Perfect Summer by Karen King
Set in the future in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan can't help being a bit envious of her best friend, Summer. Summer is beautiful, rich and seems to have an effortlessly perfect life. Whereas Morgan isn't so rich, or beautiful and her younger brother Josh has Down's syndrome, which according to the government, and society in general, is a crime.
Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren't interested, so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager Jamie whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late?
Cover: I had ambivalent feelings toward the cover. You know the old saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover?"; yeah, I did just that. At first, I didn't get it: it had nothing to do with the blurb except the futurisitic look of it. Then as I read the book, the cover made more sense; especially toward the end of the novel. Either way, it's a mysterious cover, which is a-okay in my book.
The Story: When I started reading Perfect Summer, I fell in love with Morgan. She was very relatable, and I could see the actual events through her voice. King did such a great job with Morgan's character that I flipped with joy. Despite the few character flaws, Morgan was a great character. When I first met Summer, I was like:
But she turned out okay... I guess. Despite Summer being beautiful and having THE perfect life, she was always there for Morgan even after she had found out that Morgan had a brother with Down's. Yet, I feel like her true colors were shown at the end when she blew up about what her dad did to Summer's family. I guess we all have our flaws.
Then, Jamie comes along. He's like the geek with an edge, especially since he has a kickass motorcycle. He and Morgan share the common pain of their kidnapped siblings and bond over it. When I first saw the interactions between Jamie and Morgan, I SHIPPED it! I just think they would have made the perfect couple.
The plot of Perfect Summer was actually pretty interesting. Though the novel had nothing to do with perfection, King does an amazing job of writing about the discrimination children with disabilities face. I don't know about you, but this is still pretty evident in the world. Just this year a girl with Down's was voted as Homecoming queen for a senior class as a joke. In the novel King writes about the hardships families endured when they had RADs (Recorded Abnormality Details), the disdain people hoarded as they looked at RADs, and the injustice RADs experienced; yet, King wrote about the everlasting love RADs had. This book definitely gave me a lasting impression that imperfections are what makes a person perfect.
I enjoyed every minute of King's work. To be honest, I thought this novel was a mix between The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (both awesome books by the way).
I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 and would would recommend it to people 12+ because there are a few scenes that may make a reader queasy. If you feel sensitive about Down's and any other birth defect like Down's, I suggest you read with caution toward the end of the book as it is a little gruesome of how they treat the RADs.
You can buy Karen King's Perfect Summer in paperback and ebook at these links: