Ruthie has suddenly fallen in love with one of her best friends, Marcus. Just as she realises how much she likes him, a new girl appears at school. Jenna is perfect in all the ways that Ruthie isn’t and, worst of all, Marcus is definitely interested in the new girl. But Ruthie has her own secret weapon – Fabrique magazine’s ‘Goddess of Love,’ her Aunt Marty. Enlisting Aunt Marty’s help, Ruthie is on a mission to turn herself into a perfect girl and win the love of the boy next door.
Perfect Girl is definitely for younger readers, I’d say tweens and young teens, though the main character is supposedly fourteen. That said, Perfect Girl is a surprisingly deep book. With its cast of quirky characters; Ruthie’s chronic worrier mother, her seemingly perfect Aunt, the eccentric and talkative old lodger, Mr Arthur, Perfect Girl is far more about family than it is about chasing after boys. Ruthie’s chaotic family life and lack of a father leave her embarrassed and feeling not-quite-normal, but she slowly begins to appreciate her family for who they are.
Her position is an interestingly difficult one – her mother is hugely overprotective of her, she knows nothing of her father other than the basic information the sperm bank gave her mother, and her mum is currently at odds with her only other family member, her Aunt. This extreme situation makes Ruthie more than a little confused and angry, but it slowly untangles itself. While Ruthie may never achieve perfect, in chasing it she discovers more about her family and ultimately herself.
It’s a fairly short read, but well-written and fun, perfect for younger fans of Luisa Plaja or Liz Rettig.