In this second book in The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Harper and Brody think they’re an unlikely match—but the senior class says they belong together.
As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.
Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together—first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.
The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
About the Author
Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. Her nine romantic novels for young adults have been published in seven languages and have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Aspen Gold Readers’ Choice Award, the Write Touch Readers’ Award, the Beacon, and the Booksellers’ Best Award. Her novel Going Too Far was a finalist in the RITA and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son. Visit her at Jennifer-Echols.com.
Read an Excerpt
FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHS WALLPAPERED MR. OAKLEY’S journalism classroom. Behind his desk, Martin Luther King Jr. waved to thousands who’d crowded the National Mall to hear his “I Have a Dream” speech, with the Washington Monument towering in the distance. Over by the windows, a lone man stood defiant in front of four Chinese tanks in protest of the Tiananmen Square massacre. On the wall directly above my computer screen, a World War II sailor impulsively kissed a nurse in Times Square on the day Japan surrendered.
Mr. Oakley had told us a picture was worth a thousand words, and these posters were his proof. He was right. Descriptions in my history textbook read like old news, but these photos made me want to stand up for people, like Dr. King did, and protest injustice, like Tank Man did.
And be swept away by romance, like that nurse.
My gaze fell from the poster to my computer display, which was full of my pictures of Brody Larson. A few weeks ago, on the first day of school, our senior class had elected the Superlatives—like Most Academic, Most Courteous, and Least Likely to Leave the Tampa/St. Petersburg Metropolitan Area. Brody and I had been voted Perfect Couple That Never Was. Brody had dated Grace Swearingen the whole summer, and I’d been with the yearbook editor, Kennedy Glass, for a little over a month. Being named part of a perfect couple when Brody and I were dating other people was embarrassing. Disorienting. Anything but perfect.
And me being named one half of a perfect couple with Brody made as much sense as predicting snow for Labor Day next Monday in our beachside town. He was the popular, impulsive quarterback for our football team. Sure, through twelve years of school, I’d liked him. He was friendly and so handsome. He also scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t date someone who’d nearly lost his license speeding, was forever in the principal’s office for playing pranks, and had a daily drama with one girl or another on a long list of exes. And he would never fall for law-abiding, curfew-obeying, glasses-wearing me.
So I hadn’t gone after him as my friend Tia had urged me to. I only found excuses to snap photos of him for the yearbook. For the football section, I’d taken a shot of him at practice in his helmet and pads. Exasperated with his teammates, he’d held up his hands like he needed help from heaven.
For the candid section, I planned to use a picture from my friend Kaye’s party last Saturday. Brody grinned devilishly as he leaned into his truck cab to grab something. I’d cropped out the beer.
For the full-color opening page, I’d taken a close-up of him yesterday in study hall. His brown hair fell long across his forehead. He wore a green T-shirt that made his green eyes seem to glow. Girls all over school would thank me for this when they received their yearbooks next May. In fact, Brody had implied as much when I snapped the picture. He made me promise I wouldn’t sell it to “a porn site for ladies,” which was why he was smiling.
In short, he was the sailor in the poster: the kind of guy to come home from overseas, celebrate the end of the war in Times Square, and sweep a strange girl off her feet.
I only wished I was that girl.
“Harper, you’ve been staring at Brody for a quarter of an hour.” Kennedy rolled his chair down the row of computers to knock against mine. I spun for a few feet before I caught the desktop and stopped myself.
“You’re not taking that Perfect Couple vote seriously, are you?” he asked. “I’ll bet a lot of people decided to prank you.”
“Of course I’m not taking it seriously,” I said, and should have left it there. I couldn’t. “Why do you think we’re so mismatched? Because he’s popular and I’m not?”
“Because he’s a local celebrity and I’m not?”
“No, because he broke his leg in sixth grade, trying to jump a palmetto grove in his go-cart.”
“I see your point.”
“Besides, we’re the perfect couple.”
Right. I smiled. And I waited for him to put his arm around me, backing up his words with a touch. But our relationship had never been very physical. I expected a caress now because that’s what I imagined Brody would do in this situation. I was hopeless.
I said brightly, “If I was staring at Brody, I was zoning out.” I nodded to the Times Square poster. “I get lost in that image sometimes.”
Kennedy squinted at the kiss. “Why? That picture is hackneyed. You can buy it anywhere. It’s on coffee mugs and shower curtains. It’s as common in the dentist’s office as a fake Monet or a print of dogs playing poker.”
Yes, because people loved it—for a reason. I didn’t voice my opinion, though. I was just relieved I’d distracted Kennedy from my lame obsession with Brody.
When Kennedy had bumped my chair, he’d stopped himself squarely in front of my computer. Now he closed my screen without asking. I’d saved my changes to Brody’s photos, but what if I hadn’t before he closed them? The idea of losing my digital touch-ups made me cringe. I took a deep breath through my nose, calming myself, as he scrolled through the list of his own files, looking for the one he wanted. I was tense for no good reason.
I’d known Kennedy forever from school. We’d talked a little last spring when Mr. Oakley selected him as the new editor for the yearbook and I won the photographer position. Back then, I’d been sort-of dating my friend Noah Allen, which made me technically off limits. Kennedy was a tall guy who looked older than seventeen because of his long, blond ponytail and darker goatee, his T-shirts for punk bands and indie films I’d never heard of, and his pierced eyebrow.
Sawyer De Luca, who’d been elected Most Likely to Go to Jail, had taunted Kennedy mercilessly about the eyebrow piercing. But Sawyer taunted everyone about everything. I’d had enough trouble screwing up the courage to get my ears pierced a few years ago. I admired Kennedy’s edgy bravery. I’d thought it put him out of my league.
We hadn’t dated until five weeks ago, when we ran into each other at a film festival in downtown Tampa that we’d both attended alone. That’s when we realized we were perfect for each other. I honestly still believed that.
I crushed on Brody only because of the Perfect Couple title, like a sixth grader who heard a boy was interested and suddenly became interested herself. Except, as a senior, I was supposed to be above this sort of thing. Plus, Brody wasn’t interested. Our class thought he should be, but Brody wasn’t known for doing what he was told.
“Here it is.” Kennedy opened his design for one of the Superlatives pages, with BIGGEST FLIRTS printed at the top.
“Oooh, I like it,” I said, even though I didn’t like it at all.
One of my jobs was to photograph all the Superlatives winners for the yearbook. The Biggest Flirts picture of my friend Tia and her boyfriend, Will, was a great shot. I would include it in my portfolio for admission to college art departments. I’d managed to capture a mixture of playfulness and shock on their faces as they stepped close together for a kiss.
Kennedy had taken away the impact by setting the photo at a thirty-degree angle.
“I have the urge to straighten it,” I admitted, tilting my head. This hurt my neck.
“All the design manuals and websites suggest angling some photos for variety,” he said. “Not every picture in the yearbook can be straight up and down. Think outside the box.”
I nodded thoughtfully, hiding how much his words hurt. I did think outside the box, and all my projects were about visual design. I sewed my own dresses, picking funky materials and making sure the bodices fit just right. The trouble I went to blew a lot of people’s minds, but sewing hadn’t been difficult once I’d mastered the old machine I’d inherited from Grandmom. To go with my outfit of the day, I chose from my three pairs of retro eyeglasses. The frames were worth the investment since I always wore them, ever since I got a prescription in middle school. They made me look less plain. If it hadn’t been for my glasses and the way I dressed, everyone would have forgotten I was there.
As it was, my outside-the-box look and the creative photos I’d been taking for the yearbook made me memorable. That’s why Kennedy had been drawn to me, just as I’d been intrigued by his eyebrow piercing and his philosophy of cinematography. At least, that’s what I’d thought.
I wanted to tell him, If this design is so great, tilt the photos of the chess club thirty degrees, not my photos of the Superlatives. Instead I said carefully, “This layout looks a little dated. It reminds me of a yearbook from the nineties, with fake paint splatters across the pages.”
“I don’t think so.” Turning back to the screen, he moved the cursor to save and communicated how deeply I’d offended him with a hard click on the mouse.
I kept smiling, but my stomach twisted. Kennedy would give me the silent treatment if I didn’t find a way to defuse this fight between now and the end of journalism class. Tonight was the first football game of the season, and I’d be busy snapping shots of our team. I was the only student with a press pass that would get me onto the sidelines. Kennedy would likely be in the stands with my other sort-of ex-boyfriend, Quinn Townsend, and our friends from journalism class. They’d all be telling erudite jokes under their breath that made fun of the football team, the entire game of football, and spectator sports in general. After the game, though, Kennedy and I would both meet our friends at the Crab Lab grill. And he would act like we weren’t even together.
“It’s just the way the picture is tilted,” I ventured. “The rest of it is cool—the background and the font.”
In answer, he opened the next page, labeled MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED. I hadn’t yet taken the photo of my friend Kaye and her boyfriend, Aidan, but Kennedy already had a place for it. He selected the empty space and tilted that, too, telling me, So there.
“When are you going to turn in the rest of these photos?” he asked me. “The deadline to send this section to the printer is two weeks from today.”
“Yeah,” I said doubtfully. “It’s been harder than I thought. I mean, taking the pictures isn’t hard,” I clarified quickly, before he reassigned some of my responsibilities. “It’s tricky to get out of class. We’ve had so many tests. And convincing some of our classmates to show up at a scheduled time is like herding cats.”
“Harper!” he exclaimed. “This is important. You have to get organized.”
I opened my lips, but nothing came out. I was stunned. I prided myself on my organizational skills. Kennedy should have seen the schedule on my laptop. My arrangements for these photo shoots were difficult but, in the end, impeccable. If the people who were supposed to pose for my pictures didn’t meet me, how was that my fault? I couldn’t drag them out of physics class by the ears.
“I need these shots on a rolling basis so I can design the pages,” Kennedy said. “You can’t throw them all at me on the last day. If you make us miss the deadline, the class might not get our yearbooks before graduation. Then the yearbooks would be mailed to us and we wouldn’t get to sign them.”
My cheeks flamed hot. What had seemed like a fun project at first had quickly turned into a burden. I’d been trying to schedule these appointments during school, around my classes. At home, I selected the best photos and touched them up on my computer. But I also had other responsibilities. I’d signed on to photograph a 5K race at the town’s Labor Day festival next Monday. And of course I had to help Mom. She ran a bed and breakfast. I was required to contribute to the breakfast end of it. I didn’t see how I could produce these finished pictures for Kennedy any faster.
“Is everything okay here?” Mr. Oakley had walked up behind Kennedy.
“Of course,” Kennedy said. From his position, Mr. Oakley couldn’t see Kennedy narrow his eyes, warning me not to complain. Mr. Oakley had said at the beginning of school that he wanted the yearbook to run like a business, meaning we students reported to each other like employees to bosses, rather than crying to him about every minor problem. That meant Kennedy had a lot more power than a yearbook editor at a school where the advisor made the decisions.
For better or for worse.
Mr. Oakley looked straight at me. “Can you work this out yourselves?”
“Yes, sir.” My voice was drowned out by the bell ending the period.
As Mr. Oakley moved away and students gathered their books, Kennedy rolled his chair closer to mine and said in my ear, “Don’t raise your voice to me.”
Raise my voice? He was the one who’d raised his voice and caught Mr. Oakley’s attention.
The bell went silent.
Kennedy straightened. In his normal tone he said, “Tell Ms. Patel I’ll miss most of study hall. I’m going to stay here and get a head start on the other Superlatives pages, now that I know we’re in trouble.”
“Okay.” The argument hadn’t ended like I’d wanted, but at least he didn’t seem angry anymore.
I retrieved my book bag and smiled when I saw Quinn waiting for me just inside the doorway. His big grin made his dyed-black Goth hair and the metal stud jutting from his bottom lip look less threatening. Most people in school didn’t know what I knew: that Quinn was a sweetheart. We wound our way through the crowded halls toward Ms. Patel’s classroom.
“I overheard your talk with Kennedy,” Quinn said.
“Did you see his designs?” I asked. “I understand why he’d want to angle some photos for variety if the pictures themselves were boring. Mine aren’t.”
“He’ll change his mind when he sees the rest of your masterpieces,” Quinn assured me. “Speaking of the Superlatives, Noah said Brody’s been talking about you.”
I suspected where this was going. Noah and I hadn’t been as tight this school year, since I’d started dating Kennedy. In fact, if I hadn’t checked Noah’s calculus homework every day in study hall, we might not have talked at all. But last spring when we’d gone out, he’d told me what great friends he and Brody were. Brody’s dad had been their first football coach for the rec league in third grade. They’d played side by side ever since. Now Noah’s position on the team was right guard. His responsibility was to protect Brody from getting sacked before he could throw the ball. Friends that close definitely shared their opinions of the girl one of them had been teamed with as Perfect Couple.
Brody must have told Noah it was ridiculous that he and I had been paired. He would never dream of wasting his time with a nerd like me. I should have told Quinn that whatever it was, I didn’t want to know. And still I heard myself asking, “What did Brody say about me?”
“Yesterday in football practice,” Quinn said, “Brody told the team that you two aren’t the Perfect Couple. You’re the Perfect Coupling. And then he expressed admiration for your ass.”
“Oooh.” I was thrilled at the idea of Brody noticing my body and wishing he could have sex with me. But I quickly realized I was supposed to feel insulted. I turned that “Oooh” into a more appropriate “Ewww. He shouldn’t kid around like that. Somebody’s bound to tell Kennedy.”
“Yeah, but . . .” Quinn looked askance at me. “Do you care, after the way Kennedy treated you just now? Why don’t you stand up to him?”
“Kennedy has a point,” I explained. “He needs my pictures for the Superlatives. If I miss a deadline and make him miss his, it doesn’t matter why. An excuse won’t fix it. And he doesn’t want me to argue with him in class, because it looks bad to Mr. Oakley.”
We’d reached Ms. Patel’s doorway and stopped outside to finish our talk. Sawyer was in our study hall. Sawyer and private conversations didn’t mix.
Quinn put one hand on my shoulder, something Kennedy rarely did. “I’ve worried long enough about keeping up appearances. I’m done with that today.”
I nodded. Quinn was making a big announcement at the end of the period.
“Come with me,” he said. “Come into the light. Stop worrying about how things look.”
I frowned. “We’re not in the same situation, Quinn. And how things look—that’s everything I care about.”
“You’ll be sorry.” He spun on the heel of his combat boot and disappeared into the classroom.
Perplexed, I turned to frown at the end of the slowly emptying hall. My senior year was supposed to be the time of my life. Two weeks in, all I felt was anxious about my photo assignment. And thrilled that a random hot guy, who would never ask me out, had made a joke about hooking up with me.
Tia leaned against the lockers outside Mr. Frank’s room next door. Will propped his forearm above her and leaned down to say something with a grin. She laughed. I was glad they’d gotten together earlier this week. Will had just moved here from Minnesota. After a rocky start, he seemed to be adjusting better. And Tia, a comedian, finally was genuinely happy.
She noticed me watching them and must have read the expression on my face. She stuck out her bottom lip in sympathy.
I shook my head—nothing was wrong—and dove into Ms. Patel’s room.
“Hey, girlfriend.” Brody grinned at me as I walked toward him between two rows of desks. His green eyes were bright, but the shadows underneath were visible despite his deep tan. He’d always had the circles under his eyes. When we were in kindergarten, Mom had wondered aloud whether he was getting enough sleep. In middle school, guys had teased him about being a drug addict. Now the shadows seemed like a part of him, permanent evidence of his rough-and-tumble life—and love life. He held up one fist toward me.
I fist-bumped him. “Hey, boyfriend.” The way we’d reacted to our Superlatives title underscored how different we were, and how imperfect a couple we would have made. I never could have admitted this even to Tia or Kaye, but I’d puzzled endlessly over what our classmates saw in us that led them to think we’d be good together.
In contrast, Brody called me his girlfriend and teased me. The “Hey, girlfriend” and the fist bump had been going on for the full two weeks of school. Every time we did it, I was afraid someone would mention it to Kennedy. He would pick a fight with me because I looked like I was flirting behind his back.
Brody didn’t seem concerned that someone would mention it to his girlfriend, Grace. The idea of me threatening their relationship was that far-fetched. Although—and this thought had kept me awake some nights—Brody never called me his girlfriend and fist-bumped me when Grace and Kennedy were around. He did it only in moments like this, a period without Grace, with Kennedy missing. Aside from twenty other students and Ms. Patel, we were alone here.
And if Brody had progressed to telling my ex-boyfriend, Noah, what he’d like to do with me when we were really alone, he was getting too close for comfort.
After dumping my book bag beside my desk, I asked Brody quietly, “May I talk with you?” I nodded toward the back of the classroom.
His eyebrows rose like he knew he was in trouble—but just for a moment. “Sure.” He jumped up with a jerk that made the legs of his desk screech across the floor. Four people in the next row squealed and slapped their hands over their ears.
He followed me to the open space behind the desks, next to the cabinets. In the sunlight streaming through the window, I noticed his slightly swollen bottom lip and a faintly purple bruise on his jaw. He must have been hit in the mouth by another football player—or punched by an irate girl. Leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, he was back to looking as flaked out and heroin-chic as usual. I almost laughed, because he was so handsome and he’d said something so stupid to get himself in hot water—except that the person he’d said it about was me.
“I heard you were talking about me in football,” I began.
He gaped at me. I couldn’t tell whether he was horrified that I’d found out, or fake-horrified. He didn’t say anything, though. He eyed me uneasily.
“What if Grace hears?” I asked.
He gave the smallest shrug as he continued to watch me, like he hadn’t considered the possibility and couldn’t be bothered to care very much.
Well, here was something I cared about. “What if Kennedy hears?”
This time I got the reaction I’d been dying for, though I would never admit it. Brody narrowed his eyes at me, jealous of Kennedy, frustrated that he couldn’t have me for himself.
Of course, I could have been interpreting his expression all wrong. But in that moment, the rest of the noisy classroom seemed to fall away. Only Brody and I were left, sharing a vibe, exchanging a message. His green eyes seemed to sear me. He was gazing at me exactly the way I felt about him.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've been a fan of Jennifer Echols for quite awhile now. I was ridiculously excited about the Superlatives series. It just sounded fun. Biggest Flirts was a good read, but Perfect Couple was far more my speed. It was so very close to being a five-star book for me! I found myself able to connect with Harper nearly immediately. It was partly because she's a photographer, but mostly because she was just real and likable. She wasn't conceited or too shy. I liked that she didn't fall into either extreme. She was a talented photographer with a boyfriend who was far less than charming. Brody was adorable and, as far as Harper was concerned, out of her league... regardless of what their classmates thought. There was definitely a sizzle of a connection between them, even though they were both at least somewhat involved with other people. I couldn't help but cheer them along as they navigated the waters of high school and their growing attraction to each other. I won't say much more because this book is best experienced and not spoiled. What I will say is that Perfect Couple was pretty much the perfect book for me when I read it. It was fun, charming and sweet... and the very best of what I've come to expect from Jennifer's writing. I'm even more excited about reading the next book in the Superlatives series now. I can't wait for Kaye and Sawyer's story! I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Jennifer Echols's Superlatives series stands out to me because it follows three best friends, Tia, Harper, and Kaye, and their romantic lives—each book designated for each respective girl—in a modern-day high school setting. Contemporary YA romance is probably my favorite genre (ever!) so I quite enjoyed Biggest Flirts, which is Tia's story. Perfect Couple is Harper's story, and while it does contain the same youthful charm as the first book did, I didn't find myself enjoying it as much. This book wasn't boring or hard to read in the least bit; overall, I got through it quickly and did not regret picking it up. It's just that I wasn't very invested in the main characters which, in Biggest Flirts, was one of the main strengths. Harper, our first-person narrator, is rather bratty and immature for being the smart one, which irritated me a lot. At first I was thrilled to that this second book was told in her perspective since she's the bookworm of the three friends, but I found myself rolling my eyes at her so-called intelligence frequently. I think I feel this harshly because she isn't just unlikable, but she's also weakly characterized. Echols doesn't give her enough of a personality or relatable voice, as she did with Tia. Harper's dialogue comes off as rather stilted and her point of view is very info dumpy. The second-most annoying part of the book: the insta-love. Harper has always known Brody as the hot unachievable athlete, but suddenly decides she's worthy of him because of the yearbook superlatives—because other people think so. Not because she discovers she likes him, or because she discovers he likes her, but because other people told her so. Being voted for Perfect Couple that Never Was (is that REALLY a thing, people? Really?? Anyone have that in their own yearbook?!) does not mean they're together... but Harper thinks it means they're immediately in a relationship. Pros: Light, easy-flowing plot // Lots of drama (that every good high school romance needs) // Recurring characters (Tia, Sawyer, Will, etc.) make the cast seem more familiar, like revisiting old friends // Grounding and realistic lessons about teenage love, not just a formulaic boy-meets-girl story Cons: Weak dialogue // Unremarkable and unrealistic plot // Harper is unlikable and melodramatic // Brody is unmemorable // No character development. At all // Internal and external conflicts are too disparate // Echols's style isn't anything to write home about // Disappointing after Book 1, Biggest Flirts Verdict: Fresh and entertaining yet still full of high school relationship drama, Perfect Couple is a decent continuation of the Superlatives series. Unlike the first book, whose characters really stood out and left an impression on me, this one seems more plot-driven—although admittedly, the plot itself isn't that strong either. I was more excited to revisit Tia and Will from Biggest Flirts in this book, and given the opportunity, I'd try Book 3 for Sawyer and Kaye, no doubt. While I am glad I got to read the second installment in this light-hearted romance series, I'm even gladder to leave Harper and Brody behind. Rating: 6 out of 10 hearts (3 stars): Decent for a first read, but I'm not going back; this book is decidedly average (whatever that means!). Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Simon Pulse and Itching for Books!).
I liked biggest flirts a lot but I loved perfect couple
I read Perfect Couple back in September because I couldn't not! Ever since I read Biggest Flirts, I needed the sequels to it. As soon as it was available for reviewing, I picked it up and read it in a single day. While Perfect Couple didn't surpass my love for Biggest Flirts, it was just the book I needed at the time: cute, adorable, fun characters, a great contemporary plot, and an addicting read. In Perfect Couple, we follow Harper and Brody, the two people that got voted something along the lines of the perfect couple that never happened. Harper is the newspaper photographer while Brody is the typical high school jock. I thought their relationship was sweet and adorable but sometimes I was so frustrated at them because they each had a boyfriend/girlfriend and if they feel they're developing feelings for each other… maybe staying with that person isn't the best decision? I loved how rational Harper was at times but when it comes to her heart.. that girl is the most naive person I know. She was very endearing. I have to admit that sometimes I really disliked Brody and his playboy persona. It really got to me and wanted to stick it to him and for Harper to ditch him and let him come groveling to her (wow was that too mean?). Still, overall, I think the progression of the plot was done in a way that doesn't really allow you to put the book down, which was what happened to me. This is why I love Echols' books. They are simple in relative terms to how extravagant some plots are, but still oh so deliciously addicting. I can't wait to pick up Most Likely To Succeed (which I have on my Nook already) to finally read about Sawyer's story. I love this new emergence of companion contemporaries. They make me so happy and let me live in the contemporary world authors create a little bit more. I definitely recommend it to all contemporary fans.
Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. How have I not ready anything by Jennifer Echols before??? I own 2 or 3 of her books that I meant to check out, but simply never got around to it. She seriously rocks! SO glad I got the opportunity to give this book a read. PERFECT COUPLE is a heap of fun. I took it down in less than 12 hours. The characters are adorable, the chemistry is awesome and there was some great heat between Harper and Brody. I love the buildup and the progression of their relationship. Although it turns out this book is part of a series, I didn't realize that until after I finished the book. It reads perfectly as a standalone. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you're looking for a quick and yummy read check it out!
It's more like 3.5, I think. Loved the main ship a whole bunch and they are ridiculously cute together. Plus swoony kissing, you guys!!! I didn't connect with the MC, to be honest, and the book was often over dramatic, but regardless, still enjoyable. Echols doesn't shy away from sex talk and sexier themes which is good seeing as it's YA and teenagers aren't oblivious to these things after all. It also has different races when it comes to characters and LGBT themes which is very appreciated. [Highlight to see a slight (?) spoiler] I'm so glad that it didn't have any L-bombs because the book takes place within a week or so and expressing love would have been just too much. DID I SAY SWOONY KISSING ALREADY??? Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars: ¿¿¿
Honestly, I didn't think this was some of Jennifer Echols best work. I didn't feel connected to the characters, and the story line was kind of bland. Overall, it was only an okay read.
Perfect Couple is the story of a boy and a girl who never thought twice about each other. Who barely have even spoken or much less hang out together. Until one day someone elects them for the yearbooks Superlatives, as the "Perfect Couple That Never Was". Now everything's about to change... Meet Harper! Has a passion for art and photography Parents are separated, lives with her Mom at a B&B they own Dating a boy name Kennedy, who is a total jerk Kind of a nerd, everyone loves her, dresses classy and vintage, accepting and kind Was elected the title "Perfect Couple That Never Was" with star quarterback Brody Meet Brody! High School jock star quarterback, hopes to play in college Is super hot but no conceited about it Dating "kind of" a cheerleader named Grace. Parents are divorced, lives with his Mom Was elected the title "Perfect Couple That Never Was" with school yearbook photogher, Harper Harper and Brody seem to come from two different worlds, why they were paired together for this title for the yearbook has Harper totally baffled. She knows Brody is dating Grace. She knows she's dating as well and should not ever be thinking of Brody or how incredibly sexy he is. But more so, she knows Brody would never go for someone like her, glasses and all. Talking to Brody is now a must because Harper is in charge is taking the Superlatives photo's for the yearbook including her's and Brodys. To her surprise Brody is totally cool with the title, in fact he was even caught talking about it with her football friends. Could Brody maybe be into Harper? The more Harper and Brody spend time together because of the title they come to really get to know each other and both begin to feel something, a spark. A new friendship? Blooming romance? Possibly love? Against all odds, can two totally different people fall for each other or is the title "Perfect Couple That Never Was" spot on?! Throughout the book I had such a mixed bag of feelings for this one. While I adored the first book in the series, Biggest Flirts this one was just not as good as I hoped it to be. I felt disconnected from the characters, I couldn't really form a bond with either Harper of Brody. The story felt rushed at times, and displaces in area's. I guess I just wanted more "POP, FIZZ, YEAAHHH" but I got "POP, FIZZ, Blah! The story itself was really good, the writing as always was beautifully done but there was just is missing element. I'm not sure how to describe it but have you ever watched a really good movie and you're enjoying it a lot but by the ending you're saying "That was it?!" Besides that I felt the book has a definite likability to it and was entertaining for the most part. If you love YA contemporary romance novels I would say give it a chance. Just because I wasn't blown away doesn't mean you won't be. There are a lot of great things about Perfect Couple I did love. Jennifer Echols knows her stuff when it comes to romance and writing steamy scenes between her characters. Although I only fell "in-like" and not "in-love" with Perfect Couple I will continue to read the rest of the series and remain a fan of the author.
I love stories featuring opposites, especially those where the couples are extremely unlikely, but realize their differences don't preclude them from being what the other person. I also like to read stories that are inter-related. It allows me to spend more time with favorite characters and see them threw different view points. One of the questions I had about this series was answered after reading this book. Could anyone read Perfect Couple without having read Biggest Flirts? Granted that question wouldn't make much sense since these books are all part of a trilogy, but I strongly feel I'd rate this story the same if I'd picked it up without reading Biggest Flirts first. I loved seeing Tia and Will again from Biggest Flirts, even if I didn't always like them in this book, but that was only for a moment. Harper and Brody were great. I may have wished for Harper to have more of a back bone when it came to things in her life and deal with things head one, but I came to appreciate how she handled herself towards the end of the book. Once again, Jennifer Echols has made me fall in love with the characters and story. I loved seeing Kaye and Sawyer, as well as meeting new characters like Quinn and Noah. I loved seeing both Harper and Brody expand their horizons and learn from each other. I also really liked how the book handled physical intimacy. I found it really hard to stop reading. I know there's one more book in this series, and I'm really excited and eager for it.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols Book Two of the Superlatives series Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication Date: January 13, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): In this second book in The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Harper and Brody think they’re an unlikely match—but the senior class says they belong together. As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out. Brody doesn't lack female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together—first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond. The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn't be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all? What I Liked: I’m not a huge fan of contemporary/realistic fiction novels, but I have always enjoyed Jennifer Echols’ books. I loved Such a Rush and Biggest Flirts, and enjoyed Dirty Little Secret. Add this one to the list – this might be my favorite of her books yet! In Biggest Flirts, we meet Tia and Will, as well as Kaye, Harper, Sawyer, and the rest of the crew. Harper is a good girl, the school yearbook photographer, who never breaks the rules. She’s dating Kennedy, the yearbook editor, who is honestly a pain in the butt. He’s annoying and self-centered and pretentious, but not in a jock way, but in a nerd way. When Harper and Brody Larson, the school’s quarterback and local heartbreaker, get paired together as the Perfect Couple That Never Was, Harper realizes that what was once a crush might be something more… except she’s got a boyfriend, and Brody has Grace. But that might not stop this couple, far from perfect as they might seem. I can’t remember Harper much, from Biggest Flirts, but I really, really like her in this novel. She’s quiet, definitely a bit passive, avoids conflict, and doesn’t like confrontation. She’s a pensive photographer, a genuine person. I can really relate to her. I’m not passive and I’m not a photographer, but I hate conflict and confrontation and I revel in the beauty of stillness and captured beauty. Poet souls, I like to say. But anyway, I like Harper, I feel for her, and I can relate to her situation. Brody is a wonderful male protagonist. He’s the quarterback of the football team, he’s good at what he does, he’s hot, he’s got a hot girl and a string of broken hearts behind him… he seems like your typical heartbreaking, sexy jock, but he’s also really sweet and attentive, when he wants to be. Okay. So. One of the huge reasons why I loved this book? Harper is a lot like me… and Brody is a lot like This Guy… and my personal (romantic) life parallels that of this book, a lot. Mine’s a sexy soccer player though. But. Same deal. Quiet, smart girl falls for popular, hot, athletic, player jock. It seems hopeless for the girl, until the jock shows her some attention, and then she can’t get enough. Harper doesn't always believe that she is good enough to be with Brody, that he wants to be with her. I like this portrayal of self-doubt. I feel the same self-doubt, though I shouldn't. Difference is, Harper got her happy ending. Me… currently not happy. Or ending. It’s like a never-ending cycle of hurt. But that’s a story for another day. I’ll do a post at the end of the year – I NEED to write a post about it. So anyway. I really enjoyed the romance in this book. Harper had a crush on Brody before the superlatives, but Brody slowly falls for her, and she really fell for him, for real. I love watching her slowly trust herself with him, and him slowly go after her. Very well-written, in my opinion. For most of the book, both of them are with their respective significant others (sort of). Harper and Kennedy really aren't a couple (they’re basically platonic friends, if so much), and Grace isn’t really Brody’s girlfriend. So, that was an interesting thing to see play out in the story. Overall, I really liked the book. There is more to the book than romance and relationships and whatnot, but the romance was something that really struck me (especially since it mirrors my own romantic life so well). I’m really excited to read Sawyer and Kaye’s story, in Most Likely To Succeed! What I Did Not Like: I almost wish this book were written in Brody’s perspective as well (dual, with Harper). Usually, I’m not a fan of that, but I think it could have worked. Also, I wanted more physical scenes from Harper and Brody. There are like, two, total. There are a lot of sweet expository scenes, sentimental ones, but there could have been more physical ones, especially during the “chase”. Would I Recommend It: YES! If you like contemporary novels, read this one, and/or anything by Echols. I’m not even a contemporary fan, but I love Echols’ books. The way she writes romance is so great! And her stories is very relatable, very authentic. Rating: 4 stars. More like 4.5 stars. I LOVE this book. It made me sad and happy and wishful and hopeful. Maybe we can all have a happy ending.