Better than Perfect

By Simone Elkeles

Review by Jalyn R.


1.  This book was about two seventeen year old teenagers who fall in love. They weren’t the perfect match in the beginning because they are two completely different people. Ashtyn is captain of the football team. Her mom left her when she was little and never looked back. Her father Gus, no longer bonds with her like he used to. Her sister Brandi, moved out when Ashtyn was 10 and is now married to Steve Fitzpatrck. That is how Derek comes into the story. Derek is Steve’s son, and now Brandi’s stepson. Derek’s mother died of cancer during his freshman year. He was left traumatized. His father is underwater on a submarine for six months with his job as a Marine. While in California, Derek is kicked out of boarding school as a result of a prank gone wrong. He then has no choice but to move to Fremont in Chicago,IL with his stepmother Brandi to her father’s house. When they arrive, the tension begins. Ashtyn arrives home from football practice and mistakes Derek for a football rival and stabs him with a pitchfork. Throughout the book they both annoy each other, argue, and fall in love. They find out they are meant to be together when Ashtyn has no other way to get to her dream football camp in Texas, without Derek’s help. The drive up there is literally epic… Heart warming but crucial and devastating at the same time. Ashtyn wants Derek to love her for just one night but he rejects her with brutal dishonesty. He doesn't tell her he can’t just be with her for one night because he loves her. Instead he makes up yes that crush Ashtyn from the inside out. The ending of the drive was silence because both were hurting on the inside (heartbroken). Derek drops Ashtyn off at football camp and is on his way. He drives to his grandmother’s house because he thought she was dying. He found out she wasn’t and that she just wanted him to run the rich family company. His grandmother throws him a party but he is not happy with what he has found out. While Ashtyn is at football camp she also finds out things that she is not so happy with. Derek has hidden too much from her. Football is her life and Derek failed to tell her that he used to be a star. He was an “All-Star QuarterBack” and MVP. He led his team to state twice. She decides he will not get away with lying to her and goes to his grandmothers house to confront him. While there, she and Derek argue but she is asked by his grandmother to stay for the party. Ashtyn has an allergic reaction to the purple in the cookies and Derek saves her. The week goes on. When they arrive back in Chicago, Derek has decided he is moving to Texas with his grandmother and is ready to pack. Ashtyn can’t hold her feelings in any longer. On Derek’s final night in Fremont, they both let how they truly feel about each other be known. They make love in the same place they met and Ashtyn is happy but broken. She doesn’t want Derek to leave her. When Derek arrives back in Texas, he doesn't stay, but him and his grandmother both move to Chicago. In the end… Derek does the unthinkable.

2.  Yes, this book was a book that once you pick up and start reading you can’t put it down. I became addicted after reading the first chapter. It was like Ice Cream. It was so good, I had to finish it. I personally like everything about this book. It has bias and irony in the beginning. As you continue you see facetiousness, perseverance, and love. This book will make you cry and make you happy all in one. Everything fits together perfectly.

3.  My favorite part is when Derek is about to leave but Ashtyn and him have one last night together to show their love for each other. I like how it was romantic and it happened where they first met. I think that it is important to be happy and feel loved. That was my favorite.
    My favorite character is Ashtyn. I choose her as my favorite character because she is determined, has willpower, and has an enormous amount of potential. She has a dream and she will let anything stand in the way of her chasing it. She strives to achieve and earn the gold. She is not afraid to be herself. Ashtyn doesn’t let words get to her. She will push herself as hard as she needs to, to accomplish her goals. Lastly, she will stop at nothing to get let the boy she loves know that she loves him.

4.  I related to Derek most. He always wanted to protect Ashtyn but sabotaged his relationship with her in the beginning every chance he got. I always sabotage my relationships with people because I don’t want to hurt them, or I don’t want them to hurt me. In the same sentence… If I am in a relationship with someone, I am very protective of them. He pushed away those he loved most and held his emotion inside, I don’t hide my emotion… I bury my emotion deep down inside of me. He had slight problems with his anger and with getting into trouble. I have an aggressive personality, and I am always in trouble. He struggled with the death of his mother and how to deal with it. I have a hard time dealing with death. After Derek’s traumatic event, he quit playing football. After my traumatic event, I quit playing softball. Derek and I are alike in numerous ways.

5.  Yes, If the person likes love stories, this would be the first book I would recommend. This book is like your favorite candy. Once you eat that candy for the first time, you will never forget the taste because it is so good. That is how this book is. It will sink into your mind. It is a great book and will have a long lasting effect on you. It is mind blowing how wonderful this book is.

6.  I do like the title. If I could change it, the title would be “Love On The Other Side of The Yard Line”. I say that because both Ashtyn and Derek love and play football.

   Yes, I like the way the book ended. The alternate ending I would like more would be Fermont High winning state, and Derek and Ashtyn sign with the same college on Football Scholarships.

    I did not like the cover because I do not think it fits the book at all. If I could redesign it, it would have a football love scene theme. It would be a picture of a boy and girl in full football uniforms except helmets. He would be in cleats and she would be in heels. He would be holding her up and kissing her. 

   My favorite saying from this book is… “When you have something or somebody good, don’t let it or them get away from you”. I like that saying because it is true. I have let too many good things and too many good people in my life get aways from me. You don’t find someone or something that is good for you no matter what everyday.

   I think the author was trying to send the message… “When you want something, go for it. When you love someone, tell them how you feel. Be yourself and don’t let other people’s words and opinions change how you feel about yourself.” That is what I think the author’s message in this book was.