Imagine going to a pet show to pick out a pet. At the show, all of the pets you encounter are quite cute. They all have different colored hair, as well as different lengths and styles. Each pet is fully trained, and even has a few special tricks. This scenario sounds fairly normal, and you probably can easily see yourself doing this. But one particular detail was left out of this scene. The pets are 16 year old girls. Welcome to Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch, where a sixteen year old girl has been bred and trained to perfection. With perfect posture, perfect face and body, and perfect attitude and talent, she is ready to be sold off from the Greenwich kennels to her forever home, where she will be treated as a showpiece for the rest of her life. Although when she is bought by a congressman and brought home, she finds that she is specifically there to entertain and befriend his pre-teen unpopular daughter Ruby, but the congressman’s wife despises her, and the congressman wants to be more than friends with the new pet. But then there is Penn; the older brother who is a disappointment to his father, loves music, and thinks the idea of having a pet after the first pet was such a disaster is a terrible idea. Even though he doesn't like her, Penn still is the one to name her, naming her Ella, after Ella Fitzgerald, (not that anyone else knows that's the reason behind the name); and after getting to know her, starts to fall in love, just as she does him. Perfected is the story of a high class slave, in a near future dystopian world where genetically engineered slaves are legal. The story highlights on freedom, and the hardships that come with it, and although it was very cliche it was still an interesting story with a good plot.
In Perfected, Ella continues to hear about this first pet, and how she got sick and sent back to the kennels. After this pet was brought up a few times, I was able to guess what had happened to the first pet, even though it was a big surprise to Ella near the end of the book, it was cliche enough for the reader to determine the outcome very easily. There was also a specific scene where the Ruby went over to a friends’ house with Ella for the two pets to play together. The other friend that did not have a pet was not allowed to come, because she didn't have a pet, and therefore wasn't cool enough to hang out with the others. This is another very cliche scene, but it is very realistic in modern times, and to some maybe even relatable. Many people have a very hard time accepting books with cliches, as they are often very overused, but Kate Jarvik Birch did a very good job keeping the story moving and interesting while infusing such a generic plot. I was very surprised by the entire end of the book though, as it (sort of spoiler coming) did not have the happy fairytale ending that the author led you to believe it would have. It left me sitting there jaw dropped with a very unsettling feeling.
The story also shows a lot about freedom, and how slavery could re-appear in the near future, but instead of with low class workers, high class toys that are like that of pets. Ella and other pets like her are not even paid, or even “released” after working for so long, they just sit around and look pretty until they are to old, which is when they are sent back to the kennels to be put down. It really emphasizes how Ella isn't even treated humanely, and is looked down upon by those who she meets. This also emphasizes how lucky people are to be as free as they are, because nobody would want to be in Ella's, terrible position, everybody would want to be as free as any present day citizen. I was very surprised at the way the other characters saw Ella. The way Penn saw straight through Ella, and the way Ruby merely befriended her surprised me because I expected them as young people to presume she was what she was, a pet. I didn't expect them to bond and form relationships as quickly as they did. I was not surprised the way adults treated her, like a less significant being, but I was very appalled by it. The father’s attraction towards Ella was disgusting, and the mother’s hatred was upsetting. Furthermore, the adults didn't even give a second thought to Ella having any freedom, and when the idea came up through the story’s plot, they were taken aback very much. Near the end of the book, the idea that freedom comes with a price also comes into play, and conveys a very strong example of the lengths that are gone to to gain freedom, and the lengths gone to to protect people from being free.
Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch is a very interesting book with many strong ideas about what will come of the world if genetic engineering continues. It shows a lot about freedom, and what it means to be free. It also helps people be grateful for the little things that are taken for granted. Overall, I rate Perfected eight out of ten stars, because it is a very interesting story with a good plot. It is a short read, and doesn't have a very high level of diction, but sometimes it is nice to have a simple read that allows you to fall into the plot and really be intrigued by the characters. So next time you want a quick and simple book, I really suggest Perfected. If you like love, dystopian, or near future realistic realities (that's a strange description, but trust me, it's true.) then this is the perfect book for you. If you have , what's your opinion on the cliche plot, and the choice in characters’ actions? If you haven't read it, does it sound interesting to you? Do you plan on reading it? I really do recommend reading this book, as I really enjoyed it. Just keep an eye out for those cliches, and try to use them to guess what happens next!