{ARC Review} Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

Title: Perfected
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Published: 1st July 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Source: eARC provided via Netgalley for fair & honest review
Rating: 3/5

I was bred to be the perfect pet. I was bred for my beauty and grace, to be a showpiece, an ornament to sit upon the couch, to sing, to dance, to play the piano and paint. I was bred to willingly put my owner's happiness before my own.
Until Penn. The handsome and rebellious son of the congressman who owns me, he's the only person who's seen past my perfect exterior to the girl underneath. Falling for him is forbidden. Falling for him is freeing.
But there's a dark underworld lurking beneath my pampered life. The only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn's family is escaping it, because if I fail, I face a fate far worse than death...

Interesting & Unique Concept, But Lacked Emotional Depth 

The story:
This is such an interesting an unique concept, with young girls being bred as 'pets' for wealthy 'owners'. It's a premise that had a lot of potential, but sadly it didn't live up to my expectations.

After being 'purchased' as a 'pet', she moves into her new home with the family. To Ella her new home seems perfect; new clothes, a beautiful bedroom and access to basically anything she wants. As she gets to know her family, it's their son that intrigues her the most and has her wishing for a future she's been taught is never possible - it's her job to make her owners happy - her feeling mean nothing. Penn is the only one who treats her as an actual person and not property or toy to be played with.

The idea of these girls being bred as pets is obviously ethically wrong and quite disturbing, but what happens to them isn't all that bad in comparison to characters in other dystopian worlds. Basically they just have to sit around in expensive dresses looking pretty and occasionally play an instrument or sing. They aren't slaves - they are literally treated like a well loved dog - which is of course wrong and extremely weird, but it didn't really evoke the kind of anger I'm used to feeling with a dystopian world. I mean obviously it's extremely wrong keeping a person as a pet, but I wanted to see something more extreme. Everything that happened seemed watered down and it was all rather...bland MAJORLY CREEPY, but bland.

I also found it difficult to understand what the benefit of these 'pets' were. They don't really do anything, they don't have to cook or clean, and Ella only occasionally plays the piano for her 'owner' (yeah that word is weird). The only mention of what the owners get out of it, is a 'status symbol' of their wealth, but surely there are better & less weird ways than owning a person as their pet, I just don't get how it's appealing to these wealthy people - especially the wives?!

The characters:
Ella is extremely naive to the ways of the world because of her upbringing in the 'kennels' where she was trained to be a pet. She can play the piano perfectly and has impeccably manners, but can't read, swim and doesn't understand was sex is - she's never even heard of a kiss! Because of this, she's quite gullible at first, but starts to realise that things may not be the way she's always been told. I did enjoy seeing her grow and realise she might be able to think for herself and have a real future

Penn was a cardboard cutout character. He's hot (of course), can play the guitar and has an eclectic taste in music, which leads him to be completely misunderstood by his parents. But that's really it. I couldn't picture him in my head and I just could connect with him on an emotional level.

The romance:
Ella & Penn's romance was rather empty. At first Penn doesn't like her because he doesn't like the idea of pets, but he comes around to her quickly. I did enjoyed seeing him treat her like she was a regular girl and not a pet. It really highlighted how differently everyone else treated her. But I didn't really feel the connection between them. Despite that I did think their first kiss was adorable, where he shows her what a kiss is - so sweet!

The writing:
The overall feeling of this book was very cold and clinical. The entire book lacked any emotion and as a result I felt very detached from the characters and their story. There was a small amount of mystery surrounding what happened to the family's previous 'pet', with 'subtle' clues being dropped. But those clues where about as subtle as a smack in the face and most people will work out what happened very early on. It was very slow to build and it's not until the very end of the book that any real action takes place. This was the most exciting part of the whole book and I really enjoyed the last 15% of it. It left me asking where all this excitement was in the rest of book?!

Unfortunately this story and the emotionless writing style just didn't work for me. While the premise of the book was really interesting I just couldn't get invested into the character's story enough. The ending is what saved it for me, it grabbed my attention and has me intrigued for a sequel. I just hope that it will continue on with the excitement from the last few chapters.

Sexuality: medium / some kissing, discussions of sex, pregnancy & 'spaying' human pets
Violence: mild / some minor gun violence
Language: very mild/ occasional sh*t, no f words
Drugs & alcohol: mild


  1. It really sucks when you have this amazing premise and then nothing. At least the ending made up for it. I actually have to read this book for a tour. Maybe I'll enjoy it a little more. Great review though, very detailed!

    1. Thanks Jazmen!
      It probably didn't help that I had such HUGE expectations for it either. I was surprised by how great the ending was compared to the rest, so hopefully you'll really enjoy this one!

  2. Bummer Amy! I have this one for review too. Character connection is a huge thing for me, so I think this is something I'll notice and will have issues too.

    1. It totally agree Jess, that connection with the characters is so important for me too. Hopefully you'll have a bit better luck with this one than me, I'm be looking out for your review now ;)

  3. Wow what a unique sounding book, I haven't heard of this concept used before but you're right, it does sound exactly like a dystopian but actually not too bad at all. Sounds like it could have been developed a little more convincingly. Lovely review Amy!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence


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