Perfection and Other Illusive Things by J. Mercer is a breezy read and a well-crafted tale for fans of YA and coming-of-age. Eden decides to pursue her idea of perfection and sets out to be her perfect self — someone she has never been before. The problem is she is not aware, even faintly, of what she is bargaining for. She quickly realizes that decisions she makes based on her idea of perfection engineer disastrous outcomes, which include getting grounded, being removed from the volleyball team, and losing favor with the boy she is drawn to — Hawk. Can she right the wrongs and get her life back on track?
J. Mercer’s novel is thoughtfully plotted and it explores themes that are as realistic as they are philosophical. Some readers will love to pause and ponder on the quotes that are sprinkled throughout the novel. While this is an engaging story of a young female protagonist navigating conflicts resulting from her choices and decisions, it offers thoughtful ideas on humanity, authenticity, and the complex nature of human relationships. The character arc is impeccably accomplished and it is interesting to notice how Eden evolves through her understanding of who she really is. J. Mercer’s characters are sophisticated and multi-layered and she has the gift of writing relationships that are real and that pique the reader’s interest. The dynamics of the relationships between Eden, Hawk, and Ivy are written with skill and care, and they allow the conflict to take a unique form in the story.
Perfection and Other Illusive Things is a novel that successfully conveys the inner and relational conflicts we encounter when we choose to be someone else. J Mercier’s intelligent protagonist has credible depths that feel remarkably real, while the tensions building up at different fronts of her life will keep readers hooked. Readers will enjoy the complex characters and the rich world the author has created, and there is plenty of insights and thoughtful moments to feed on.