Cover Image: The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist

The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist

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DNF at 38%. I was not reared on fan fiction, but that hasn't stopped me from trying some stories out that are based on that! This one for me, though, I just couldn't get into. It reads like a 90s/00s Disney movie, which is both good and bad.

I don't think it's a bad book, I'm just not wasting my time on St. Martin's e-ARC titles if they aren't capturing me fully. Which stinks because Sophie Gonzales has so many books I enjoy! Just couldn't stick it out for this one.

Thanks to them and Netgalley for the e-ARC.

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Did Not Finish at 20%

I’ll be completely truthful with you guys: this book was a mistake for me to pick up.

You know when you think you have an idea of how a book is going to go, so you pick it up, only to realize that it is actually going a different way that should have been obvious from the description? That was The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist for me.

I found the idea of a girl who writes fanfiction and ends up having her favorite character come to life to be an interesting concept. I’m sure a lot of people out there wish they could interact with the characters from their favorite piece of media, and as someone constantly thinking about the world of their favorite book, I thought this would be a fun book to pick up!

And there was a lot I was intrigued by in this book.

For one, while I didn’t get far enough to understand the relationship between Ivy and her ex-best friend, Mack, I was interested in seeing how their relationship changed from being so close (to the point that Ivy used to have a crush on Mack) to being enemies.

I was also really enjoying the way this book kept jumping between the past and present to show their relationship. As I made my way through the book, the details of what happened between Ivy and Mack in their past were slowly revealed to me, interspersed with scenes of Ivy struggling to figure out what to do with her very fictional favorite character, Weston.

But beyond that, I couldn’t find much else to enjoy in this book.

For one, I did not like Weston. At all. To be fair on the book, the whole point is that the idea of Weston should be appealing to Ivy, but the actual man himself shouldn’t. We’re not really supposed to like Weston. But when we’re confronted by a man who is extremely clingy, aggressive, and possessive of Ivy and are stuck with a main character who is enamored by his presence alone, it becomes a little difficult to read about.

For two, the writing in this book, especially when about Weston and the things he says… pained me. That might be a plus to Sophie Gonzales’ writing, considering how the version of Weston in this book is based off of Ivy’s immature writing style, but the purple prose? At 20% of the way through the book, he says (and I quote) “As long as I’m with you, I could sleep on a bed of molten coals beneath a blanket of thorns, and I’d cry out not in pain, but in ecstasy.”

I can’t. I had to put the book down and never pick it up again from that line alone.

Also? This is me being very open and honest with you guys in a way that’s embarrassing, but I… thought Mack was a guy. Before I started actually reading this book, based off of the cover alone, I thought Mack was the blond boy on the cover.

That’s Ivy. On the cover. Our main character. Mack is a girl, and this is a SAPPHIC ROMANCE NOVEL.

But that just goes to show how incredibly wrong my assumptions of this book were before I picked it up.

This one’s my fault. I’m sorry.

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Sophie Gonzales has upped her writing game in The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist, with an adorable story which will satisfy a multitude of literary genres, including young adult, LGBT, romance, fantasy/science-fiction and of course, her wicked sense of humor.

Ivy Winslow is looking forward to the upcoming week. Her parents will be away, and she will have the house all to herself. Of course, as a young girl in high school, she is being guarded by her former best friend Mack’s parents who live across the street. But for the most part she eagerly looks forward to eating junk food and watching her favorite show with her only friend, Henry.

Sure, she misses her best friend Mack, who she spent almost every day with basically her whole life, but because of stupidness, jealousy and stubbornness on both girl’s part, they have stopped speaking. Yes, perhaps if Ivy was truly honest, she did have a bit of a crush on Mack, but she is sure it certainly was not reciprocated.

So, when Ivy goes to sleep that first night, she never would have imagined awaking to find a guy in her bedroom staring at her who says his name is Weston, but he looks identical to the main character of her favorite show, H-Mad. He seems to think they are in love and will live happily ever after. He has plans for the two of them. She has no idea what this is about and how this could have possibly happened. But Weston begins causing problems from the get-go.

With no one else to turn to, she finally tells Henry and gulp, yes Mack. She needs help trying to figure out how to get rid of Weston! At least by the time her parents get home! But Weston does not want to leave and will do anything in his power and yes, he does have powers to prevent Ivy and her friends from getting rid of him.

In reality what actually starts to occur is the three anti-friends decide to work together to get rid of Weston, and as they begin to get close to each other, open up to each other and discover you can leave your past issues behind forgive what has happened and what has been said, start anew with new friendships and even find confidence and yes, love. Poor Weston!

Thank you #NetGalley #WednesdayBooks #SophieGonzales #ThePerfectGuyDoesn’tExist for the advanced copy.

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Rating: 2.75/5 Stars

Thank you, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!

I thought I was gonna love this because I loved Perfect on Paper, also by Sophie Gonzales, but I was mistaken. I wish I loved it. Honestly, it kinda broke my heart because Perfect on Paper meant so much to me and is one of my comfort reads.

All of the little details about the tv show, H-Mad were amazing and Sophie Gonzales' writing is amazing.

Henry was first. I thought he was so fun but as the book went on he started to annoy me.

I think Ivy was great. Her character's growth was amazing and just felt...realistic? That might not be the right word.

Weston was so funny. Ivy just wrote fan fiction about Weston as an outlet for feelings which was so real of her. Especially when she wrote the enemies to lovers fanfic and was all like 'it was popular.' It served as a good reminder that if real men said not even half the stuff most fictional men from fantasy books say then we would call the cops.

About the wasn't my favorite. My mistake was I expected more romance than there was but that is 100% my fault. I also felt like Mack and Ivy honestly just worked better as friends.

The last book I read by Sophie Gonzales (the one before this) I loved so much so I definitely will be reading another book by her soon.

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I giggled and snorted so many times reading this book – the satire is absolutely amazing. I loved the characters and felt so drawn into Ivy’s relationships with her best friend Henry and her ex-best-friend/ex-crush Mack.

The tension and the longing are so fantastic for a YA Romcom and to top it off, there’s so many relatable moments with Ivy’s nerdiness of writing fanfic and obsessing over her favorite TV show with her best friend. I couldn’t put it down and I had such a great time with the characters.

Did I mention this is gay? It’s super gay, I’m obsessed.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press | Wednesday Books for an E-ARC copy of this book!

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I received a complinetary copy from the publisher and all opinions expressed are mine.

This is a feel good romance for fans of enemies to lovers and fan fiction. Imagine bringing your favourite fictional character to life.

The book follows Ivy who hapens to decide to stay in and binge watch her favorite tv show. A dream right? This goes according to plan until she wakes up to find Weston, the fictional main character of H-MAD, in her bedroom, claiming to be her soul mate. As bonkers as this is she asks her friend Mack to help find out why this is happening .Quite fast paced ,well written and characters well developed makes this an interesting read.

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There’s a simple formula: Sophie Gonzales writes a book, and I read it. TPGDE is clearly no exception. This book feels like a love letter to fan culture, with the heavy emphasis on fandom and fanfiction aiding the romantic, platonic, and self-love stories at play. It’s also slightly bizarre enough that even though I am several years past 16 I felt very much like I could have been in Ivy’s shoes. It has the classic charm I’ve come to expect from Gonzales’s books, with very queer characters and friendships intertwined with romance. And it’s so fun to see the way all the characters and their relationships develop, especially once Weston enters the picture. This book was fun and funny while also dealing with some serious introspection from the characters, who are still very much teenage characters in the best way, all at one time. However, I need authors to stop coming up with fake fandoms that sound so cool because then I’m upset I can’t actually consume content from it!! All in all, this was a fun romance and self-growth story with the bizarreness of a fanfiction character come to life, and I’d definitely recommend it!

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Book 16 of 2024 - ☑️! Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books & Sophie Gonzales for the ARC of The Perfect Guy Doesn't Exist by Sophie Gonzales in exchange for my honest review.

This is my 2nd Sophie Gonzales book (If This Gets Out was the first book of hers that I read, and thought it was really well-written). I tend to be more picky about YA novels, and while I liked If This Gets Out a bit better, The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist was an enjoyable read. This friends-to-enemies-to-lovers, magical realism, multiple timelne YA Romance follows Ivy Winslow - a teenager obsessed with the fictional TV show H-MAD, who loves hanging out with her best friend (and equally H-MAD obsessed) Henry and who skillfully avoids her former best friend and crush turned enemy, Mack. When Ivy’s parents go out of town, Ivy must deal with her TV show crush, Weston, come to life from the way she depicted him in fan-fiction, when her parents go out of town. Bonus points for representation in the book - both race/ethnicity and LGBTQIA+.

I know this won’t be my last Sophie Gonzales book. 3/5 🌟 overall, and since this was a YA book, a 🌶️ rating is not applicable. 📺 🪄💻 #NetGalley #ThePerfectGuyDoesntExist

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In The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist by Sophie Gonzales, fanfic writer Ivy Winslow has the house to herself for a week while her parents are away. Her plans to hang out with Henry, her best friend, and binge-watch her favorite fantasy TV show while avoiding Mack, her former best friend-turned-enemy, go awry when Ivy wakes up to find Weston, the gorgeous, fictional main character of H-MAD, in her bedroom, claiming that he’s her soul mate.

Gonzales’ writing is lively, crisp, and vibrant, with detailed descriptions. She develops her complex, fascinating, messy, and conflicted characters through funny, snarky, emotional, sweet, witty banter and interactions. I love that you never know exactly where her characters will be at the story’s conclusion. You hope, but you don’t know for sure because she throws surprising twists and turns into the story—she takes the time to develop efficiently—that makes you doubt that the characters will get the happy ending you want for them.

Somehow, Ivy’s fanfic writing brings Weston from her stories to life. But after spending time with him, Ivy discovers that the qualities and tropes she swoons over in her stories are not quite so romantic in reality. Even worse, having her fanfic/TV crush come to life causes her incredibly frustrating real-world problems. To figure out why Weston is here and how to either get him back to where he belongs or help him settle into life in the real world, Ivy teams up with Henry and Mack, grudgingly, after avoiding her is more challenging than she thought it would be. Now that Mack is in her life again, Ivy must reconsider whether Weston—this “perfect guy” she created—is the one who’s perfect for her or if she’s been blind to the person who is genuinely ideal for her all this time.

Gonzales explores Ivy and Mack’s and Ivy and Henry’s relationships by alternating between the present and flashbacks. She smoothly manages these transitions without affecting the novel’s pacing and tone, which is surprisingly a bit dark at times but works for the story. I love Ivy’s relationship with Henry and how they could be honest with each other as friends should be, but people find it difficult to achieve most of the time. I wish we could have seen more of Ivy and Mack’s friendship before the fractures started to show. Their relationship is primarily antagonistic or in the early stages of falling apart. We don’t get to see much of the happy, healthy, deep friendship we presume they used to share—a crucial part of the story that was missing. But sometimes, seeing people at their worst and how they interact tells you more about who they are and whether they can make it through the good and bad times. Gonzales’ character interactions are one of the best parts of her writing and books. More interactions between Mack and Ivy would have improved the development and exploration of their friendship/relationship. It was missing for me in the novel.

The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist is nothing like I expected, which shouldn’t surprise me because Gonzales always gives me an entertaining read— unlike anything I’ve read or thought it would be. However, my expectations for this one were so high, and I wanted something more romance-focused throughout the book. Give Gonzales all the kudos for writing the story she needed and wanted to tell, even though it may not have been the story I was hoping for or expected. That said, I did mostly enjoy the journey her multilayered story and flawed, hot-mess characters took me on. A thoughtful, funny, suspenseful, sweet, witty, angsty, and fast-paced YA romance, The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist is an entertaining read that explores friendship, unrequited love, first love, fandom culture, sexual identity, coming out, belonging, romantic escape, and writing.

3.5 stars

An advanced review copy was provided by Wednesday Books via Netgalley for review.

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I am participating in the St. Martin's Press boycott. I will not be publicly reviewing this title until St. Martin's Press addresses reader concerns.

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- THE PERFECT GUY DOESN’T EXIST is a very fun read. This book revels in romance tropes and is very silly while also touching on some tough friendship feelings.
- I love a prickly girl character, and both Ivy and Mack bring that vibe while they try to sort out how they feel about each other.
- Something about the dual timeline structure made it feel like arguments got rehashed a few times too many. But aside from that, I had a great time with this book.

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What would you do if your absolute favourite fandom character suddenly appeared in your life? The one you write your own fanfic about? Like honest to gosh, in the flesh, appeared in your house? Might that be an ideal situation, or might it actually turn into a bit of a nightmare? That's the situation Ivy finds herself navigating in Sophie Gonzales' entertaining novel.

The premise here is great. So many of us have that character that we are completely convinced would be the "perfect" partner for us. And if you have ever written fan-fic, you know that the temptation to dream about "what if..." the line between worlds got blurred is a big one. The characters are well-drawn, although I feel like we could get to know Mack, Ivy's long-time crush and former bestie turned enemy, better. Henry, Ivy's new best friend, who shares her addiction to their favourite show, was probably my favourite character here. The high school scenes are realistic, as is Ivy's total eventual horror at the chaos she has unwittingly unleashed on her life by manifesting the appearance of her favourite character into her own everyday world.

And yet, for whatever reason, this didn't come together for me. I adored Sophie Gonzales' "Never Ever Getting Back Together" , mostly because of the fabulous snark. I think I might have needed more snark in this one. For me, the appearance of the fictional character came across as creepy, rather than funny.
3.5 stars from me. Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday books for the e-arc.

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This was a really interesting read! Not only will this book make you ponder what it would be like if your perfect person, the way you wrote them, existed…but what it would be like if other pieces of your life were taken away because of it!

From someone who delved into writing fanfiction once upon a time, this book gave me plenty of reminders of how little pieces of ourselves go into the characters someone else created. Ivy wakes up one morning to find out that Weston, the fictional main character of H-MAD is now alive…and he’s everything she ever dreamed of. Or did she? We get some back and forth of how she met her current best friend Henry, and how she seemingly lost her former best friend Mack. Weston is the catalyst that could bring them all together, or make Mack and Henry completely forget Ivy.

I liked that Ivy had to start making realizations about herself. It showed growth, and acknowledgement that she internalized some things.

Honestly if you write FF yourself, I’d highly recommend reading this one!

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I really enjoyed this book if you like fan fic this is for you. It was so cute and I loved it

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3.5-3.75 stars

I’ve really been enjoying pretty much everything I’ve read from this author. This book pulled me in pretty quickly, but it got weird (and then weirder) quite fast as well. I definitely appreciated the exploration of all kind of relationships, fandom, fan fiction, story tropes, etc. (as well as the humour that went along with many of those pieces), but ultimately, I’m not sure I was totally sold on the magic realism elements of the story. Regardless, I still quite enjoyed it, and it was fun to read something that I can’t quite compare to anything else I’ve read recently.

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Sophia Gonzales is fast becoming one of my faves for her wit and humor. Ivy’s fanfic writing and unintended consequences had me rolling. It was so good and captured the inner workings of a teenage mind so well while also poking fun at just about every romance trope in the book! Perfectly ridiculous, perfectly angst-ridden, and perfectly sweet in the end. I loved the diverse rep and positive messaging. I am 100% putting this one on my teen daughter’s suggested reading list.

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3.5 Stars rounded up

This was super cute, and I loved all the fanfic tropes coming to life in pretty funny ways. Overall a sweet friends to lovers YA contemporary with a side of fun fantasy.

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Thank you to #NetGalley, Sophie Gonzales, and the publisher of the book for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

It's spring break and Ivy has the whole house to herself since her parents are off on a trip! She cannot wait to relax, hangout with her best frined Henry, and watch her favorite TV show. Things start getting weird when the fictional character from her show, Weston, comes to life. Ivy also soon realizes that the storyline Weston is following is from her fanfiction. Ivy soon realizes that Weston's actions may not be as romantic as she thinks and his actions start causing real problems. Ivy starts to wonder what is the "perfect guy".

A fun and funny YA read with realistic characters!

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I love Sophie Gonzales’ books! They are great YA novels. My cousin recommended them to me and I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve read so far.

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Overall: ★★★
Plot: ★★★.5
Characters: ★★
Enjoyment: ★★★

The Perfect Guy Doesn’t Exist is the Pleasantville-adjacent story of Ivy Winslow who manages to conjure up who she believes is the perfect guy—straight from her fanfiction. 

While I enjoyed the novel’s overall premise (huge Pleasantville fan here) I felt as though the story fell short for me. There were times where I didn’t believe the conflict between Ivy and her Mack, her friend turned crush turned enemy turned romantic love interest. 

The story is told in alternate timelines of past and present, in the present Ivy is navigating having a living being dreamt straight from her fanfiction stories, and in the past the reader uncovers the true feelings and reasons for the massive friendship breakup between her and Mack.

I found myself skipping over the chapters with the timeline set in the past, the conflict and reveal didn’t feel “ah ha!” Enough to warrant an entire timeline dedicated to the fallout. I was far more interested in the present day and what was happening then. 

Overall, not a huge fan, however I did finish it, which speaks volumes to me as someone who won’t get to the end unless the story catches my interest. I really, desperately, wanted to see how the story ended, Sophie Gonzales is phenomenal at ensnaring her readers that way.

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