Darcy Phillips is a love guru. Through her top-secret relationship counseling service—she emails advice in response to notes her classmates pass discreetly into long abandoned locker number 89—Darcy can solve any romantic woe, no matter how epic or seemingly trivial.
When popular senior Alexander Brougham spots Darcy opening the locker, however, he quickly pieces together her secret, putting both her business and her reputation at risk. Darcy agrees to help Brougham win back his ex-girlfriend in exchange for his silence, but the task will put her relationship knowledge to the test in more ways than one.
Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper effortlessly conveys the complex web of social interactions that high school students navigate every day. Darcy’s frank, thoughtful and not quite self-aware narration is captivating and genuine, an authentic depiction of young adulthood in the 21st century. Teen readers will connect with Darcy’s struggles, cheer for her relationships, cringe at her missteps and maybe even take a piece of advice from locker 89 to heart.
Gonzales’ novel also admirably reflects recent shifts in the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in YA literature. By including both queer and transgender characters whose sexuality and gender identity are neither their defining trait nor the source of the conflicts that drive their narratives, Gonzales reflects the lived experiences of teens today and delivers a relatable read with multiple points of identification.
Heartfelt, witty and thoroughly entertaining, Perfect on Paper is an enthralling tale of young love and the joy, heartbreak and growth it brings.