ARC Book Review: Past Perfect Life

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Title_ Author_ Page Count_ Publish Date_ Publisher_ (21).pngSynopsis

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?
An exciting new direction for acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg, Past Perfect Life is a tense and tender read about secrets and lies, reality and identity, and the ways we put ourselves back together when everything is broken.

Perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, this is the story of one teen’s search for herself amid the confusion of a shattered past and a future far from all she planned.

My review

I received a free, advanced reading copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher for the reading & reviewing opportunity.

Rating: 3 stars

I’m becoming increasingly irritated with all of the average reads I’m completing lately.

Ally lives a very quiet, normal, simple life. In fact, she’s still struggling to think of anything extraordinary to write about in her scholarship applications when her whole life gets uprooted. If Ally isn’t Ally… then who is she?

This is a good, quick read. It just wasn’t great. I expected there to be more mystery and drama than there turns out to be. I feel like there was a lot of potential for it to be more riveting than it was. The story was primarily about the relationships between Ally and the people in her life and her emotions as she adjusts to everything.

The pacing was fine, but honestly, it kind of felt like there was never much of a climax point. There is, I guess, when Ally finds out the big secret that changes everything she knows about herself (which I can’t really tell you about because it will spoil the entire story), but it was an underwhelming climax. What I mean is that, even though the secret is quite big and important, the reactions in the book make it feel like a little less of a big deal. Since the story is (rightfully so) written around the big secret, it made the whole thing feel kind of average.

The writing was actually really wonderful and smooth, which made the story easy to stay connected to even when it wasn’t as interesting. I found myself liking nearly every character in the story (with the exception of the mother) and that’s admittedly rare. There wasn’t much development with a lot of the characters because there were so many of them, but Ally is the main focus and I felt like readers were able to get to know her really well. I tend to get easily annoyed with whiny teens in YA but Ally definitely had some reasons for her emotions.

It’s hard to know what to say about an average read. It was fine, honestly. I enjoyed it well enough and finished it quickly. I enjoy the writing style of this author and may check out more of her work in the future. I’d recommend this for those of you who like YA contemporaries with plot twists that are enticing but not emotionally overwhelming.

3 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Past Perfect Life

  1. I reviewed this book recently, too. And I had similar feelings – it was a middle-range rating to me (3.5). I didn’t like it as much as Elizabeth Eulberg’s other books. But I would recommend her “Prom & Prejudice.” That one is a cute Jane Austen retelling 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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