Hi all! Today I’ll be reviewing A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan. I hope you enjoy!
(Synopsis from goodreads)
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!
A Place Called Perfect delivers a creepy and whimsical tale on friendship, and fighting for what you believe in.
The synopsis was said to be a book fans of Roald Dahl would like. I’m happy to report that this pitch is quite accurate! However, it did miss the mark for me in some places.
One aspect of the book I didn’t like were the characters. The main character Violet can’t do much on her own. She always needs the help of a boy whose name is…Boy. This annoyed me as young children, specifically young girls, will read this and see a girl their age constantly being saved by a boy. Here is a quote from page 237 in which I feel has some sexist undertones. For context, the main character Violet says this line. “I think I prefer the gate.” To which Boy responds. “Don’t be such a girl.” Boy laughed. It’s almost as though Boy is using the word ‘girl’ as an insult. The line was unnecessary, and adds nothing to the story. There was another line similar to this one. I can’t remember the page, but for context, Violet is cold. To which Boy responds, “Boys don’t get cold.” I just don’t think these comments are needed, especially in a children’s book. Overall, the main characters Violet and Boy were written very poorly. It’s such a shame because A Place Called Perfect had so much potential for witty banter.
Luckily, the side characters, specifically the Archer brothers, add a lot of creepiness to the story. The background characters also have this bizarre monotone expression to everything. It’ll only make you want to read on!
The dialogue, as mentioned earlier, contained a few sexist remarks. This unfortunately was a big turn off for me.
On a better note, the writing was deliciously eerie and gripping. It definitely reads like a thriller-mystery. The book is also quite easy to read, which is a plus since the target audience is under thirteen. My only complaint is that the pacing felt off at times. It went from 0 to 100 far too many times, and the transitions weren’t very smooth. Nevertheless, Helena Duggan still delivers a great story!
The overall enjoyment level of this book is fairly high. It was engaging, but could easily become boring for those who don’t love thrillers. All in all, if you’re looking for a creepy story to read on a rainy day, I highly recommend A Place Called Perfect!
Age Rating: 10 and up
TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, mind control, some violence
Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars
What’s your favorite mystery novel? Have a great day!