Better Than Perfect – Simone Elkeles

Better Than Perfect (Wild Cards #1)

Simone Elkeles

Rate: 2.5

More often than not I select books based on their synopsis and not because of who wrote it, but there is an exception: this book is one of those exceptions. When I read multiple books by an author and enjoy them, meaning I give them a high rating, I am more likely to read one of his/her books even if I’m iffy about whether or not I’ll like it. I loved Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry series and I enjoyed the one book I read from her How to Ruin series (I read the last book first and kind of ruined the series for myself) so I thought I would also enjoy her Wild Cards series. However, while this is only the first book in the series, already I am not impressed. This is why reading a book because of who wrote it is an exception for me and not a rule: there is too much room for disappointment.

I wanted a dark and dangerous story like Elkeles’s Perfect Chemistry or Katie McGarry’s Take Me On, but I didn’t get that. Better Than Perfect had the makings for a good story (two teens from different socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual tension caused by an enemies-to-lovers relationship, and the couple separating just to be reunited), but it just couldn’t sell me the story. And I think the main reason I couldn’t connect with this story was Ashtyn. Ashtyn isn’t a terrible character, but in stories like Perfect Chemistry and Take Me On, I’m used to characters facing many hardships, but taking a moment to reflect on themselves and through this reflection becoming a better person who can tackle both the internal and external problems they are facing. Ashtyn didn’t seem to do this. She pressures Derek to face his obstacles, but doesn’t do the same soul-searching necessary for her to become a better person. I know this series isn’t meant to be a replica of Perfect Chemistry, but I do expect personal growth to occur in both individuals instead of being one-sided.

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