Summary: We Are the Perfect Girl
This book is a retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac play. It’s also a teeny bit similar to the premise of the movie, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. Aphra Brown in her own words, has a “big nose.” In fact, the nose which she and her sister inherited from their dad is so conspicuous to both girls that her sister undergoes plastic surgery to fix it. Understandably, Aphra is hurt by her sister’s decision; she stops talking to her.
The central plot, though, is Aphra and her friend Bethany’s relationship with the handsome and sweet, Greg D’Agostino. Greg seems to like Bethany, who is conventionally beautiful — one of the most beautiful girls in the school. But Bethany is painfully shy and cannot even string a conversation together with anyone besides Aphra and her immediate family. On the other hand, Aphra is quick witted and outgoing — always ready with the perfect comeback.
Aphra and Greg — unknown to Greg and Bethany — begin to talk via an agony aunt-type program Aphra created for her programming class. In a hilarious turn of events, Greg assumes that the girl behind the texts is Bethany. This starts a ridiculously funny chain of deceitful events.
This book is funny and really clever. On the surface, it reads like it’s a predictable, cheesy rom-com, but it’s more than that. Bethany and Aphra are smart girls and Greg speaks six languages fluently. There are many discussions and musings about human psychology both by Aphra, who narrates, and between Aphra and Greg. I also enjoyed the fact that both girls are programmers and part of their school’s rowing crew! We also see them compete in sports contests and rehearsals form a chunk of the book. Very cool!
Author Ariel Kaplan digs deep into the concept of conventional beauty and body dysmorphia. This book is also therapy positive as Aphra has regular visits to her therapist. I liked that the focus of the story was Aphra and Bethany’s friendships, and even though Aphra took center stage, we got to understand Bethany’s way of thinking too. Refreshingly, both girls’ parents — especially Aphra’s — have a strong presence in the story.
I found the ending quite unsatisfying.
[bctt tweet=”With two strong female protagonists, this novel is an ode to childhood friendships. If you’re interested in psychology, books about body dysmorphia, or books with female rowers, you’ll enjoy this book! @AAKnopf” username=””]
Overall: We Are the Perfect Girl
I really liked this book — so many elements all worked together. We Are the Perfect Girl is a clever young adult novel which dissects the idea of conventional beauty and attraction. With two strong female protagonists, this novel is an ode to childhood friendships. If you’re interested in psychology, books about body dysmorphia, or books with female rowers, you’ll enjoy this book!
[bctt tweet=”We Are the Perfect Girl by @ae_kaplan is a clever young adult novel which dissects the idea of conventional beauty and attraction.” username=”afomaumesi”]
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Have you read this book or anything by Ariel Kaplan? What did you think? I’d love to know!