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Review for Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross & Mark Perini

Halfway Perfect - Mark Perini, Julie Cross

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

Eve Nowakowski left the modeling world behind many years ago. Now, as she pursues a career behind the camera, she is thrown back into the world she avoided for so long. But she doesn’t have a choice if she wants to impress a world-class photographer and if she happens to see people she’d rather not, so be it. Enter model Alex Evans, who is gaining recognition and climbing the ranks. For that to continue, he must maintain a fake relationship with his co-star Elena. A co-star who just happens to be underage. All the while Alex finds himself more and more attracted to Eve. As things slowly heat between the two of them, Eve’s past comes a-knockin’ and Alex’s future career is riding on the line. Will they fight to stay together or will they let outside forces tear them apart?

From moment one, all I wanted was to see Eve succeed. On the outside, it seems she has been dealt a pretty awesome hand. She was a successful model in her teens and she’s smart and (obviously) pretty. But that modelling success costs her so much more than most people realize. The fact that she made so much money means it’s impossible for her to receive financial aide for school, despite the fact that her parents spent all her money and she’s now completely broke. Plus, there was a very real reason she left that life behind and a hatred for the art of modeling is not it. This girl is so smart and funny and determined to make a life for herself that I envy her drive. If I went through everything she had and then still had to fight like hell to get the high level college education she was going for, I can’t say I would have even made the effort.

Then we have Alex. Hot, cocky, and extremely photogenic, I wasn’t sure I’d like him initially. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I was more than a little nervous to read from his perspective. It didn’t take him long to win me over, though, especially with his high moral standards. He’s desire to protect Elena had me awww with he rest of the female population. It’s clear that he is a flawed character. He loves this job, even though he can’t get his family to understand. I love his family, by the way. You get to meet them about halfway through and I adore every single member. The parents, the brothers, the sister, the whole set. We should all be so lucky. What really won me over, beside the determination to make things as comfortable as possible for Elena, is how he pursues Eve. He’s thoughtful and sweet and doesn’t simply rely on his gorgeous face to win her over.

When I first heard about this novel, I immediately wanted to read it. First because I adored Julie’s NA novel Third Degree and I knew this would be just as good. Second because it was about modeling and it was co-written by a male model. Even though writing is often seen as a male profession, we don’t have nearly as many male YA writers as we do female and I’m always excited to see through their eyes. Despite the fact that I’m happily married to a very sweet man and have read dozen’s of male perspectives and seen dozen’s of movies portrayed through men’s eyes, I’m still fascinated by seeing through that perspective. This is probably going to sound extremely naive of me, so I apologize in advance, but I always wonder it men think the same way women do. It’s a stupid notion, but really, from the point we girls hit teenage years, we are told to believe that guys only think about sex and that’s all that matters. Despite aging much beyond those years, some of those lectures still stick in my mind. So, some forever teenager stuck in my brain is always screaming with glee when I come across a well written story about a teenage boy that is thoughtful and sweet. Is it a bit stupid? Absolutely, but my brain does it anyway and I cannot be the only one out there who feels this way.

I read this novel very quickly. I was sitting at home on a Friday, thinking about the books I was supposed to be reading and thinking that I wanted to read something else that just grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. I consulted my For Review list (yes, I have an actual spreadsheet list with all the books I have requested/received for review) and Halfway Perfect jumped to the top of the list. I started reading it that night and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then I got up the following morning and finished it. It was addicting. I had to know what happened next. Did Eve get that scholarship thing? Did Alex finally realize what an asshat his agent was? Will Eve and Alex find a way to make it work?

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m stuck on things with a contemporary romance side. I can’t help it. I devour them quickly and this was no exception to that. From the first moment I picked it up, I was enraptured. This novels takes turns that I wasn’t expecting and pushes the story in a direction that I didn’t see coming. There is one specific turning point where the novel went in the exact opposite direction I thought that it would, so I have to applaud Cross & Perini for not following the expected path in the best way possible. Things turned out better that way. All you really need to know is that this novel is better than halfway perfect. It’s completely prefect and I recommend it to everyone!

****Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****