Future Perfect by Jen Larsen
Release Date: October 6th 2015
The main character is Ashley, and she is overweight. But she's happy enough that way. She has friends, and a really great boyfriend who loves her just the way she is. Her grandmother doesn't approve. Her grandmother feels that even though Ashley is very smart, driven, and talented, people will automatically judge her more harshly because of her weight. So every year her grandmother offers her some kind of deal to lose weight. Money for a new wardrobe, trips to places like Europe, and even a car the year she turned 16. Through it all Ashley has remained stubborn. She refuses to change herself just because of what her grandmother thinks. Instead she continues to do her best at school, a private school, a quirky one, but still considered a top school, one that rich people move in order just to get their kids into. And she enjoys her boyfriend who is always smiling and sweet and loves her the way she is. Yes, in the past, she had asked one of her best friend's brothers out, and he had turned her down basically telling her she wasn't his type. But Ashley wants to get into Harvard, where her mother went to school before she met her father. And even with this problem with her grandmother, she wants to be a doctor like she is. This year though, her grandmother will offer her a full ride to Harvard, if she gets weight-loss surgery. Of course she doesn't want to do this. But somehow her grandmother gets it in her head that she has agreed. And she goes ahead and schedules the pre-operation appointment, and even goes so far as to say something to the principal at Ashley's school about her doing it. Now Ashley is having problems with her boyfriend, who wonders why he didn't already know before other people at school knew. And she is on the fence about whether to do it, as it becomes the best topic she can think of for her entrance essay to Harvard for early acceptance.
There are a lot of great characters in this story. Ashley has a dad that is kind of an absentee dad. He works real estate, but has no business sense. He seems to only want to sit around and read romance novels. Part of the problem is probably because of how strong willed his mother, Ashley's grandmother, is to everyone in her family. She never approved of Ashley's mother, even going so far as to make them not give Ashley a more ethnic name like her older brothers Mateo and Lucas. Her best friend Laura is black I believe from what description is given, but has parents that are truly absentee parents. They are out of town all the time, and let Laura and her twin brother pretty much do as they please. Her other best friend is a girl, who really is a boy, but wants to be a girl, and so Ashely and Laura have always seen her as a girl, even when her parents wouldn't understand or accept. I like that in this case, Ashley's grandmother is really pretty accepting. Ashley also likes to rescue stray dogs, and find them homes when she can. But I love that one of them, Toby, is a dachshund, at this point in the story, I knew I would be reading on.
I feel it was a pretty original story, the characters were all great, and well developed. At times I struggled a bit with the story because of how it was a bit scattered and such, but it wasn't like that in a bad way, I feel like it totally fit in with the characters, and was how the story was meant to be told. I definitely will be recommending this one.
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Future-Perfect-Jen-Larsen/9780062321237
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-perfect-jen-larsen/1121030465?ean=9780062321237
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at jenlarsen.net.
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