I don’t believe in the theory of evolution. I can’t bring myself to believe that everything in the universe and everything that makes me who I am is based off of chance or a theory. However, I do believe in the evolution of a person’s character, and Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips is a perfect example of how our characters evolve in spite of adversity.
Lexi Shaw is practically an orphan; her father hasn’t been in her life since she was a little girl, and her mother behaves as if she is Lexi’s age. If it weren’t for the Bruces (her next-door neighbors), Lexi would’ve been homeless or even worse. To try to gain some semblance of normalcy, Lexi dresses up and acts as if her life is perfect; she wears a shit-ton of makeup to cover up the parts of her she doesn’t like, she’s friends with the most popular teens in her high school, and she’s had a lifelong crush on the flawless Ben Dorsey. However, among all her deep dark secrets, Tyler Flynn is her biggest. Lexi has been sleeping with Tyler to “release her pent up frustration” but lays down a set of rules Tyler must follow if he wants to continue seeing her–he must not acknowledge her at school or in other public places, he must not tell anyone about their arrangement, and, lastly, he must not fall in love with her.
Lexi, unlike some of the protagonists I’ve been reading about lately, is easy to empathize with. My heart broke for her when she uncovered the truth about her father’s whereabouts, and when I read about her most embarrassing moments at Oakfield High, I cringed as I reminisced about my own high school days. I couldn’t believe that she had to be subjected to such humiliation and shame. Still, by the middle of the novel I realized that Lexi’s character had to undergo these situations so that her character could evolve into something way beyond the girl who put up a front just to fit in. Plus, by the time Lexi is in her second year of college, she’ll realize that she doesn’t need to keep “re-inventing” herself but instead allow people to see the person she really is.
Another thing I noticed about Lexi is that she’s constantly trying not to be her mother: by not allowing Tyler to enter and leave her house through the front door at unreasonable hours but instead through the window, by owning up to her mistakes, by not holding grudges or keeping malice with the people who loved her the most, and by realizing that she’s not a victim of her situation. It almost as if she’s fighting to prove nurture right in the proverbial nature vs. nurture battle.
Overall, I loved reading Faking Perfect. I loved how realistic it was, and I loved the main and secondary characters. I loved how it was written. I also loved the fact that there was a significant development in not just the main character. This novel took me exactly 48 hours to read and I don’t regret reading any of it. During those hours, Rebecca Phillips earned herself a new fan.
Length: 272 pages
Source: Netgalley ARC
Publisher: Kensington (June 30, 2015)
Genre: Teens & YA Fiction, Romance
Completed: June 2015