Authors: Julie Cross and Mark Perini
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source/Format: eARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound | The Book Depository
Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry
Eve’s time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she’s determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.
Eve Castle was an up-and-coming supermodel at the tender age of 15, but on the eve (haha) of gaining a major campaign, she suddenly quits modeling and disappears. The press say she was in drug rehab, but what no one knows is that Eve had a secret affair with her much older agent, Wes Danes. Now Eve is back in the city, following her dream of being a photographer, and she ends up smack in the middle of a shoot with Alex Evans, an up-and-coming male model whose agent happens to be Wes. To complicate things more, Alex has been told that he needs to pretend to date French model Elana, who is only 14 years old (even though the tabloids say she’s eighteen). Meanwhile, Eve and Alex are attracted to each other and not sure what to do.
I’ve read a lot of stories about models and the darkness of the industry – Melissa Walker’s Violet on the Runway series comes to mind – but this one had a unique take – that is, the vulnerability of very young, underage models, and the mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationships they can find themselves in.
The strength of the book is in the portrayal of this theme and how the characters in the book deal with and learn about what is okay and not okay in relationships. Eve characterizes her relationship with Wes as extremely intense, and makes it clear that she thinks it’s because of their combative personalities that the relationship falls apart. Eve seems to brush over the fact that Wes would occasionally hurt her physically (not to mention emotionally and mentally). And as the story goes on, you can see history repeating itself. It’s a dark take on the modeling industry, but it’s one that I think needs to be told – whether you’re a model or not.
But there are moments of lightness in this novel – Eve’s past with Wes contrasts fully with Alex and Eve’s relationship – these are two people who have found each other at just the right time, and it’s wonderful to see them grow together – there’s a lot of nuance in this relationship, with discussions of the silly and the smart all mixed together. There’s also a lot of heat to their relationship – this is definitely mature YA, and man, does Julie Cross get me with her romance scenes.
I did have a qualm with this book, which is that the back half of the book, while exciting, felt a bit unrealistic to me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did feel like things were wrapped up a bit too neatly for real life – I actually felt that the authors could have taken things even darker.
That said, the writing is clean and neat, and it’s a book I read in a few hours. A good, fast read.
Family Matters: The contrast between Eve and Alex’s family is pretty interesting to read – Eve is from a very dysfunctional family, while Alex’s family is a more traditional American family. I especially enjoyed Alex’s visit home and his siblings – that part read very, very true.
Models, Inc: Obviously a book about the modelling industry will have some serious insider looks at what happens at shoots, and I’m sure Mark Perini’s background was huge in this, because it felt very real. I really liked learning about creating the concept for shots, but I also liked that this part wasn’t heavy-handed – the focus was on the characters, and the environment was just a part of that.
Book Theme Song:
The Final Word:
Halfway Perfect is a compelling, slightly gritty take on romance and the modeling industry. It’s a fun and fast read, and it’s got some strong character development. I would recommend this to YA romance readers who like a little bit of maturity in their books.
HALFWAY PERFECT is in bookstores now. Are you interested in reading it? Have you read any of Julie Cross’ previous work, like the Tempest series, or Whatever Life Throws At You (which I really liked)? Are you a fan of modelling stories, or of America’s Next Top Model? How do you feel about dark, mature relationships in your YA? Let me know in the comments!