Books · Reviews

Book Review: Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+, romance, young adult

Representation: Bisexual protagonist, transgender secondary character, Vietnamese-American lesbian secondary character, lesbian secondary character, Korean-American gay secondary character, bisexual secondary character, asexual secondary character, pansexual non-binary secondary character, and possibly more that I’m forgetting about

Content warning: Biphobia, internalised biphobia, toxic parents

Summary: Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke… who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

Add it on Goodreads.

I have no words to express just how much I loved this. I had been seeing it around the blog-sphere for a while and I was super interested in it, but I just wasn’t ready to love it this much. I was pretty certain I was going to enjoy it—after all, it was promising me a bisexual girl giving out relationship advise while her own love life was far from perfect—but I couldn’t anticipate how much more this would offer.

First of all, I want to talk about the immaculate bisexual representation. There is a constant reiteration of what being bisexual means; Darcy has to remind people a few times that she is queer, and her attraction towards men doesn’t make her any less so. Despite this, she herself deals with internalised biphobia, something that is addressed in detail in a very sweet scene where everyone reassures and supports her.

Besides this, the diversity of both people and relationships is beautifully presented. From romantic to sibling relationships, everything is treated with great care and respect. That was probably my favourite aspect of this book. Darcy gives out relationship advice to her peers, and we have some letter exchanges at the beginning of chapters. She always tries to give her best response and never forgets to bring up respect, boundaries, and communication in all of her advice. Moreover, there are a few scenes depicting friends taking care of each other when under the influence of alcohol or edibles, assigning a designated driver, and overall practising responsible drinking and driving. Darcy’s relationship with her sister Aisling is also fantastic, there is a sense of true camaraderie which was very lovely and fun to read about.

Not only are Darcy and Aisling great characters, the rest of the cast is also fantastic. And I don’t mean fantastic in the sense that they are perfect and never make mistakes but rather quite the opposite. Bertie @ Luminosity Library talked about letting queer characters also be messy, and in my opinion Perfect of Paper nails that. Some of these characters are selfish and petty and do some bad things, but that just makes them more real and interesting. They are also really entertaining to read about: Darcy’s sense of humor and especially her banter with Brougham had me laughing out loud.

Of course, there were cheesy over-the-top moments, but they were delivered in a way that to me didn’t feel crigey or forced. They actually worked pretty well with the flow of the story. Also, despite the messiness that does occur, everything is handled with an overall positive vibe and utmost respect. That’s the main driving force of this book and what, in my opinion, makes it such an enjoyable read.

All in all, this was a surprise 5 stars for me. I knew I was going to like it, but I couldn’t have predicted just how much I would end up loving it. The flawless representation of bisexuality, the beautiful depiction of relationships and the fantastic cast of characters made this a thoroughly enjoyable read for me. I definitely encourage you to read it!

Have you read this? What did you think about it? If you haven’t, do you plan to?

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

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