Can anyone be "better than perfect"? That's the question lonely teenager Elizabeth Haddon struggles to answer when she is sent from England to live with relatives in Auckland, New Zealand. Arriving in the dead of winter, Elizabeth soon falls under the spell of her beautiful, but enigmatic cousin Ravenna who insists the most important thing in life is to "fit in." Elizabeth, who wants only to be accepted by her new family and their affuent social circle does her best to comply until she starts to see the cracks;cracks that turn into virtual canyons when tragedy strikes. Set in a time before computers, e-mail, or cell phones, Better Than Perfect follows Elizabeth's journey to find her own true place in a world of isolation.
Amazon Customer Review
In this book, author Valerie Storey writes the story of a young girl shipped off to New Zealand after it has been made clear she is not wanted at home. Upon arriving at the home of her aunt, she goes through the struggles of trying to fit in while clearly being the outsider.
Ms. Storey does an amazing job having the reader become sympathetic to Elizabeth and her struggles to live up to her older cousin in her new home. It comes out not as pure jealousy, but as admiration and understanding that no matter what she does, she will never be considered as good. There is a great storyline where Elizabeth wonders what her life would be like if her mother had been different and if Lily Parker had never entered her life. Is having her mother's maiden name a good enough reason to be looked down upon by other family members and teachers alike?
This was a very well written book which I dare say can compete with the "holy grail" traditionally published books. Ms. Storey has a way with writing her words where I found myself looking up and wondering where the time went. I sat down to read a couple of chapters before lunch and found myself not only missing lunch but not caring.
I recommend this book without hesitation. It is very nicely written will appeal those into YA and beyond.