Publication: October 6, 2015, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
Future Perfect blew me away in one of those ways that I wouldn't change for the world. It's life-changing, heartbreaking and too relatable to me that I can't think about anything else anymore. It's unique, though troubling at times, especially for the main character, Ashley, who is put under constant pressure of being manipulated to lose weight and lose all of her self-confidence that she continued to have throughout the book. It's pretty horrible to have someone at your side constantly putting you down and making sure that you are going to change somehow. I'm not saying that I've put in Ashley's situation—no, never. But I'll tell you that I could relate to Ashley Ms. Overachiever than anyone else.
Ashley's grandmother is a good person, but a total worrier about too much. Every year on Ashley's birthday, she offers her a new thing or gift to make her lose weight. Disneyland, a shopping trip to Paris, you name it. This year, on her latest birthday, her grandmother offers her full tuition to Harvard if she goes for weight loss surgery. Ashley's weight never bothered her, but things are getting weird as she knows that this is the only chance she'll get to fulfill her dreams. She's going to be a legacy at Harvard, since her mother went there and followed her dreams as well. But of course, things get in between which could damage that "perfect future" forever.
"My hands shake and I hate every tremor. She wants the whole world for me, and this is the only thing I have to give her in return. She tells me this without actually saying the words. This is the only change I have to make."Yes, this is the "only change" she has to make. At first, Ashley's transition begins as a small thing that doesn't seem like a big deal. She initially doesn't get the message that her grandmother is practically tormenting her in embarrassment that her granddaughter is overweight and needs to change her image. It's like bribery and blackmailing—that's what this book has. It's horrible in Ashley's situation, but it's amazing for readers since we were given the chance to read about such a pleasureful story that we won't ever be given the chance to read about again in the near future. There's no book out like this in the world, that's for sure.
I'm an overachiever, and kind of proud? Ashley has dreams, she wants to be a doctor and attend a good school. That's kind of what I've been beginning to think about, and I spent the summer researching and going crazy about what I'd like to do. It's a crazy deal that Ashley's grandmother has put Ashley in, but I kind of get it. It's not right for a family member, or anyone to be tormenting you, making deals with you to change your image. It's not like Ashley has any kind of a horrible personality. No. She's happy, and that makes readers and everyone happy. She's not a miserable protagonist, she's living life and doing the things that everyone should do, like a bucket list in a way, except it's one before college.
This doesn't have any romance at all. At least, not really. Ashley does have a boyfriend, whose name I won't mention because some spoilers could absolutely sprout up out of nowhere. But I'll tell you—she doesn't deserve to be treated the way she was by her friends, acquaintances and everyone around her. To be honest, her family was the worst out of everyone, which isn't just at all.
"Everything here is familiar. It is easy to settle into the things I know and the things I understand. Things that are real, unequivocal. Things that can't be broken."
I'm so proud of this whole novel because it hits readers' hearts. I can't stop thinking about it, smiling over the little lines and phrases that Jen Larsen provided us with, and I need more. More about this subject and more contemporary that focuses on so much more than your average, ordinary tale. The plot is fast-paced here and there, but it slows down. That's my only complaint, but I'd rather not focus on that since everyone could have a different opinion on that. The most important thing to me is that there's feels sprouting up from me and that I feel like this story could influence others and make them happy, even if there are some unfair and sorrowful parts of it.
I'm now happy and could call this a success because Ashley turned out to be happy. I've been waiting for this book for ages, and I feel have read it and am satisfied. Future Perfect is everything you've been waiting for this whole year, and after it, you'll just expect more to be flying towards you. Standalones hit me hard when they're looked upon at with tough subjects, but this was definitely a more positive, different look at teenagers stuck in the situation of being "fat." Some things are only stereotypes, but this book screws the stereotypes and goes through a new perspective that's worth reading and waiting for.