PERFECT TEN by L. Philips


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A quest for the perfect boyfriend is rife with imperfection.

Two years after breaking up with his now–best friend Landon (the intensity was unsustainable), lonely Sam is eager for a new beau—a supply of which Athens, Ohio, isn’t flush with. So former-Catholic/current-Wiccan Meg (Sam’s other BFF) suggests dialing up the Goddess to summon a boy who meets Sam’s 10 requirements. After a cemetery incantation, Sam is delivered a quartet of options, one hiding in plain sight. He’s not convinced any live up to his expectations—mostly because he’s not really sure what he wants in a boy. Carefully positioned as not-a-coming-out book, the novel places homosexuality comfortably center stage. However, longing for love in an upper-middle-class Ohio far-removed from real-world tarnish feels so inconsequential as to make the rom-com narrative positively generic. The most substantial conflict comes three-quarters through; preceding that, not much is at stake in Sam’s search for someone “sexy” and “attractive” with “nice eyes” and “thick hair.” In Sam’s seemingly all-white Athens (besides Sam, Meg, and Landon, all four beaus are white—three being blond), he wonders whom he’ll bed, casually smokes pot, drinks occasionally, and fumbles through sexual chemistry and college applications. There is a ring of wit and comedy to Sam’s voice, but his told-not-shown intellect and esoteric taste are belied by his shallow list. His enthusiastic references to 1980s film and music only confuse the setting’s chronology.

Very light, occasionally enjoyable, but insubstantial guy chick-lit. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 6th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-425-28811-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2017


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