My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Provided by Edelweiss
Publication Date:June 6, 2017
Publisher:Viking Books for Young Readers
Point of View: First Person (Samson)
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBT+, Contemporary
Who is Sam Raines’s Perfect Ten?
It’s been two years since Sam broke up with the only other eligible gay guy in his high school, so to say he’s been going through a romantic drought is the understatement of the decade. But when Meg, his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend, suggests performing a love spell, Sam is just desperate enough to try. He crafts a list of ten traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th.
Enter three seemingly perfect guys, all in pursuit of Sam. There’s Gus, the suave French exchange student; Jamie, the sweet and shy artist; and Travis, the guitar-playing tattooed enigma. Even Sam’s ex-boyfriend Landon might want another chance.
But does a Perfect Ten even exist? Find out in this delectable coming-of-age romcom with just a touch of magic.
Warning: I’m going to get very ranty, and ragey, and spoilery!
Remember the Teen Witch movie? Where Louise finds out she’s a witch and uses her power for popularity, and to get her all time crush to fall in love with her?
That’s kind of what this book reminds me off, or at least I kind of had this inkling that it was going to be like that. That at the end the Main Character would have this moment of “it’s not love when it’s done through magic,” because is it love when you’ve casted a spell, or is the spell causing the love?
Perfect Ten is a little bit different than that. In a lot of ways. And not in the best ways.
Let me go through the basics. Our main character, Sam, is lonely and in want of a relationship. His last and only relationship with his ex, now best friend—Landon—ended badly, but now he’s ready to get back on the horse and fall in love. Except, there really aren’t any gay guys at his school, or that he knows of, so his best friend, Meg, convinced him to do a love spell. One that will bring him the Perfect guy. The Perfect Ten. In comes 3 guys:
- Gus, the frenchie.
- Jamie, the cute and shy artist who paints the most beautiful birds.
- Travis, the up and coming musician.
- ? Landon, the ex….the one things ended on a very bad note….
Guys, this is going to be super and fully spoilery. (THIS IS MY WAY OF ASKING ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO KNOW/GET SPOILED?)
For about 14 % things were good. I was intrigued with why Sam and Landon broke up. What horrible thing happen that Landon didn’t talk to him for months, and then they got back to being best friends. Then enters Gus. The first thing I’ll be pointing out is that I don’t get why she had to write Gus’ french accent like that other than point out his accent? I don’t know how I feel about that. Things are going good with Gus and Sam, if a little fast for my taste. And then…
“No. Come on, I feel bad even talking about this. I can’t do that to Gus.”
Jamie has just made his first appearance, and Meg is trying to get Sam to ask for his numbers. I loved that Sam said no, like why would he try to get a guy’s number when he has Gus….?
“What are you trying to say?” I growl at Meg, angry that she’s making me even give this a second thought.”
“Nothing. It’s just a little fishy, though, isn’t it? He hasn’t mentioned, like a boyfriend or something back home?”
Then everything leads to this decisive moment:
“So I’m just the American guy you’re leading on and keeping around for company so that after a few months you can go back to… Jean-Luc or Pierre (…)”
you get the point.
“”I hate that I thought he was perfect and he thought of me as something to pass the time.”
“I don’t want to just have fun with you, Why don’t you get that?” I snatch my hand away from his. “I don’t want to be with a liar, and I don’t want to be with someone who’s in love with someone else.”
“Perfect wouldn’t have lied to you,” Meg corrects me.
“Or hurt you,” Landon adds.
The reason I’m providing so many quotes/passages from the Gus and Sam breakup is because I find Sam and really the whole book so hypocritical. At this point, I’d like to mention that Meg has a two-year relationship with Micheal, a guy Sam hates because for the two years he has been constantly cheating on Meg. At times he breaks up with her to go and date other girls, and mostly he cheats on her whilst in a relationship, but Meg never breaks up with him. (All the information/quotes are important, and will serve my point later on).
After the Gus and Sam break up, Sam decided to turn his attention on Jamie. Remember the Jamie phone number thing? Well, Sam does end up giving Jamie his number after the whole Meg pointing out the fishy thing, but Sam doesn’t use it. Well quickly after the break up, he starts talking to Jamie. After hanging out sometime, he decides to ask him out on a date.
But. The author has to introduce Travis sometime, right? And so right after determining that he’ll go on a date with Jamie, Sam meets Travis. And he’s one thirsty guy, because soon after he forgets about Jamie. Or actually, he doesn’t he just doesn’t care.
Movie reference #2. In the movie Because I Said So the mom sets her daughter up with this guy. Except the daughter meets the guy her mom choose and the guy who happened to see all the dates being interviewed. She starts dating them both, and I’m talking like going out to the point were things are getting serious with both. And so when all it’s revealed the guy goes what the actual fuck.
See the thing with the Bachelor/Bachelorette that I hate is that when you start dating someone you don’t expect them to be dating 20+ people. You don’t expect them to be kissing and having sex with other people. Because that’s a pretty shitty thing to do to someone. People aren’t playthings, they aren’t clothes to try on and see which one fits best. But that’s the thing that Perfect Ten is rife with.
“…clenches with guilt about Travis. But that wasn’t my fault, I reason. Travis kissed me without provocation. Hell, he practically jumped me. There was nothing I could do.”
I mean it’s so easy to shove someone away or like not return the kiss back, or be like, “what the fuck? back off,” but that’s if you actually don’t want the kiss? But Sam has a justification for everything. And okay, Jamie and Sam haven’t been on a date. Yet.
Yet. He spends the night at Travis, after kissing him for like the 4th, or was it 5th time, but you know not Sam’s fault. And the next day, get this. The next day he goes on a date and it’s like nothing has happened. And then he starts seriously like dating Jamie, not officially, but talk every night, spend all the time together. Then he meets Travis again, where they kiss yet again. Then Travis invites him to this club and we get this little gem:
“And I know I’ll never tell Jamie about it, just as I’ll never tell him Travis kissed me good-bye.”
Actually this kiss twice that night (anyone keeping count?), and here he’s talking about dancing with Landon and feeling all kind of sinful about it. And so Travis leaves, and since he does (and here he basically would have gone for Travis if Travis wanted a relationship with him, and what not. leaving Jamie behind. Important later on.) he asks Jamie to be his boyfriend.
If this shitshow of a book wasn’t rife and clogged up with cheating, and cheating apologists, the Jamie and Sam interactions would have made this book an actual cute YA contemporary story.
Actual favorite moments coming up:
“And what about loyalty?” I ask.
“What about it?” she fires back.
Her peachy cheeks change into a angry red, but I go on. “He asked you out and then what? A week later he cheated on you with Ellie Graves—“
“We weren’t really going out yet.”
“A technicality,” I say
Does this sound familiar? Like say Sam with Travis? hmmmm. Ps. this is Meg and Micheal fiasco.
“Then explain to me, oh wise one, why Micheal is such a bad guy for texting someone else, when you’ve been doing the same thing to Jamie?”
I was ready to through my popcorn, because damnnnn Meg go for the gut! The thing is according to Jamie cheating is bad when it’s done to him, when it’s done to other people, but now when he does it to other people.
Oh, and Jamie heard it all.
“That’s really a convenient loophole, isn’t it?”
“It’s not a loophole, it’s fact. I never said—“
“No, you never said, you’re right,” Jamie Spits. “You just took me to a place I’ve wanted to see for years and bought me a silver cross and let me kiss you like some foolish idol who has no idea that you’re hooking up with some musician.”
“Jamie, I wasn’t lying to you. That whole date all I could think about was how perfect you were, how great we were together. I didn’t think about Travis at all, and I’d seen him the night before. Doesn’t that tell you something?”
I mean this whole scene is gold, because freaking Jamie is the epitome of ‘you’re only sorry you got caught,” because whilst on this date he did think of Travis, and he had just had his tongue down Travis throat the night before, and he still did it when they were official.
“And then I basically did to Jamie what Gus did to me . What’s wrong with me?
“Nothing’s wrong with you, Sam.”
“I lied to Jamie.”
Landon nods. “Yeah. But he should have given you another chance.”
FUCK THAT SHIT.
And holy of all fucks, I got angrier. I actually thought, well maybe this wasn’t supposed to be a cute YA contemporary ( I usually hate YA LGBTQ+ because they tend to have sucky endings), maybe this was about cheating and, I don’t know, learning from it, I guess? Except Sam never recognized/owns up to cheating, instead he treats it like it’s just lying. And then comes his friends talking about ‘a perfect ten would give you a chance,” and “ I know Jamie was mad, but he should have given you another chance. I was in total agreement with Landon about that.” LIKE FUCK THAT SHIT. BYEEE.
“Yeah, maybe he could have had a bigger dose of number seven, but I could have had a bigger dose of number five myself.” (#5 is loyalty.)
Listen. Listen, understanding is not about forgiving you for cheating. It’s not about forgiving you because it was a musician, even one that might one day, possibly, be up and coming. There’s not a fine line when you begin dating someone that reads, “oh and cheating is acceptable if a, b, and c.”
Oh and when it couldn’t get worse, there was slut-shaming.
ALL QUOTES TAKEN FROM UNCORRECTED PROOF AND MIGHT BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE