How Far Will You Go For Your Dream School? Find Out Ashley's Story in 'Future Perfect'

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Future Perfect

Jen Larsen

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness. Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is. But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery. As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her? Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.


What are you supposed to say about a book like this? Congratulations? Huzzah? I'm not sure.

I loved Laura and Jolene. They were the perfect cheer squad for Ashley. They were helpful and kind. They cared. They cared in different ways, though. Laura tried to be the fun one who was defiant and fought back. Jolene was more laid back, but she tried to support Ashley in every way. If I had friends like Laura and Jolene, I'd be set for life.

I have to admit that I liked Ashley's decision in the end. She realized that she didn't need anything to love herself. She didn't need to be thin. She was thriving anyways. She'd change the world anyways.
There wasn't an explanation, though. She just bolted. She didn't explain. There wasn't a why. There was only the effect. No cause.

I was highly confused for a majority of the plot. The story was jumping from thing to thing. Laura. The boyfriend Hector. Jolene. It was as if everyone else decided to make their lives sucky at the same time as Ashley's decision. Poor Ashley had to keep up with all that. That made it a confusing jumble of different stories and different lives. It was confusing.

The romance was oddly lacking. Which seemed odd. Normally, you are overcompensating. Why do you like him? He's nice? He's cute? What else? Does his music make you all fluffy inside? Does his smile light up your world? I need some fluff here! Something to make sense. 



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Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at


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Prizes: Win a signed hardcopy of FUTURE PERFECT, a FUTURE PERFECT SHIRT and  FUTURE PERFECT button and magnet (US Only)

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