Perfect on Paper

A Novel

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 09 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 16 Mar 2021
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books

Description

“Perfectly wonderful.” —Becky Albertalli, New York Times–bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“An electrifying love story.” —Booklist

In Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back


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 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.

However, when Brougham catches her 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—at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a 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 go wrong?

“Perfectly wonderful.” —Becky Albertalli, New York Times–bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

“An electrifying love story.” —Booklist

In Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, Leah on...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250769787
PRICE CA$25.99 (CAD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send To Kindle (MOBI)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 706 members


Featured Reviews

As her high school’s go-to relationship guru, Darcy Phillips is great at giving anonymous advice to other students. She knows how to get your oblivious lab partner to notice you, or your boyfriend to be more emotionally present. Until fellow classmate, Alexander Brougham, finds out who’s actually running this (previously) covert operation and recruits Darcy as his personal dating coach. In exchange for helping Brougham win back his ex-girlfriend, he promises to keep Darcy’s secret identity under-wraps—which she desperately wants, because if her best friend (and long-time crush) Brooke found out who was behind locker eighty-nine, she’d also uncover some unsavory secrets Darcy’s been keeping. For fans of Netflix’s Sex Education or anyone who loved Sophie Gonzales’ previous YA rom-com, Only Mostly Devastated, prepare to be dazzled yet again. Perfect on Paper is a hilarious, heartfelt story full of great relationship advice, trips to Disneyland, and a damn-good romance. The novel is also an unabashed rejection of queerphobia (biphobia specifically), showcasing widespread normalized queer representation and an openly bisexual heroine whose interest in a boy in no way “erases” her queerness. Gonzales is a talented storyteller who brings new life to young adult romance through her unique concepts, dynamic queer characters, and spot-on dialogue. In Perfect on Paper, she both engages with and subverts classic tropes of the genre with wit and skill. I mean, and I know I’m not the first to say this, but there’s just something about the timeless “two characters who only refer to each other by their last names suddenly switching to a first-name basis to show the growing intimacy between them” that really hits me hard in the ole heart. So let me channel my inner Darcy Phillips for a moment and offer you some advice: don’t miss this book! (Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

Was this review helpful?

I had high expectations for this novel—and Sophie Gonzales exceeded all of them. Perfect on Paper is a funny & sweet, and also deeply important read. The characters are three-dimensional, messy, and real. I laughed, I smiled, I cried, and I had a genuinely excellent time reading this story. I really appreciated seeing a diverse cast of queer characters; this story showcased a spectrum of sexualities and gender identities in a really positive way. The main character, Darcy, is a bisexual girl who is dealing with internalized biphobia and her place in the queer community when she starts getting feels for a straight man, and it’s handled in a really beautiful and inspiring way. All in all, this is an excellent novel & highly recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

This book is everything I wanted. I just finished and honestly can’t stop smiling. It’s genuine good-hearted romance with tons of representation and all of the classic high school hijinks to boot.

Was this review helpful?

I've been wanting to read Perfect on Paper ever since I read a comment Sophie Gonzales wrote about it on Goodreads, about how writing it was partially pushback against the criticism she'd received over having a bisexual character end up with a person of the opposite sex. As a bisexual teen, I've often been made to feel by people both inside and out of the LGBT+ community that I'm "not queer enough" whenever I express attraction to masculine-presenting human beings. I've even felt pressured, on multiple occasions, to speak negatively about my attraction towards men, as if it is some burden I would rather not carry, in order to feel accepted in queer spaces. I really wish I'd had a character like Darcy to hold on to when I was first struggling with these issues post-coming out. That was one of my favorite things about this book: it isn't a coming out story. Darcy is out and proud and openly discusses her bisexuality with her love interest, but still has niggling doubts about being viewed as not queer enough if she's in a "straight passing" relationship. Reading about Darcy's struggle with this internalized biphobia, and her friends' reassurance that she is queer, was exactly the sort of catharsis I was hoping to get from this story. And that was just one of the many many things I loved about the book! Other things to love about this book: Awesome relationship advice that acknowledges that romance can be tricky and there's no one right way to approach a conflict. A variety of beautifully queer characters, including Darcy's sister who is a really badass trans YouTuber, High school musical discourse. And flirting at Disneyland! (Seriously this book might as well have been handcrafted for me because it gave me so many things I never even knew I needed from a contemporary. I finished it in a single evening because it made me so freaking happy I just couldn't put it down.

Was this review helpful?

This was the perfect read for #BiVisibilityDay this year! I loved Perfect on Paper and hope we keep seeing many more fun romcoms with great representation like this (which I wish I'd had when I was in high school, but better late than never).

Was this review helpful?

WOW! Sophie Gonzales has truly done it again. I did not think there was any way for her to beat out my love of Only Mostly Devastated but BOOM - She did it. I am beyond shook after having read this book. One thing I loved so dearly about OMD is that we saw a bi character in a m/f relationship and I don’t think we see enough of that. Bi people are still bi no matter who they are dating. In OMD that was very much a side plot but here that is the front and center narrative. Darcy is so beautifully and unabashedly queer, even when she starts to have feelings for Alexander. Her queerness is such an integral part of her identity and it was fantastic to see how Darcy navigated that while within a m/relationship. Without giving anything away there is a scene at the end of this book in a meeting of the Queer and Questioning club that is so earth shatteringly important. You will know exactly what scene I am talking about when you get to it. I promise. I was a WRECK of emotions. Everyone needs to read this book. It is so clear the care and love Sophie put into each and every page. Darcy is smart, funny, and such a fantastic mess. Sophie has a way of writing that keeps you engaged every step of the way. There was not a moment of this story that felt slow or rushed. It moved at the exact right pace it needed to move. Sophie is also so great about building an entire world within her books. We not only have fantastic and multifaceted main characters but the entire world of Perfect on Paper is made up of a whole incredibly diverse ensemble of side characters. There is literally room for everyone to feel represented in this book. This type of book is SO NEEDED in the YA space right now. Sophie Gonzales is a master of the page and I cannot see what she gives us next!! Also shout out for the first time I have ever seen an author pull out the word Schadenfreude! That is one of my favorite words of all time.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book. As a bisexual female, who was in love with my female best friend, and now dating a straight cismale, I have never related so much to a character. Darcy Phillips runs an advice service out of one of her school's empty lockers. No one knows it's her, which is naturally how she would prefer it. And then, one day, she's caught by Alexander Brougham. He needs advice on how to get back together with his now ex-girlfriend, and, well Darcy really can't say no, can she? Honestly, I tend to stay away from straight up romances. The genre itself is a mix bag for me, but I am so, so, so glad I read this. There are so many great topics in this book: biphobia, setting boundaries, questioning asexuality and the pressure of having sex. Darcy's advice is something I wish I had when I was in high school (hell, I wish I had it now). The hardest hitting elements of this book was the discussions of biphobia and the internalized biphobia. Despite having been known I was bisexual since a young age, I have mostly dated straight cismales. Fitting into queer spaces had always felt awkward for me. After all, here I am, saying I love women, and yet I'm dating a man. I haven't had the discrimination against me for "taking the easy way" or for "passing" or for "not being queer enough." but I have heard the stories from friends over the years, and shied away. This topic is so important to discuss and the way this book discussed it had me in actual tears. Darcy and Alexander are cute together. It's not necessarily an enemies to lovers trope, more of a "severe annoyance/moderate dislike to lovers", but I loved it. I loved the mutual pining and, as I call it, "idiots in love" syndrome where they both are ultimately oblivious to the other's feelings.. The representation in this book is really outstanding,

Was this review helpful?

In this riveting diverse YA contemporary, the Netflix TV show Sex Education meets Too All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han when a young teenage bisexual girl struggles between giving relationship advices and applying them to her own love life. Thank you NetGalley and the publishers, St.Martin's Press, for sending me an arc in exchange for an unbiased opinion. Darcy is crazily in love with her best friend Brooke for now what seem like ages. She can’t know if the feeling is reciprocated though and Darcy is afraid of making a move that would scare her off. So weird that Darcy don’t know how to act around Brooke, because she knows everything about love and relationships. Since the beginning of high school, she answers letters asking for relationship advices from other students of the school that they drop in the locker 89 with a little money as a compensation. So far so good since the letters and the money keep coming in. But nobody knows about Darcy’s little secret, not even Brooke… well, no one excepts Alexander Brougham, that is. What I loved the most about this novel was its unicity. The concept has been made before, that cannot be denied, but Sophie Gonzales really has a way of making her story unique. The characters all seemed so real, so palpable through the page, as if I could just pick up my phone and text Darcy or Brougham whenever I wished for it. This book deals with the theme of identity crisis and, more precisely, how to accept your sexuality, all mastered beautifully into an atmosphere of jokes and comedy. Still, the message is no less powerful. In fact, it is probably more enjoyable and worthy because it shows the true ups and downs of teenage years. In Perfect on Paper, Darcy is a bisexual girl and the love interests in the novel are both girl and boy. It was reliable to see her wondering if one was better than the other from societal or queer point of vues. I also want to stress the fact that this book is funny. Like really funny. I laughed out loud multiple times and smile throughout most of the rest of the book. It was refreshing to read such a novel and I have not come across as funny as this one in YA in a while. I highly recommend that book. I really do. It has a great message about queerness and being true to yourself. It is fresh and sweet. Grab yourself a copy! #NetGalley #StMartinsPress #PerfectOnPaper #SophieGonzales

Was this review helpful?

This is one of the best #LGBTQIA books I’ve read and an excellent YA novel. You know a book’s got you hooked when you actually care about the characters, when you’re rooting for them even when they do something stupid and when you stay up late reading because you just have to know what happens. This book was all of those things and more. Highly recommended. I received an #ARC in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Charming and witty. High school junior Darcy provides relationship advice anonymously and for a fee. Her identity discovered by a hot senior boy, she reluctantly becomes his romance coach to win back his ex, while trying to keep her secret from coming out. A well rounded representation of high school environment, funny and irreverent.

Was this review helpful?

I'm in love with this author's writing style and will gladly read anything and everything she ever writes. Following Darcy was a blast from start to finish and I wish we could keep following these witty, funny, and relatable characters. Looking forward to re-reading it soon. Highly recommended LGBTQIA YA Contemporary read. When this reaches retailers - run, don't walk!

Was this review helpful?

All right, let us all take a moment of silence to thank the gods for giving us the most talented author, Sophie Gonzales. I LOVED reading this book. Perfect on Paper has a wonderful BI rep, tackling issues that BI people constantly struggle with, and it has also helped me so much to be educated on these said things. I found the type of attachments presented in this book highly informative to me in the way that I was also able to identify myself in the things that were presented. Yes, It was an informative and an educational book but it has also done its job on the romance comedy department as it didn’t forget to flutter my heart. Darcy and Brougham’s dynamics was so good, I loved seeing these two together, they made me smile so much. *spoilers* Aside from the different reps we got from this book, issues revolving family, school, and friendships were also present which makes this so much more a perfect book for teenagers to be able to relate to. The part where Darcy was being manipulative towards Brooke’s life was handled well, that kind of behavior was problematic so I was glad that after everything, Darcy apologized and has seen it by herself how the actions that she has done was wrong and how the people were affected by it. This is why I would honest-to-god promote this book to every one of my friends because this book dealt with so many issues and helped me become more knowledgeable in a lot of aspects that I haven’t known before. After this book, I would gladly read anything Sophie Gonzales writes. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing me an ARC of this wonderful book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book exceeded every expectation I had. I loved Only Mostly Devestated, so I had high hopes for the newest book by Sophie Gonzales and I was so blown away by how much I loved it. The characters are very three dimensional and really give you a sense of who they are. They were also so diverse! It's really powerful to read a book with a spectrum of sexualities and gender identities. and is something so needed in the YA book community. The plot is also hilarious. Full of hijinks and high school romps, it also has some really powerful discussions of things such as internalized biphobia. As a bisexual woman in a straight passing relationship, this really resonated with me as this concept of, "Am I queer enough?" I think that this is a really positive and important, unique and fun read that is a welcome addition to the YA genre.

Was this review helpful?

I went in blindly, knowing nothing more than the fact that it's a rom-com, so I was pleasantly surprised to be hooked by the premise on the FIRST page. Darcy Phillips keeps her identity a secret as she receives and responds to letters placed in a locker from students seeking relationship advice. While this is her area of expertise, she isn't quite as good at following her own advice—or even recognizing that perhaps she should evaluate her own situation. But it's hard to be unbiased when it comes to your own feelings...and love! The story faces sexual identity issues head on, especially internalized biphobia, as Darcy realizes she doesn't feel "queer enough". It offers representation from all over the sexual identity spectrum and shows young adults exploring their identity and navigating their internal and external challenges, learning to love themselves as they are and to believe they are enough. (Plus, Gonzales/Phillips gives some sound relationship advice!) The book had me laughing out loud, and I was fully invested in the characters finding happiness and love. I loved them so much. The banter, the fact that they are complete messes but find each other, how deeply they care for the people in their lives. And, of course, the problems caused by miscommunication...or lack of communication...because talking about feelings is hard! And, again, I can't say it enough, the rep in this book! Omgsh. I loved it so much. Highly recommend

Was this review helpful?

This book has been hailed as a Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda, Leah on the Offbeat meets Sex Education (as far as the advice part goes) and I’d say that it is, but it’s also very much it’s own thing and I adored it! There’s definitely representation in this book, the main character, Darcy, is bisexual and this is the first book I’ve ever read that covers biphobia and what some people who are bi have to deal with every day. There are gay, lesbian, and trans characters and a lot of identities. Was a nice change for a story that takes place with high school-aged characters. The characters are likable, and Darcy, our main character is lovely and owns her mistakes and faults in a very mature way. Was a very refreshing read. Thanks NetGalley!

Was this review helpful?

Utterly delightful and perfectly bi! A highly recommended purchase for public YA and high school fiction collections, particularly those needing more diverse offerings.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely adored this book, especially the main character, Darcy. The story follows her through her Junior she runs an anonymous relationship advice service out of Locker89. Her advice service get her into some tricky situations and her morals are a bit tested. Ultimately it’s a super cute story about all relationships in life - platonic, romantic, crushes, and those with parents/siblings. Highly recommend!!

Was this review helpful?

This book grabbed my attention from the very first page. There is something so ✨tantalizing✨ about anonymous people in society—Gossip Girl, Lady Whistledown, and now *Locker 89!* Darcy Phillips is a bi student who happens to run an anonymous love advice system at her private school. It’s all well and dandy until the Australian heartthrob catches her in the act and coerces her into helping him get his ex back. While she may be in love with her best friend, Brooke, there are definitely some sparks flying immediately with the slightly rude but secretly sweet Brougham. The characters in this book are so vibrant and diverse! We see representation of bi, trans, gay, ace, aro, and more! I loved to see a bi protagonist—in most of the lgbtq+ books I have read, I usually only see gay/lesbian leads. And while biphobia was discussed in the novel (yes!!), I do wish I would have seen more of it before the end of the book. I thought Gonzales did a wonderful job bringing up many instances of microaggressions and bi-erasure that are experienced every day. Gonzales is incredible at creating such authentic, fun characters. I truly was rooting for all of these characters even through all of their silly, and sometimes infuriating, mistakes! I absolutely recommend this book, and I, personally, cannot wait to see more from the author! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s for this ARC!

Was this review helpful?

This was so sweet & funny and just what I want in a queer romantic YA contemporary. Loved how this book touches on LGBTQIAP+ (it mentions characters on ace/aro spectrum and my heart was here for that) but it also brings up biphobia, how someone is judged by not being queer enough and taking the easy way by dating someone the opposite cisgender as you. This book also deals with family dynamics, setting boundaries in relationships, and questioning sexuality. I won't go into spoilers but, the last scene in the Queer and Questioning Club is PURE GOLD. My heart was a flutter for that whole scene.

Was this review helpful?

Dear Locker 89... What a great book! 16-year old Darcy Phillips has been operating her relationship advice business out of an empty locker 89 for years. She's done tons of research online and, for a nominal fee, answers letters from her classmates. No one knows that Darcy is the expert behind the advice until one day when Alexander Brougham sneaks up on her and convinces Darcy to be his personal relationship coach so he can win back his ex-girlfriend. Now that Darcy's identity is known to someone at school, how much longer can her Locker 89 business remain anonymous? One of my favorite parts of this book was the solid relationship advice that Darcy provides to (most of) her clients. This information will actually help readers to better navigate the sometimes turbulent ocean of relationships. This novel also has great representation of the LGBTQIA+ community where the characters are members of the community but are not suffering because of this part of their identities. Darcy's reflections on being bisexual are also incredibly vulnerable and authentic. This book is perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and the movie Hitch! Be sure to check it out on March 9th!

Was this review helpful?

A charming story that works not just as a romance but also as a way to guide readers on tricky topics like relationships, healthy boundaries, and internalized biphobia. An excellent choice for every high school library!

Was this review helpful?

So so good! Not only was the story super cute and enjoyable to read, but the discussions of bisexuality in the book made this into one of my favorites. Being bisexual is hard for many to understand (biphobia is so real!) and the bi experience is hardly written about in this candid way. I also enjoyed the fact that we see Darcy have a crush on both genders, as many bi representation books only feature relationships of the same gender. Amazing just like Only Mostly Devastated and I cannot wait to reread it!

Was this review helpful?

It’s not often that a book meets all of your expectations so superbly, but that’s exactly what Perfect on Paper managed to do. From the protagonist, to the romantic tropes, to the excellent writing, this book was a wonderful little story that made me giddy with happiness. Darcy Philips was the star of the book and I don’t have a single complaint about her characterization. She was relatable, flawed, remarkable, stood up for her beliefs, and had such tremendous growth throughout the novel. How could you not root for a heroine like that? I also really loved Sophie Gonzales’ commentary on the erasure of bisexuality when dating a member of the opposite gender. I’m not a member of the LGBTQ+ community and therefore have no authority on the matter, however, I thought the way the issues were brought up and handled were brilliantly done. The romance was impressively written. Perfect on Paper somehow managed to combine my love of the fake dating trop a lá To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with the sweet, slow-burn that starts as friendship that made me love If I’m Being Honest so much. I love watching a romance unfold through characters’ thoughts and actions and not just being told, and that’s exactly what we are given in Perfect on Paper. In short, it was spectacular. Perfect on Paper checked all of the right boxes to make this a tremendously heartwarming and satisfying novel. I think this book will appeal to a lot of readers and I highly recommend picking it up in March!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.

Was this review helpful?

Perfect on Paper is practically a guidebook to getting through high school. Darcy runs an advice business through an empty locker at high school. Hidden in her answers, and her life, there is great advice on relationships, sexuality, dealing with parents, coming back from mistakes. She touches on so many hot topics for today’s teenager. And this is coming from a 50 something mom of two grown daughters. I would highly recommend to everyone still in high school.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book! So much fun and such a great cast of characters. The premise was really great and original, and the LGBTQ representation was fantastic.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a breath of fresh air. I could not put down the book and loved all of it. The characters are wonderful and you feel like you are one of them.

Was this review helpful?

He visto muchas comparaciones con otros libros de romántica juvenil, pero sinceramente, creo que esta novela destaca por sí misma. Me han encantado las imperfecciones de Darcy, realistas y con consecuencias para ella y para los demás. Me ha encantado Alexander, me ha encantado conocerle a través de un POV tan limitado como el de Darcy, sabiendo que lo era, pero aún así, tener que esperar para saber más sobre sus motivaciones, hasta que te puedes adelantar a la protagonista. Me ha encantado también todo lo relacionado con los consejos sobre relaciones, me han parecido realistas, en sus aciertos y en sus fallos. Tal vez me ha faltado algo de realismo o empatizar más con las motivaciones y acciones de algunos secundarios, porque tal y como están contadas algunas resoluciones, me parecen inverosímiles, pero puede que sea porque yo personalmente no podría aceptar nunca algo así, y creo que eso dice mucho de lo realista que me ha parecido el resto del libro. Además, he tenido bastantes momentos de reírme nerviosa en voz alta y fangirlear, al igual que lo he pasado mal cuando Darcy se da cuenta de qué es lo que la está frenando en ciertos aspectos de su vida. Muy recomendado si buscáis un romance bien construido, personajes complejos y protagonistas LGBT.

Was this review helpful?

This book was incredibly cute, and I enjoyed it so much. The LGBTQ representation is excellent, the characters were authentic and messy. I greatly appreciated the main character's internal struggle with being bi, and what this meant if she were to date someone of the opposite gender. This was such a powerful part of the book for me, and it really hit home. In general the relationships in this book (romantic, friendship, sibling) were wonderful and felt real. I initially struggled with the MC's first crush (on her friend) and then I came to better understand that relationship as the story developed. I loved learning more about all of the characters (Brougham!) and seeing how they grew over the course of the book (Darcy!). I felt this book was a great book for modeling positive relationships, as well as opening the door to dialogue about sexuality and different aspects that individuals might struggle with about not only understanding others but also understanding themselves. I am now on my way to read everything else this author writes!

Was this review helpful?

Such a fun feel-good book with important representation! I read the first few pages, immediately got hooked and couldn't put it away until I reached the end. I loved so many things about this book: the representation (bi protagonist, lots of queer side characters), the humour, the flawed but genuinely well-meaning protagonist, the premise of the student who's way too young to give advice to other students but does it anyway, which was fun in "Sex Education" and is fun in this book too. I loved the way Darcy's advice was incorporated in the chapters and how much she really wanted to help her fellow students, spending so much time on research to help solve their problems or nudge them in the right direction - all the while being entirely incapable of solving her own little relationship troubles. The romance was cute, with just the right amount of misunderstandings to cause some trouble and a solid friendship as basis of their later love story. Brougham is a great and loveable love interest, and Gonzales allowed the two of them to actually develop their feelings over a longer time. The side characters were just as loveable and the subject of friendship and its importance is really at the center of this story. One aspect I really liked was the way this book talks about internalized biphobia and the still rampant notion that bisexual people don't really belong to the queer community unless they are in a relationship with a person of the same gender. Darcy struggles immensely with this as a bisexual girl who used to fall for a lot of girls but now develops feelings for a boy. The scene in which she explains this to her queer friends is honestly amazing and warmed my heart. This is important, and I loved that Gonzales chose to talk about this subject very explicitely. All in all, "Perfect on Paper" is a fluffy, cute, very funny, really queer feel-good romcom that has a lot to say, full of relatable characters that you can't but love even if they make absolutely catastrophic decisions at times.

Was this review helpful?

It's official...I adore Sophie Gonzales. I will read anything she writes. Perfect on Paper is Dear Abby for Gen Z. Darcy Phillips finds a way to monetize advice giving for her affluent peers through using a locker to collect questions that she then answers. The whole operation hinges on her anonymity. So, when nemesis Alexander Brougham discovers her secret and seemingly blackmails her for her assistance, she is stuck. What Darcy doesn't expect is that she'll be torn between two love interests. It's another captivating queer love story, which YA does so well. Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Was this review helpful?

5-star round-up due to the amazing representation this book has. - Everyone knows of locker 89, if you leave an anonymous letter asking for help and a tip you'll get advice on how to approach your situation. No one knows who runs locker 89, this quickly changes when Alexander Brougham catches Darcy Phillips red-handed as she gathers letters out of the locker. He won't tell on her...as long as she helps him win his ex-girlfriend back. This creates a chain of events as Darcy's services are hired as she mends the broken relationship. Darcy has no choice but to agree to his terms as she doesn't want anyone knowing she's the person behind locker 89 - she's used it to her advantage in the past and her secret getting out could possibly ruin one of the only friendships she has. I can't express how much I loved this book, I loved Darcy and the relationship that forms between Brougham, the slight love-triangle that is explored (it is mainly one-sided as Darcy has been in love with her best friend Brooke for the longest time; the feelings aren't reciprocated. This leads to a shift in Darcy as she starts to question how she can be falling for the boy who's hired her to win his ex back, I absolutely loved the scene where all of her fellow club members reassure her that she will not lose her queer credit is she decides to date a boy. I really was rooting for the relationship between Brooke and Darcy to blossom, but I quickly changed my mind as her connection with Brougham started to get more serious. I just loved him so much as a character, this was a real feel-good story that had a diverse representation of characters that anyone could connect to! - TW; Biphobia, emotional abuse, toxic relationships, violence, alcoholism, vomit - I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I loved the concept of this story. Brougham catches Darcy as she works anonymously giving relationship advice to their fellow high school students. And he asks her to help him get back together with his ex-girlfriend. The letters and emails for relationship advice that started most chapters were fascinating. They drew from attachment theory and pop culture ideas of how to maintain healthy relationships. Seeing them in a YA book felt so positive because it validates the many feelings about romance. I also really appreciated the Queer and Questioning club and their discussions.  Darcy grew during the story in ways that felt believable and age appropriate. I loved this as an adult, and I would strongly recommend it to the young people in my life. Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars. Perfect on Paper had so much LGBTQ+ representation but it didn’t feel gratuitous. I love how normalized it was. This didn’t feel like an exposé about LGBTQ+, it was just a story about teens. Darcy is a bisexual teenager who has been running an anonymous relationship advice service from locker 89 for the past two years. Which is pretty ironic, if you think about it, since Darcy hasn’t ever been in a real relationship. She gets caught by a popular jock and gets “blackmailed” into helping him win back his ex-girlfriend. A relationship tutor, if you will. Darcy’s advice is well researched; I recognized topics that I’ve only recently learned about myself. But she doesn’t come off as some love guru. She’s a teen and makes some major mistakes, but that made her so much more relatable. Often I’ve read YA and the characters read and sound like adults, so it was wonderful to read a story that legitimately shows mistakes I would have made back then. Darcy recognizes her mistakes as she’s making them but is unable to stop herself, just like I’ve done too. Perfect on Paper really gives a voice and mimics the thoughts of anyone who has struggled with their sexuality, relationship, identity, consent, etc. The topic of biphobia is brought up and I thought it was handled very well. It’s not something that I think of often (as a heterosexual woman) but I can recognize the problems bisexual people face. Perfect on Paper was such a great book. It handles delicate topics well and doesn’t shy away from any difficult issues. Darcy and Brougham’s relationship slowly morphs from annoyed acquaintances to friends and then to more. It felt realistic and was filled with the impulses and issues teenagers face. The full range of emotions hit me with this one and I can’t wait to read more from Sophie Gonzales.

Was this review helpful?

Don't you love it when you go into a book blind and find yourself thoroughly enjoying it? Perfect on Paper was one of those for me. This YA novel takes us back to high school where Darcy is the relationship guru. Students anonymously ask her advice in letters they post to locker 89. No one knows who answers the letters in a form of an email and with Darcy's mother working as a teacher at the school, she's been able to keep this under wraps for a long time. Until she's caught by Brougham..... Can I just say before anything else that all the Aussie slang and songs recommended in this book by Brougham really made me homesick. I even listened to a heap of the Aussie songs after finishing the book. This was an all round charming book portraying realistic relationships at high school and home. Great read!

Was this review helpful?

Perfection! Perfect on Paper is the YA rom-com with everything I could possibly want in a coming-of-age novel. It's vulnerable, genuine, tender, and quirky. A wonderful good-hearted light romance with a huge focus on LGBTQIA+ representation. Add in some normal high school angst, drama, and relationship woes, and you have a winner! Just this basic plot would give this book 4 stars, but adding in such a wonderful diverse cast of characters, backgrounds, struggles, self-discovery, and rep gives this the boost to 5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

Perfect on Paper was such a cute YA book! I felt like I was transported back to high school! This story follows Darcy, kind of like a Dear Abby- but through Locker 89. Students put their letter into the locker asking for advise. What's more important about this book is the fact that it shared perspectives with being bisexual, queer and exploring a male/female relationship. It digs deeper into relationships and who they are- who they identify as- and it's absolutely beautiful. "It’s when bisexuals start to believe the biphobia they’re surrounded by. We’re told that our sexuality isn’t real, or that we’re straight if we’re with another gender, and that our feelings don’t count if we’ve never dated a certain gender, that kind of crap. Then we hear it so many times we doubt ourselves.”

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book so much--I binged it in one sitting. Darcy has secretly been offering relationship advice to her high school peers via email after they drop anonymous letters into unassigned Locker 89. But when Alexander Broughman catches her emptying the locker and blackmails her into helping him win back his ex-girlfriend, things start to go awry. Meanwhile, Darcy can't stand to see her long-time crush and best friend, Brooke, develop feelings for another girl, yet she's incapable of expressing her own feelings to Brooke. This book was so original and creative--I absolutely loved the premise. I loved all the characters, too. They, of course, had their flaws and secrets, but the author did such a great job of showing you their motivations and reasons, you still loved them. It would be remiss to not point out the great bisexual representation we get in Darcy, as well, who has some very real conversations surrounding sexuality that are perfect for YA audiences. I'm an adult reading this, but I'll note for parents that the f word is said A TON in this book. Didn't bother me, and seemed realistic, and I'm sure the youths have heard it before, but I just wanted to note it. I can't figure out why this book wasn't called "Dear Locker 89"??????? That would have been a fantastic title. When this is undoubtedly a Netflix movie, I hope that's the title. PLEASE LET THIS BE A NETFLIX MOVIE. I can see this being even bigger than "To All the Boys I Loved Before." Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review! 5 stars - 10/10

Was this review helpful?

Such a great YA rom-com with strong queer representation! I didn't read much when I was an actual Young Adult, but I know a book like this would have definitely helped my HS friend group so much. The story centers around Darcy, who's running a secret locker dating advice business at school. She's "hired" by Brougham, a hot swimmer who finds out she's running the locker and needs her help getting his ex back. Darcy agrees as she needs to keep her secret safe because it could cause her serious consequences with her best friend that she's also in love with. This book hits on the YA elements I love but it goes deeper with character development and motivation, which I really enjoyed. It also drives awareness of biphobia and how Darcy internalizes that. I really appreciated Sophie Gonzales for educating me through this really enjoyable story! Thank you to NetGalley, Wednesday Books and St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this gem in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Darcy Phillip is a sixteen year old bi-sexual junior who is in love with her best friend Brooke. Darcy is also the mastermind behind locker 89, an advice column started by Darcy as a freshman. Classmates write anonymous letters to locker 89 in hopes of getting some relationship advice. Darcy is discovered by Alexander Brougham who decides to blackmail into helping win back his girlfriend Winona. Darcy wants to keep the locker a secret otherwise her past might catch up to her and Brooke's friendship could be lost. Darcy just has to help sexy, entitled, and arrogant Brougham and the locker secret will be kept safe. Theres nothing that can go wrong with this plan. Representation matters and this book has a whole lot of that. I found myself reflecting on my high school experience while reading this book. I appreciated that the characters had somewhere to go to feel safe and open about who they are. While I am a 36 (almost 37) year old cis heterosexual female, I do not recall my high school having an outlet for those looking for a safe space to talk about their sexual identity. My hope is that this book reflects many schools though out the world. Gonzales knows her target audience and writes it well. The characters are spot on with how high schoolers would act, feel, think and react. The experiences they face are authentic and real. The advice column added a nice touch too. I felt like Gonzales kept me in check with my assumptions on the gender of those seeking advice as my mind often went to a M/F relationship which I need to change. Overall this is a really cute and quick read that I feel every high schooler should read.

Was this review helpful?

Run don’t walk to get Perfect On Paper as soon as it hit shelves. Sophie Gonzales just wrote the YA book every single teenager (and to be honest, human) needs to read. Darcy Phillips loves romance. So, during her freshman year of high school she opens up Locker 89, an unused locker where other students drop in envelopes with $10 and a romantic problem they need her advice for. Noone knew who was behind locker 89 for years, until Alexander Brougham figures it out in desperate need of help. Under the assumption that she is being blackmailed with her identity, Darcy gives in to help Alexander win back his ex-girlfriend. Outside of her adventure with Alexander, Darcy is struggling because she’s in love with her best friend, Brooke. And she’s done some sketchy things (as locker 89) out of jealousy to make sure Brooke stays single. Of course, this backfires on Darcy in the long run. Sophia Gonzales is the representation queen. She manages to write in representation for so many queer identities - Bi-Sexual, Lesbian, Gay, Aromantic, Asexual, Trans, Questioning. And she brings awareness to important topics like bi-phobia, drinking, drugs, toxic parents - but in a way thats completely naturally interwoven into the story so that it doesn’t even feel like you’re learning a lesson. I wish I had gone to this high school where the kids were so open, accepting, and watched out for each other like these characters do. I’m definitely going to be thinking about this book for a while and recommending it to every single person I know. I loved Only Mostly Devastated, and I loved this one even more, so I can’t wait for Sophie’s next one. Thanks to NetGalley, Sophie Gonzales and Wednesday Books for the eArc in exchange for my honest review!

Was this review helpful?

After reading and enjoying "Only Mostly Devastated", I was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to preview Sophie Gonzales's latest, "Perfect on Paper". Gonzales is talented when it comes to writing diverse, relatable characters that you would meet in the halls of any high school, but she truly shines when it comes to writing fast-paced, quick-witted, and realistic dialogue - I flew through this book in well under 24 hours because the writing is just that good. The plot of "Perfect on Paper" is fun and fresh - Darcy Phillips is a 16 year old girl who sets up a locker that her classmates can drop letters (and payment) into in order to solicit advice about their love lives. Darcy is able to successfully conceal her identity until an older boy at school, Brougham, catches her at the locker and solicits her help winning back his ex-girlfriend. In the meantime, Darcy grapples with being in love with her best friend, Brooke, and doing some not so nice things to sabotage Brooke's love life. Perhaps the most endearing part of the story is just how real Darcy is - she is a girl who could be your classmate, your neighbor, your friend. Darcy struggles with her identity in a variety of ways - from questioning what it means to her and the world to be bisexual to having friendship issues - which makes her relatable on different levels. "Perfect on Paper" is indeed perfect for anyone who likes strong female characters, slow burn romances, and dialogue that is laugh-out-loud funny. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher, St.Martin's Press, for sending me an arc in exchange for an unbiased opinion.

Was this review helpful?

In many ways, Darcy Phillips is your typical high school student. She has dreams, crushes, and tons of embarrassing moments. But Darcy also has a secret. She’s been discreetly (and successfully) running a Dear Abby of sorts, all out of an abandoned school locker. Her covert operation becomes compromised when her unpleasant classmate, Alexander Brougham, finds out the truth. He promises to keep her secret, under one condition- she advise him on how to win his ex back. The two strike a deal, but p.s.- there’s more to the story. Perfect on Paper is a sweet novel that flips the script on queer YA. Just when you think it’s going on one direction, the ship changes course. In the first half of the book both Darcy, and even Alexander, seem like somewhat irredeemable characters. But when you keep in mind this is a story about teens still finding their way, their growth makes sense. This is a solid read I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys a coming of age love story with a bit of a twist. Thanks to @netgalley and @wednesday books for the advanced copy of this novel which comes out next month!

Was this review helpful?

PERFECT ON PAPER- Sophie Gonzales This book absolutely melted my heart. It was so cute and funny and everything I love. It had great representation, there was lots of LGBTQIA+ rep. I totally understand the Bisexual thing, when someone is with the opposite gender Everyone assumes there straight and not queer but that’s not right and I really hope in the future more people see it that was. I loved the concept so much, I saw myself as Darcy in so many ways. Darcy was just like me in some ways, confused, good at advice giving advice but not being able to use it herself, and how her mom works for the school just like mine. How Sophie incorporate Disney into this made me over the moon happy. I don’t want to spoil anything but I just need to say this is my favourite book. It is my absolute favourite book I have ever read, and Sophie is an amazing writer with amazing work. The title makes perfect sense, and I will forever live and cherish this book. 💕 If it was a option I would have given this book infinite starts so here’s my real rating- ♾/5⭐️

Was this review helpful?

This novel was definitely well-written and very charming, likely to captivate the attention of young adult queer readers (especially bisexual ones) who are looking for books that will reflect their experience and show them that they, too, deserve beautiful, wonderful, queer love stories.

Was this review helpful?

This. Book. 😍😭🤣 Honestly, so many emotions. Darcy Phillips runs an anonymous advice column of sorts. The kids at school know to leave letters and $10 in locker 89 and they will receive an email the same day with some sound advice from Darcy. Only no one knows it’s her. Until Alexander Brougham catches her in the act and blackmails her into helping him win back his ex. I can’t get over how much I loved this book. The representation was abundant, and not in a forced, overbearing kind of way. Just some rep examples throughout this book: ace, bi, transgender, gay, lesbian, non-binary. I loved the relationship Darcy had with her sister Ainsley. I liked how it wasn’t made into a big deal that Ainsley was transgender because it just wasn’t a big deal. Ainsley’s family was loving and accepting and nothing more needed to be said. I really loved Brougham. I liked that we were kind of made to think he might be a dick at first. But we got to see quickly that he wasn’t just based on his special bond with his best friend, Finn. Normally, I don’t love when a bi character ends up in a hetero relationship because it oftentimes kind of feels dismissive, but this was done right. Darcy was able to express her fears surrounding biphobia and internalized biphobia. I’m just really happy that this book exists and I know this is my go-to thing to say with YA books I love, but I NEED THIS TO BE A NETFLIX SERIES.

Was this review helpful?

I wish I could go back and re-read this book for the first time again, I have a serious book hangover after this book and LOVED these characters. Gonzales built a world that I want to live in and characters that make you fall in love. READ THIS!

Was this review helpful?

This was an absolute blast of a book! I really enjoyed the general vibe and everything about this book was just fun! These characters and their issues, the storyline itself was hilarious while also being hard hitting and touched on some great things. Fantastic YA contemporary.

Was this review helpful?

Only Mostly Devastated was one of my favorite romances of 2020, so when I found out Sophie was releasing a new novel, I know I had to get my hands on it. And I was right - this book was the definition of CUTE. Perfect on Paper had me squealing with delight and I couldn’t help but smile as I finished. This novel is everything I want in a young adult book - young love, sweet sibling relationships, school drama. The reader gets a taste of the struggles in mother/teenage daughter relationship, the closeness between two sisters, the confusing feelings of love unrequited, and the yearning of a budding new love. Darcy is not perfect (hence the title) yet she gives everything her heart. And as she discovers more about herself, she begins to realize it’s okay to make mistakes, because the people you choose around you are what is important. “Not everything’s gonna be your place, you know. It’s okay not to always know more than everyone else in the room.” With a bisexual main character, a straight male love interest, and lesbian, gay, and trans supporting characters, the LGBTQ representation in on point in this novel. And they weren’t added in just for kicks, but to add depth to the discussion of identity for young people. The questions of self and love are addressed internally, but also in the everyday discussion amongst the characters. "It’s when bisexuals start to believe the biphobia they’re surrounded by. We’re told that our sexuality isn’t real, or that we’re straight if we’re with another gender, and that our feelings don’t count if we’ve never dated a certain gender, that kind of crap. Then we hear it so many times we doubt ourselves.” I quite enjoyed this meaningful, sweet, comedic (sarcastic) romance. The beginning was a bit slow on the uptake, but once the story picked up I couldn’t put it down. And please go read the review by the author on Goodreads - it gives her perspective on the importance of this #ownvoices novel.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a cute YA contemporary, with amazing representation and banter! I had so much fun reading it! Perfect on Paper follows Darcy as she tackles her unrequited love for her best friend Brooke and being the resident love mastermind behind Locker 89, where she provides advice to students struggling with relationship problems. Her anonymity is threatened when Brougham catches her collecting letters. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy becomes his dating coach to win back his ex. The writing was so readable and I flew through the book relatively quickly. As a slowish reader, I consider this a world record. I could definitely see this as a film in the vein of To All the Boys and Love, Simon. Darcy was a chaotic mess but in the best way possible. She was flawed and although she did annoy me at times with her bad decisions, she was so endearing and relatable. I could not help but root for her happiness. I also loved her relationship with Ainsley. Their bond was so supportive and sweet. It’s refreshing to see a healthy and supportive sibling relationship. The romance was well-developed. I enjoyed the interactions between Darcy and Brougham and their slow-burn relationship. It was lovely experiencing Darcy’s opinions change over Brougham as the novel progressed, as well as watch Brougham opening up with his struggles to Darcy. The representation was amazing! Darcy is bisexual and there are so many side characters who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I appreciated how Gonzales constantly addressed that bisexual people will always be valid, even if they’re in a straight passing relationship, it doesn’t take away from their queer identity. Additionally, internalized biphobia and biphobia were discussed and deftly handled. Overall, this book was very cute with very important messages that many could take away from it. Perfect on Paper was my first book by Gonzales and it won’t be my last! I will be looking out for more of her works and catching up with her backlist.

Was this review helpful?

This book was such a joy to read. Ever since I finished Only Mostly Devastated, I had been looking forward to Sophie Gonzales's next book. I absolutely adore her writing style. This book was such a breath of fresh air. Once I started reading, I could not stop. I found myself so in love with all the characters and the relationships in this book. I fell in love with Darcy, Brougham, and Brooke almost instantly. I loved all the storylines throughout the book and I especially adored Darcy's relationship with her mother throughout the book. This is a book I will definitely recommend to everyone.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much to the publishers for providing me with an eArc of this book in exchange for my honest review. All I can truly say is, this book is amazing. The Bi- rep is on point (especially when it came to addressing biphobic comments and beliefs.) The use of the agony aunt-esque plot with Locker 89 was so interesting too and I loved how passionate the protagonist, Darcy, was at wanting to help people. This story had a mix of all different relationships from family, friends and relationships, and it created such a beautiful dynamic through the story. The humour and pacing of the book was wonderful as well. I loved the relationship that slowly built between Darcy and Brougham. Even other characters like Finn had me smiling and laughing, I genuinely loved reading about all of them. The was a particular scene in the Q&Q club that actually had me crying because I was just so happy and overwhelmed with how an issue was dealt with. This story is truly out here to represent Bi- people. The rep didn't end there though which I greatly appreciated. Overall this was such a great book, with fantastic characters.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book! Perfect on Paper is a witty, heartfelt story about how sometimes love isn't always as simple, and taking your own advice is easier said than done. Darcy Phillips runs an advice column out of an abandoned school locker. Her fellow students write their letters and along with a ten-dollar bill, stick them into the school's infamous locker 89. Darcy answers these letters anonymously, using information she's gathered from hours of reading self-help books and watching relationship gurus on youtube. She's great at what she does and she likes doing it, spreading hope and joy to the masses. It's only when she finds herself in the middle of a relationship maelstrom that she realizes relationships are not always so cut and dry. Sophie Gonzales did an amazing job with this book. Darcy was such a great character and her sarcasm and quick wit drew me in over and over again. She was such a joy to read, even as I was screaming at her to get it together. Her crush on her best friend was almost painful, as Darcy chose sabotage over truth in a misguided bid to win her heart. I enjoyed her interactions with Brougham so much because while he was endearingly clueless, she didn't let that stop her from setting him straight about what her expectations were on how she wanted to be treated, and I think that was a great point to make. The side characters were all well done, and none of them felt like token representation. They felt natural and were fun to read. Darcy's sister especially was a great show of sisterly affection and love, and while the fact that she's trans is mentioned, it's never a plot point for pain or contention. It's just a fact of the story. Brooke, Darcy's best friend, felt like every best friend I've had. It was interesting to watch Darcy pine after a clueless Brooke and watch how it changes their relationship. Brougham started as the literal worst. Seeing him through Darcy's eyes meant seeing him as the spoiled rich jerk she assumed he was, and he is. But learning about the layers of his past and toxic familial relationships meant giving us insight into why he behaves the way he does, and how he wears his good behavior like a suit of armor. The LGBTQ rep in this book runs the gamut from bi, gay, ace, trans, pan. etc, most of which we see through the school's Q&Q Club. I especially loved the conversation between the members about being bi. About how Darcy felt like maybe she wasn't queer enough to be able to claim it. What if she likes a boy who's straight and cis? People will assume she's straight and does that mean she can't claim to be queer? It's such a common worry for bisexual people, and I was so glad to see it put into words on-page. There's also a short explanation of asexuality and how it's a spectrum, and though it was but a paragraph, I appreciated the way it was handled since acephobia can run rampant when people don't understand what it is. Overall, I enjoyed this book so much! Definitely recommend!

Was this review helpful?

“WHY IS LOVE DEAD?” A bit dramatic, but that’s Darcy 🤣 Can I just start by saying that I appreciated the bi rep in this book so hard. I know not everyone is going to feel that way, but I am excited for it and I’m glad that someone will read this book and feel validated and seen by it. ANYWAY, Darcy is our main character, and I honestly enjoyed her so much. She’s relatable for me in so many ways and the fact that she screws up and makes some selfish decisions, but then learns from them... yes, we love a personal growth plot. Darcy secretly runs a sort of “Dear Abby” style love advice system through locker 89 of her high school. She’s not a professional by any means, but she has a 95% success rate. That being said, her own love life is pretty much nonexistent. She’s in love with her best friend, Brooke, but can’t pull the trigger on telling her. It doesn’t help that her friend starts dating someone else. Someone Darcy doesn’t like. When she’s caught by Alexander Brougham pulling love advice requests out of locker 89, he essentially blackmails her into helping him win back his ex-girlfriend. Yes, he’s paying her for her help, but she’s still annoyed he caught her and even more so that he’s forcing her to help him. She thinks Brougham is an aloof jerk, a spoiled rich boy who feels entitled to her help, but spending more time with him she realizes he’s more than what she assumed and what he presents to everyone in the halls of their high school. They form an unlikely friendship that started with blackmail, but ends with feelings Darcy is confused about. She’s been in love with Brooke for so long, and hasn’t had feelings for a guy since she joined her schools Queer and Questioning club. All worries about being judged by her friends for falling for a guy aside, things with the locker go left, like way left and she’s in big trouble. I don’t want to spoil too much, but yeah I just loved this read. I think that it represents a side of being bisexual that is often considered a co-opt when it comes to writing a queer story about a bisexual character, but I think it’s important that someone who falls in love with a person not a sex is represented fully. I do wish some of the relationships were fleshed out a little more, but I realize this story was more about Darcy figuring things out. I love that there is a variety of LGBTQ+ representation, and that it was easy to fall in love with even the side characters. All in all this was a great read. At first you’re going to want to shake Darcy a little bit, but she’s a good character that you will fall for. At least I did.

Was this review helpful?

I feel like I could write an entire love letter to this book and it still wouldn’t be enough. Was this book perfect? Not necessarily. But did it perfectly pair some of my favorite things together? Absolutely. Darcy was a flawed but lovable main character. Even though we learn throughout the story that she hasn’t always had the best judgement, we see that she has mostly tried to have good intentions. I loved the little moments before chapters when we got to read her relationship advice—I even learned something about myself in like the second chapter!? Darcy is bisexual and has two love interests, Brooke and Brougham, throughout the book. Despite there being two LIs, it comes off not being love triangley at all. Instead of focusing on the drama of who to choose, the book takes an important look at Darcy’s complicated feelings about being a bi girl and what the gender she chooses to be in a relationship would mean. I really appreciated this discussion of biphobia, both internalized and from other members of the LGBT+ community. When Darcy starts to realize she might have feelings for Brougham, she fears that the others in her Queer & Questioning Club at school might not accept her for being in a straight-passing relationship. I thought it was a fantastic addition to the story because biphobia is a problem in the queer community and with this book being targeted at a Young Adult audience, I feel that it’s important for teens to understand these issues early on in order to prevent these attitudes from continuing. Speaking of the Queer & Questioning Club— I loved that the LGBT+ identities in this book were spelled out for you. Darcy says from the start, “Have known I was bisexual since I was twelve.” So many books lately seem to try to be including queer rep without actually telling you the character’s sexuality. And in some cases, of course, that’s fine because sexuality is fluid and not all of us always know. But it just felt so nice and refreshing that there were so many LGBT+ identities actually written out on the page. It just made the representation feel more genuine. Ultimately, there were very few things I disliked about this book. Darcy was a bi disaster but I loved her anyway. The way she cared about and protected her friends and her sister were so relatable. Plus, I just couldn’t get enough of her and Brougham’s relationship. Their witty banter and hesitant flirting was so endearing, and was part of what made this book just so amazing. Representation: – bi MC; MC’s sister is trans; bi, lesbian, gay, ace, pan & nonbinary side characters – POC side characters – MC’s mom is briefly mentioned as being plus sized Content Warnings: alcoholism; abusive/toxic parents; biphobia I Would Recommend This To: – Bi (or pan!) readers who want to feel understood and validated for who they choose to date. – Anyone who enjoys the psychology of relationships, both platonic & romantic. – Readers who like first person POV that’s written almost like a confidential blog. My Rating: ★★★★★ ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to #partner @NetGalley and @wednesdaybooks for the digital ARC of Sophie Gonzales’s Perfect on Paper in exchange for an honest review. I’m also thrilled to have read this as part of a buddy read with @lovearctually! The book will be published on Tuesday, March 9. Darcy Phillips, the protagonist of Sophie Gonzales’s Perfect on Paper, is a more-mature-than-usual high school junior . . . but she’s still a teenager. She uses her need to stay late after school with her teacher mom as a way to manage her thriving advice letter business: people put their questions into Locker 89, Darcy does some research, and she emails her well-informed advice. Her business is top secret: only her sister, Ainsley, knows about it. And then, one day, Alexander Brougham, leaving swim practice, catches Darcy retrieving letters from the locker. It turns out that Brougham wants advice in resurrecting his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, and he’s willing to blackmail Darcy into helping him. In addition to Locker 89, Darcy has a lot going on: she has a long-term crush on her best friend, Brooke; she’s invested in keeping strong the Queer and Questioning Club that her trans sister Ainsley started; and now she not only has to answer the Locker 89 letters but also deal with Brougham’s issue so that she can keep her identity a secret. Darcy has to navigate SO many issues in this book: she’s keeping secrets from almost everybody, has made decisions she regrets, and—when she starts to have feelings for a boy—worries about what it means for her bisexual identity. Her mom is incredibly busy, so Darcy doesn’t feel as if she can bother her with her problems, and Ainsley is supportive but also in college, so she’s a bit removed from the high school scene. Gonzales incorporates all of these details into her narrative with grace, weaving them seamlessly into the narrative. Darcy is a great character—fun and funny and flawed, but also vulnerable. I love the way that the author also put Darcy’s relationships at the forefront of the story: her sibling relationship with Ainsley, her friendship with Brooke, as well as (of course) her romantic relationships. Perfect on Paper is an excellent YA novel that balances romance with all of the other concerns teenagers have to deal with. Gonzales handles all of this while crafting a beautiful, moving, and quite funny story.

Was this review helpful?

This book was a page turner from beginning to end. An anonymous locker gives advice to a high school - think gossip girl style but way less catty. Then someone figures out who locker person is and the two forge a very unlikely friendship. This book has heartbreak, love, loss, and the true meaning of friendship. I literally couldn’t put this book down and finished in one reading. Amazing character development and integration. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie Gonzales just made my heart feel every emotion possible. I absolutely loved this book and it's going to be a massive hit. The writing was incredible, the story flowed perfectly without a lull, and the characters likeable. There is so much representation in this book as well which was super fun to read. I need more from this author. I can also see this becoming a Netflix movie.

Was this review helpful?

Everyone needs to go and buy this book RIGHT NOW. If you’re on a budget, then you need to go and request it from your library. You need to get your hands on this book ASAP. Meet Perfect on Paper, one of, in my opinion, the best books of 2021 and a new personal favorite book of mine. Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. I knew this book had 5-star potential from the very first page--and I wasn’t wrong. There was never a dull moment in this book. I was riveted from the start. In fact, it was exceedingly difficult to put this book down. I may or may not have stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this book. No regrets. Darcy, our main character, was the perfect combination of sweet and dramatic. I adored her. Her humor and sarcasm were endlessly entertaining. I laughed so many times while reading this book. Cue Alexander Brougham, our love interest, and my new book boyfriend. I LOVE MY LITTLE AUSTRALIAN CINNAMON ROLL SO MUCH. If you couldn’t tell, I’m really passionate about this book and the characters. I have no shame. In addition to these two main leads, we have a great cast of side characters. My favorites were Finn, Brougham’s best friend, and Ainsley, Darcy’s sister. They cracked me up. I need Netflix to make this book a movie stat. Now, if you know me even the slightest bit, you know that I live for witty banter. Let me tell you, this book had that in spades. Darcy and Brougham have some of the funniest, most entertaining banter I’ve ever read. And that’s saying a lot coming from me. Just saying. Sophie Gonzales incorporated a lot of LGBTQIA+ representation in this book, and she wrote it very well. For example, Darcy is bi, her sister is trans, her best friend is lesbian, and Brougham’s best friend is gay. One thing I really loved was that Darcy’s high school has a Queer and Questioning Club which is meant to serve as a support group for anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community and provide them with a safe space. In this club, they can talk about any problems, questions, or concerns they have and get feedback from each other. It’s a space that allows them to feel heard and accepted at all times. If you haven’t read the author’s review on Goodreads, you should go do that. She talks about biphobia, which is addressed in this book, and why she decided to write this book as a m/f romance instead of a f/f romance. If you couldn’t tell, I really loved this book. I cannot say enough good things about it. I can’t wait until it releases so I can get my physical copy. I know this will be a book I reread anytime I need a happy read. I encourage everyone to read Perfect on Paper! TWs: biphobia, internalized biphobia, divorce, alcohol, drugs, and toxic parents.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so fun! An absolutely delightful contemporary. Gonzales does a fantastic job of keeping the pacing up, the humor flowing, and the representation nuanced. I had such a genuinely great time reading this title. So many laugh out loud moments! Though it is primarily a light read, Gonzales weaves in more serious issues like biphobia and divorce in such a respectful, fleshed-out way. It never feels preachy, but it doesn't shy away from the issues either. As someone who is bisexual myself, I adored the way that Gonzales tackled both internalized biphobia and biphobia in queer spaces. It's something I think more YA should address, and it means so much to me to see it handled so deftly here.

Was this review helpful?

Perfect on Paper is a perfect queer YA romance. Darcy Phillips is a bisexual teen who secretly receives relationship questions via an unused school locker and dispenses advice by email. Hopelessly in love with her lesbian best friend, she's great at giving advice and terrible at managing her own relationships. When she's caught in the act of opening the locker by Alexander Brougham (who goes by his last name), she agrees to help him get his ex-girlfriend back. (PS Brougham is Australian like the author.) They initially get along terribly, a meet-disaster that calls back to Pride and Prejudice, and the relationship advice emails are reminiscent of newspaper columns and the TV series Sex Education. Darcy watches and reads a lot of relationship experts, so her advice works 95% of the time. You know, until she has to look objectively at her own problems. Her trans older sister sees through her crap and I loved their relationship, definitely the healthiest one in Darcy's life. I really enjoyed Sophie Gonzales' last book, Only Mostly Devastated, but I loved Perfect on Paper even more than I expected. She's taken some classic tropes and a couple of familiar premises and blended them together with all the queerness I could hope for. Yes, the bisexual female protagonist does end up with a cis boy. And that doesn't make her less queer, dammit. Darcy is messy and makes some irresponsible choices. She hurts her best friend twice and is hurt by that friend as well. Gonzales excels at writing characters who make mistakes--not just the accidental kind--and still come across as relatable and sympathetic. A book in which you can yell at the main character several times and still want their HEA? Really something. Audio Notes: The narrator, Barrie Kreinik, is prolific so I'd listened to another book by her just a week or so before this one. I ended up not enjoying that book, but I loved this one. That tells me only one thing: this narrator doesn't magically save boring material. She is, however, a capable narrator. As mentioned above, this protagonist is messy but I still rooted for her. A narrator has to be able to convey that internal struggle in single POV and make it compelling and Kreinik is successful here. Happy to recommend this in whichever format you like best! *** Content Warnings: mentions of racism and homophobia, several references to biphobia (internalized and otherwise), divorced parents, Broughan's wealthy parents are in a terrible relationship with cheating, fighting etc., and he has an unstable home environment, lying, public shaming and suspension from school I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher for review. (I also received an ebook review copy.)

Was this review helpful?

I don't think I will ever stop thinking about this beautiful story and its unforgettable cast of characters. Usually, when you read a book, you get attached to a few of the characters, but here, it is impossible not to love absolutely all of them. From the romance, to the friendships, and the sisterly bonds, as well as the hilarious scenes and the heartwarming ones, all were completely captivating. I'm not going to give any details because I need every single one of you to experience this book and discover this feeling the same way I did. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC on NetGalley.

Was this review helpful?

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales was such a fun and delightful read. It follows Darcy Phillips, a bisexual teen, who has managed to commandeer a locker at her high school and uses it to anonymously dispense relationship advice to her fellow classmates. Students write letters and enclose a $10 fee and their email address, and after school, Darcy empties the locker and takes the letters home so that she can respond to them. What could possibly go wrong with this scheme? Enter Brougham, a member of the school’s swim team, who catches Darcy in the act of retrieving letters from the locker. Rather than rat her out, however, Brougham tells Darcy he desperately needs her help and wants to hire her to help him win his ex back. Again, what could possibly go wrong here? For me, the most fun about this book was Darcy herself and what a perfectly imperfect character she is. She gives this business of hers her all, truly going out of her way to research the psychology of relationships and provide thoughtful answers to each of her classmates’ questions. Even though what she is doing is morally and ethically questionable, Darcy truly believes she is helping people and wants everyone to be happy. But when it comes to Darcy’s own love life, however, she’s basically a hot mess and can’t follow her own advice. For example, Darcy is in love with her best friend, Brooke, but she can’t work up her nerve enough to tell Brooke how she feels. Instead, she goes out of her way to sabotage all of Brooke’s relationships so that Brooke stays in her orbit and available in case she ever does work up the nerve. Darcy’s flaws in this area just made her all the more lovable of a character for me and I just wanted her to find her own happiness the way she was so intent on everyone else finding theirs. There was really just so much to love about this book. In addition to adoring Darcy, I also really adored Brougham. He comes across as arrogant and obnoxious at first but it becomes clear over time that he is soft boy with a very dysfunctional home life, who just really needs a hug. I loved watching his friendship with Darcy evolve as they worked together and got to know each other better. In addition to being a fun and super cute read, Perfect on Paper also tackles some important topics such as biphobia. I was a huge fan of the Q and Q (Queer and Questioning) Club where queer students could meet up and discuss whatever is on their minds. Darcy is the student who brings up biphobia as she discusses how people question whether or not she is actually queer if she has a boyfriend rather than a girlfriend. I loved that she had a group like this she could go to and receive support and validation from her peers. Perfect on Paper is just an all around wonderful read and it really does have something for everyone. Friendships, flawed characters, humor, drama, teen angst, and so much more. If you’re looking for a fun read that will leave you with a contented smile on your face, this is the book for you. 4.5 STARS

Was this review helpful?

Headlines: Page turner LGBTQIA+ rep for days Incredibly cute A clever story was contained in these pages, all centred around Locker 89 and Darcy. Darcy was bi-sexual, crushing on her friend and seemed to limit her life options and expectations. She also ran an advice service through locker 89 (you'd have to read to understand). Now I've got that out of the way, I can talk about my own expectations - I had no idea where the romance of this story was going to go for the first part; I loved the lack of expectation. Friendships were on the menu, a smattering of drama, lots of secrets and lies and problematic parents. I liked Brooke but only a bit, Ray definintely grew on me, Ainsley was fab and Brougham delivered on the slow building chemistry. Brougham slowly defrosted in this story and I enjoyed the reveal of his character. "There was something special about being seen the way that Brougham seemed to see me." There was something flawed and cocky about Darcy but also plenty of self-realisation and awareness to mitigate the cockiness. The story was fun, absorbing and had a lovely pitch of light with the odd casting of darkness across the page. I loved that circle back around to the 'job' towards the end. Perfect on Paper confirmed that Only Mostly Devastated was not a one-off piece of goodness, Sophie Gonzales followed that up with another superb offering. I still need to visit her back catalogue of titles.

Was this review helpful?

Sophie Gonzales has done it again! Perfect on Paper is a perfect glimpse into a realistic coming of age moment for 2021 teens. Darcy is her school's anonymous relationship advice guru. Like most things when you're 16, her perfect plan to coach her peers blows up in her face. Darcy has a reliable and diverse friend group (The Queer and Questioning club) that is there for her no matter what. Even when it's some of the club members that suffer her ill advised advice. The school club was the shining gem in this book for me. The club was an informative, welcoming, judgement free zone. I hope spaces like this really exist! Also, her trans sister Ainsley's happy and healthy side-storyline was perfect. It's so refreshing to read about a trans character that doesn't focus on trauma.

Was this review helpful?

For me, this book was a wonderful escape. I really enjoyed the premise of a high schooler giving relationship advice to her classmates. I also like the love triangle? square? pentagon? Either way, it had a lot of moving parts that was enjoyable to read. I'm not an expert, but I think it also handled the topic of biphobia well. It may have slightly felt a little rushed/started late in the book, but overall felt well done. By the end of the book, I was definitely wishing Darcy lots of luck with her future goals.

Was this review helpful?

PERFECT ON PAPER was exactly the book I needed right now. It’s a quick, easy read, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It’s fast-paced, but doesn’t leave out anything—we see excellent character development, great pacing, and everything comes together (or falls apart) in a believable way. When it comes to contemporary YA, I wish we had more books like this one. We see Darcy struggle with different relationships throughout the book, and Brougham becomes a delightful foil who seems to play devil’s advocate about every little thing at first. Watching the two of them get to know each other over the course of the book was so satisfying, sort of an homage to finding that person who surprises you more than anyone else and then actually begins to understand you in ways others don’t. Where this book really impressed me was with the way it dealt with complex issues, not just with relationships themselves but also when it comes to struggling with your identity. PERFECT ON PAPER starts with Darcy giving advice through locker 89 at her high school, where people send her anonymous letters asking for relationship advice. She gives advice based on attachment styles—anxious attachment style, for example, where if a person sees their partner drawing away, they might unintentionally smother them looking for confirmation that their partner still loves them—and other factors that play into relationships. But as the story goes on, Brougham challenges her initial ideas about relationships, pointing out that she’s missing pieces of each situation and asking how she can possibly know her advice is applicable when she doesn’t know the full story. As Darcy gets caught up in her own relationships—romantic and platonic—she sees how complicated people really are and the book explores why we can’t just group people into generic categories and decide that’s the end of it. I was also impressed with how the book tackled biphobia. When one character makes a biphobic comment to Darcy, it obviously hurts her, and I’m glad Sophie Gonzales returned to that point later in the story. It’s important to address this topic in fiction because it’s so often glossed over both in real life and in fiction when it’s a very real issue that affects bi people all the time, whether it’s internalized or external biphobia. I can’t think of another book I’ve read that confronts this topic so clearly and in no uncertain terms and I absolutely love how Gonzales did it here. And while I really appreciated the way the book handled topics like these, I also thought it was just a really fun read. When I started it, I was in a low energy, bad mental health place, and this book was perfect for lifting my mood and helping me through that. It’s low effort but still got me invested in the story and characters within the first couple of chapters. For the three days it took me to read it, I spent every day at work excited to read more and basically spent the rest of the night reading the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone of any age who even occasionally enjoys contemporary YA, especially if you need something to uplift you. PERFECT ON PAPER is the perfect book to pick you up when you’re down and remind you that no matter who you are, your identity is valid, your feelings are important, and there are people out there who will understand you when you don’t think it’s even possible. Thank you to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

4.5 stars Perfect on Paper was smart, thoughtful, funny, and everything I love about YA and more. This is my first book by Sophie Gonzales and I loved the writing style and humor. I thought the author also did a fantastic job with representation and diversity. The relationship advice and love tutor/coach premise has been attempted in books before, but Gonzales put such a fresh spin on it that it felt very new and exciting. The characters and situations were layered and complex, and were laid out in such an honest and relatable way. The evolution from frenemies to lovers between Darcy and Brougham really worked and I appreciated how the author showcased those tender moments as things started to shift, but also didn't rush them along. That uncertainty and vulnerability is one of the things I love most about the YA genre. The cast of secondary characters was delightful (Finn! LOL) and I also liked the focus on familial relationships (and how positive and negative they can be). The typical YA angst and drama do pop up in their own unique ways, but I thought it was handled and presented really well. Darcy and Brougham's character arcs were done so well and I was rooting for these two to find themselves (and each other) along the way. One thing I really loved about the book is that it made me pause and reflect on my own relationships and also the relationships I want to have. It made me think about and recognize the power and consequences of my own behavior and choice of words. I can't wait to read more from this author and Perfect on Paper is definitely a book not to be missed! CW: divorce, toxic parents, biphobia, internalized biphobia, drugs, alcohol *I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

Was this review helpful?

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales is a fun, quirky story about a bisexual high school student, Darcy, who anonymously gives love advice to the kids at her school. She does this by having them slip notes (and money) into an unused locker at her school, and she’s done an incredible job with it. Nobody knows who the mysterious advice giver is, but she is well known for her advice working. Unfortunately, she’s better at giving others advice than she is handling her own relationships and crushes. She’s successfully anonymous for years, until she is caught by a popular boy named Brougham, who wants to hire her to help him get his ex-girlfriend back. He bribes her to help him in exchange for keeping her secret, and through this “job”, Darcy learns more and more about herself and her issues with it comes to her own relationships. Perfect on Paper was funny, romantic, and a quick, enjoyable read! I loved the diverse characters, the friendships, and at times I felt like I was in high school all over again, as I read this book. I will definitely be recommending this book to my students! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

Darcy has my whole heart! Not only is she in love with her best friend, her complexity, and relatability unfolds on the pages. Thinking she has all these relationships figured out, despite not really being in one, Darcy is committed to helping. But, what we often discovery, is there's no formula. We can think we are playing one game with one set of rules and our opponent has a different rule book. We can prepare for our heart, for our future, and then when the moment comes, it turns out to be anything else. Perfect on Paper has a fabulous sense of momentum and pacing. The action wraps you up in a whirlwind. I finished this one in half the time because I could not stop reading. With great power, comes great responsibility. And we're only human after all. I became hooked on the drama. The ways Perfect on Paper examines accountability, good intentions, and how life can sense when you have a plan - and mess it all up. As someone who grew up on Chicken Soup for the Soul, I also am a sucker for relationship/anonymous letters. SERIOUS CAT NIP!

Was this review helpful?

THE BI REP. THE POC REP. VIET REP. TRANS REP. Just the rep in this book is *chef's kiss*. This was my first Sophie Gonzales novel and now I want to read SO MANY OF HER THINGS. And I want her to write so many stories. I would recommend this story to those looking for a more grown-up story similar to Simon V. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, pick this up.

Was this review helpful?

A great book for fans of the YA genre (both young and old). This book dropped me right back into my high school years and I loved every bit of it.

Was this review helpful?

Have you ever wished you had an agony aunt to write to during highschool? This book is for you if so! Conquering jealousy, mixed feelings, and biphobia (internalised and external), this is one of my new favourite books set in a highschool. I loved the characters, and I love how Sophie wrote them, and honestly would sell five souls to read this book for the first time again. Rating: 4.5/5

Was this review helpful?

Well this was perfect on paper and in reality for me. I loved everything about this. The characters, the plot, the writing, and the representation. It was such a fabulous read! I stayed up way too late reading it last night because I could not put it down and now I am paying for it at work with exhaustion. It was worth it though! I love getting this excited about a story and I was excited about this one. Wait a minute? Did I read this one in under 24 hours?!? I just am looking at the date I started and finished... I think I did! Well, if that is not endorsement enough then I do not know what will be. Let me say it again. I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading. It. Was. So. Good. If you enjoy lovely YA romances full of heart, humor, and joy then this if for you. If you are heartless, well just keep walking by. Obviously, I am just joking. Maybe.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: