Review | Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzalez

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

I was sold on Perfect on Paper as soon as I saw “anonymous relationship advice service.” Throughout the story, we get to see some of the letters that were written to Darcy/Locker 89 along with her answers, which were incredibly well-researched and insightful. These broke up the story nicely, and had me wanting to research more about the different attachment styles mentioned (once I finished reading, of course).

At its core, this is a book about relationships, both platonic and romantic. Darcy’s family is involved in her life and important to her, and she has a wonderful support system in her sister, Ainsley. The main romantic relationship is slow-burn and filled with vulnerability, open communication, and many tender scenes.

What I loved most about Perfect on Paper was the characters: they acted like actual teenagers, messy emotions and all. Darcy was incredibly relatable, always first to give advice to others but unable to actually take the same advice and apply it to her own relationships. As a result, she makes some choices that hurt others, and these mistakes are handled in a healthy, realistic way.

Perfect on Paper also has amazing representation. A good portion of on-page time is spent at the school’s Queer & Questioning Club, leading to some important conversations tackling internalized biphobia and bi erasure. So many readers are going to see themselves in this story and feel validated.

Overall, Perfect on Paper was a delightful read with many important messages. I can’t recommend it enough.

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