Perfect On Paper

Sophie Gonzales

Perfect On Paper
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Perfect On Paper

Sophie Gonzales

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips: Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes - for a fee. Uses her power for good. Most of the time.

Really cannot stand the new Australian jock at school, Alexander Brougham. Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else. Does not appreciate being blackmailed. But when Brougham catches Darcy in the act of collecting letters from locker 89 - out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service - that’s exactly what happens.

In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back. Darcy has good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could possibly go wrong?

Review

Everyone at school knows about locker 89. The process is simple: write a letter confessing your relationship woes, pay a small fee of $10, and wait patiently for the solution to appear in your inbox. Darcy Phillips enjoys her life under the radar; it allows her to run the operations of locker 89 in anonymous bliss. Despite never having been in a relationship herself, Darcy has read all the books and watched all the videos, and there is no teen romance drama that can stump her.

Enter Alexander Brougham, the tall, popular swimmer who has never given Darcy as much as a ‘hello’ in the hallway, and who catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89. Darcy has good reasons to keep her identity as the brains behind locker 89 a secret, and so accepts Brougham’s request for relationship counselling in exchange for his silence. However, Brougham’s mission to win back his ex presents problems that no amount of research can solve.

Perfect on Paper is a wonderfully fresh take on the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope. Darcy identifies as bisexual and is a member of the Queer and Questioning club at her school, and Sophie Gonzales manages to weave thoughtful and necessary conversations surrounding bisexuality and biphobia among the shenanigans of Darcy’s adventures. Gonzales is a master of YA romance that is as fun and light-hearted as it is thoughtful, and Perfect on Paper will appeal to fans of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and anyone who enjoyed Netflix’s Sex Education. For ages 14+.


Kealy Siryj works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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