Review: Almost Perfect

Review: Almost PerfectAlmost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Published by Delacorte BFYR on October 13, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

You only hurt the ones you love.

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.

“Everyone has one line they swear they’ll never cross, the one thing they say they’ll never do. Not something serious like I’ll never kill anyone or I’ll never invade Russia in the winter. Usually, it’s something less earth-shattering.

I’ll never cheat on her.

I’ll never work at a job I hate.

I’ll never give up my dreams.

We draw the line. Maybe we even believe it. That’s why it’s so hard when we break that promise we make to ourselves.

Sage Hendricks was my line.”

So begins Almost Perfect. I was hooked from this brief opening, which was not a chapter but not quite a prologue. It was, essentially, a hook. And it worked. The tone is effective established as serious, humorous and witty. The book definitely lives up to this opening. I will warn you that to not have a surprise spoiled, you shouldn’t read this review, but you also shouldn’t read the back of the book, so I’m going to go ahead and talk pretty openly about it, because it’s not about what’s going on so much as about how Logan, our main character, will deal with it.

Logan Witherspoon is in a bit of a rut when the story begins, having been dumped by his girlfriend Lauren, a few months before the story opened. He and Lauren dated for three whole years and he only got to first base. He still wants her back, even though she cheated on him; she had sex with some guy she just met (in a car outside a drug store – or was it a fast food restaurant – either way, classy) and he still dreams up reconciliations in his mind. So yeah, he’s a little pathetic, but it’s not like he has many good options in his tiny home town.

Then, one fateful day, a new student comes to his biology class. That’s right, you guessed it: Sage Hendricks. Sage is six feet tall, with riotous curly red hair, freckles, braces and wearing a ridiculous, brightly colored dress. Logan is immediately captivated. He wants her so badly from pretty much the first moment, even though she is not at all the typical girl. Boy, doesn’t he know.

Logan keeps trying to get with Sage, but she keeps pushing him away, citing overprotective parents, who let her younger sister do anything. Still, she flirts with him and he is completely frustrated. She has some secret and he wants to know it and he wants her. Finally, they make out. Then she tells him the secret. She’s a boy. But only biologically.

I loved Logan of the opening chapters, even with the whiny pining. He was funny and nice. The Logan of this part was not so much my favorite. It was really hard not to judge him for his reaction to the news, but, honestly, how is one supposed to react to that? No matter how open-minded you are, this is liable to come as a bit of a shock and require some readjustment.

Logan is not always a good guy. Sage is not always as fun or smart or confident as she seems. People are flawed and situations are unfortunate. This book definitely isn’t sunshine and puppies, but it is good and it deals with an issue I have rarely seen dealt with in literature (Middlesex, Annabel), and not at all in YA literature. To write this book, Katcher talked to real transgender folk about their experiences growing up, so he knew what he was talking about. Almost Perfect really does live up to its name in its own right, but would be worth reading for novelty’s sake anyway. This is a great addition to lgbt lit and teen fiction.

4 responses to “Review: Almost Perfect”

  1. Nori says:

    Interesting! And you’re right; I have never seen this in YA lit before. I will have to read it!

  2. Christina says:

    I think there actually may be one other one about transgender issues, but I haven’t read it yet. I didn’t remember until after I wrote this. It’s called I Am J.

  3. Gaby says:

    I love the cover it looks awesome and I can’t wait to read it 🙂

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