Violet never wanted to move to Perfect.
Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time?
But Violet quickly discovers there's something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared.
When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away...and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!
Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK
A Place Called Perfect, the middle-grade debut of graphic designer Helena Duggan, follows the story of Violet Brown who finds life as she knows it thrown up in air as her parents decide to move to a place called Perfect. Her father, a renowned ophthalmologist had been offered an attractive new job in this strange little town and Violet can do nothing but agree to this sudden turn of events- who cares if she has to leave her friends and everything she holds dear in her old life?
Once they move to Perfect, Violet finds things to be very strange indeed. For one, the town is ridiculously perfect- and the people, even more so. The tea is delicious, and the rose-tinted glasses everyone has to wear seems to protect them from blindness- what even, right? Violet hates all this (except for the tea, which, admittedly, is absolutely delicious), and once her parents start turning into people she barely recognized, with her mom taking up baking and what not, and her father suddenly disappears on a mysterious business trip, Violet realizes that something is definitely not right about Perfect.
Violet then meets Boy. Boy is different from the other people she has so far seen at Perfect, and with Boy helping her, Violet discovers that the two Archer brothers- her father's employers- are not who they seem to be. In fact, so cunning and dangerous are they that it's up to Violet and Boy to put their heads together and decide how to save the oblivious people of Perfect from the cunning Archer brothers.
A Place Called Perfect is a brilliantly woven, darkly imaginative story that manages to keep the reader hooked, right from page one. The world-building is done wonderfully and you'd no doubt feel a shiver running down your spine a good few times. The little details are done really well, all contributing to make one fascinating, if creepy, world.
Violet is a spunky and fun character, and I loved seeing her character arc progress throughout the book. She went through quite the time, what with seeing her parents change into people she could barely recognize under her own eyes and all. Boy had a significant role throughout the book- I do wish his character had more in terms of growth, but together he and Violet were a, well, perfect pair. They were both extremely realistic and quirky and quite fun to be with throughout the course of the story. The evil twin Archer brothers are quite very menacing and their plans for Perfect were quite very appalling- they were honestly brilliantly evil villains!
Apart from the slight lack of growth in Boy's character, the one other thing that bothered me about the book was the pacing. Things started off very well, but halfway through I felt the story to be a bit lagging and slow overall, and this could perhaps be avoided if the story was a tad shorter? This could be just me but I did want things to hurry up already. The story was still very engaging and honestly very spooky, like, very, and the ending was so, so beautiful! I loved how things progressed to that perfect ending, and I loved seeing that a sequel is in the works already! I, for one, cannot wait!
Throughout all this there's a serious message to be found too. The book makes us think how we may be unwittingly made to fit a "perfect" mould, and how we may be oblivious to it all, content with following the majority without any questioning.
All in all, I'd say A Place Called Perfect is the perfect choice if you're looking for a brilliantly spooky, wildly imaginative story this Halloween season- or any time of the year, really. You'd no doubt appreciate the wonderfully creepy world and the fantastically crafted characters, and if you, like me, like your horror in mild doses, this book is for you! Recommended to fans of Coraline, Tim Burton, and the Wizard of Oz.
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 5/5 (Absolutely gorgeous, I tell you!)