that much fuller. Another bonus is Ben. He's adorable and sweet and the absolute perfect match for Paige. Honestly, I loved reading in his POV. Based off of the ending I can only assume this will have a follow up and if that is the case, then I look forward to reading about my favorite character! Plus kudos to the author for using one of my favorite words in a Zoey line especially since it is the perfect word to describe this book and the 2 main characters... adorkable “I received an arc of the book from the author/publisher via NetGalley for my honest opinion. I was in no way compensated for this review and all opinions are expressly my own”
This is a brilliant high school romance with some of the best, well rounded, characters in a teen book I have ever read. The characters grow throughout the story in a believable manner and it is great to read the story from the points of view of the two main characters. The female lead is the daughter of wealthy parents with high expectations, Paige Westfield, whilst the male lead is the son of a single Mum who is struggling to make ends meet but loving and supportive of her beloved, hard working son, Ben Franklin. They are both exemplary students but whilst Ben tends to be overlooked in school, Paige is somehow expected to be perfect – hardworking, high achieving, a talented pianist, caring, friendly, helpful, sweet and attractive, too. When she struggles in calculus and only achieves a D, she is mortified. Fortunately, Ben offers to help her raise her attainment in exchange for help altering his image so her best friend will at least notice him! Coping with preconceived ideas about each other that quickly need revising this is a delightful story of the contrasting expectations and pressures imposed on high achieving teens. Paige’s Mum is dictatorial, blinkered and nothing Paige does seems to achieve the standards she expects her daughter to meet. Paige is struggling to cope with the pressure and it is great to see her mature and grow as the story progresses. Ben’s Mum may not be wealthy with money but she is wealthy in love and how she and Ben support and care for each other.. With misunderstandings, further attempts to be perfect and growing dissatisfaction with her future, life is anything but simple for Paige! Whilst Paige may give up on being perfect, the author has succeeded in writing a novel that is perfect for escaping into, a great read with fantastically developed characters and an enthralling plot. I do hope there will be a sequel starring Paige’s best friend and school sweetheart Zoey, probably with Luke as her other half! I’ll certainly be looking out for other books by this author in future and have no hesitation in highly recommending this to anyone who enjoys teen contemporary romance. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
An awesome YA read that I didn't want to end. This one has a great bunch of characters and is just a fun story to read. Paige Westfield is absolutely the perfect teenager. Hard working, great friend, never gets in trouble, and unbelievably failing calc! Failing! Perfect Paige can not fail. She's desperate to find a solution to this problem so when math nerd Ben Franklin proposes a deal, she has no choice but to accept. The deal, help make him over and set him up with her best friend Zoey. As Paige and Ben really get to know each other they find they are more alike than they thought. Now going through with the deal is going to be difficult with the attraction growing between them! This is a great read that I highly recommend.