Read Perfect Online

Authors: Ellen Hopkins

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Social Issues, #Drugs; Alcohol; Substance Abuse, #Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, #Dating & Sex

Perfect

Also by Ellen Hopkins

Crank

Burned

Impulse

Glass

Identical

Tricks

Fallout

Margaret K. McElderry Books

MARGARET K. M
C
ELDERRY BOOKS

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com.

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Ellen Hopkins

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

M
ARGARET
K. M
C
E
LDERRY
B
OOKS
is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
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.

Book edited by Emma D. Dryden

Book design by Mike Rosamilia

The text for this book is set in Trade Gothic Condensed No. 18.

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hopkins, Ellen.

Perfect / Ellen Hopkins.—1st ed.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-4169-8324-8 (hardcover)

ISBN 978-1-4424-2357-2 (eBook)

[1. Novels in verse. 2. Self-esteem—Fiction. 3. Perfectionism (Personality trait)—Fiction. 4. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 5. Family life—Nevada—Fiction. 6. Nevada—Fiction.]

I. Title.

PZ7.5.H67Per 2011

[Fic]—dc22

2010037543

Contents

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1: Cara Sierra Sykes

Chapter 2: Kendra Melody Mathieson

Chapter 3: Sean Terrence O’Connell

Chapter 4: Andre Marcus Kane III

Chapter 5: Cara

Chapter 6: Kendra

Chapter 7: Sean

Chapter 8: Andre

Chapter 9: Cara

Chapter 10: Kendra

Chapter 11: Sean

Chapter 12: Andre

Chapter 13: Cara

Chapter 14: Kendra

Chapter 15: Sean

Chapter 16: Andre

Chapter 17: Cara

Chapter 18: Kendra

Chapter 19: Sean

Chapter 20: Andre

Chapter 21: Cara

Chapter 22: Kendra

Chapter 23: Sean

Chapter 24: Andre

Chapter 25: Cara

Chapter 26: Kendra

Chapter 27: Sean

Chapter 28: Andre

Chapter 29: Cara

Chapter 30: Kendra

Chapter 31: Sean

Chapter 32: Andre

Chapter 33: Cara

Chapter 34: Kendra

Chapter 35: Sean

Chapter 36: Andre

Chapter 37: Cara

Chapter 38: Kendra

Chapter 39: Sean

Chapter 40: Andre

Chapter 41: Cara

Chapter 42: Kendra

Chapter 43: Sean

Chapter 44: Andre

Chapter 45: Cara

Chapter 46: Kendra

Chapter 47: Sean

Chapter 48: Andre

Chapter 49: Cara

Chapter 50: Kendra

Chapter 51: Sean

Chapter 52: Andre

Chapter 53: Cara

Chapter 54: Kendra

Chapter 55: Sean

Chapter 56: Andre

Chapter 57: Cara

Author’s Note

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This ebook is best read at the smallest font setting on your device.

This book is dedicated to every person who has ever looked into a mirror and thought, “I’m not good enough.”

With special thanks to all the people who have convinced me I am good enough. To my mom and dad, who encouraged my talents; and to the teachers who honed those gifts. To my husband, who gathered me in, and to my children, who taught me patience. To my cadre of friends who prop me up when I need it. To Ash Canyon Poets, who helped grow my poetry, and SCBWI, which showed me the way.

To my agent, Laura Rennert, and the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. To my editor and friend, Emma Dryden. To the whole crew at Simon & Schuster who help my books be the best they can be. To teachers and librarians, who share my books with their kids. And, finally, to my readers, who keep faith in me.

Acknowledgments

I must acknowledge the dozens of readers who shared personal stories about eating disorders, beauty pageant experiences, and steroid use. These stories informed the characters in this book, who wouldn’t be as real as they are without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Cara Sierra Sykes

Perfect?

How

do you define a word without
concrete meaning? To each
his own, the saying goes, so

why

push to attain an ideal
state of being that no two
random people will agree is

where

you want to be? Faultless.
Finished. Incomparable. People
can never be these, and anyway,

when

did creating a flawless facade
become a more vital goal
than learning to love the person

who

lives inside your skin?
The outside belongs to others.
Only you should decide for you—

what

is perfect.

Perfection

I’ve lived with the pretense

of perfection for seventeen

years. Give my room a cursory

inspection, you’d think I have OCD.

But it’s only habit and not

obsession that keeps it all orderly.

Of course, I don’t want to give

the impression that it’s all up to me.

Most of the heavy labor is done by

our housekeeper, Gwen. She’s an

imposing woman, not at all the type

that most men would find attractive.

Not even Conner, which is the point.

My twin has a taste for older

women. Before he got himself

locked away, he chased after more

than one. I should have told sooner

about the one he caught, the one

I happened to overhear him with,

having a little afternoon fun.

Okay, I know a psychologist

would say, strictly speaking,

he was prey, not predator.

And in a way, I can’t really

blame him. Emily is simply

stunning. Conner wasn’t the only

one who used to watch her go

running by our house every

morning. But, hello, she was

his
teacher
. That fact alone

should have been enough warning

that things would not turn out well.

I never would have expected

Conner to attempt the coward’s way

out, though. Some consider suicide

an act of honor. I seriously don’t agree.

But even if it were, you’d have to

actually die. All Conner did was

stain Mom’s new white Berber

carpet. They’re replacing it now.

Mom Stands There Watching

The men work, laying mint

green carpeting over clean beige

padding. Thick. Lush. Camouflage.

I sit on the top stair, unseen.

Invisible. Silent. I might as well

not even be here at all. And

that’s all right. At least I don’t

have to worry that she will focus

her anger on me. Instead she blasts
it toward the carpet guys.
Idiots!
You’re scratching the patina!
Her hiss is like a cobra’s spit.
I might want to expose that wood
one day. I can’t if it’s marred
.
But she never will. That oak
has been irreparably scarred

by gunpowder-tainted

blood. And even more by

the intent behind the bullet.

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