What I'm loving about the Harry Potter perfect mini-challenge is that I'm trying new books and giving myself permission to put them down if I'm not that into them. Usually, if I don't like a book, I force myself to keep reading and it ends up slowing down my total reading consumption, since I'm not the kind of girl who has several books going at once. But the perfect mini-challenge allowed me to change my reading habits, at least for a month.
The first book I picked up, Perfect Chemistry (blog post), I had been meaning to read for months, and I was ecstatic to finally have an excuse to do so. The second book, Perfect (blog post), ended up suiting my tastes better than I expected.
The third book, was a harder choice. I grabbed Perfect by Sarah Shepard out of the library. I'd been meaning to read it for some time, but even with it sitting there on my counter, I just couldn't get myself to start it. Those books don't move and now that they are all out, I can go have all my questions answered on the wikipedia page.
Then, I checked Almost Perfect out of my library, but it's a romance and it's February and I think I'm too cool for that. My last option was Perfect On Paper: The Misadventures of Waverly Bryson, about a twenty-something who is afraid she will never get married and constantly finds herself in ridiculous situations.... it sounds promising, but if I want to read about my life, I'll stick with Stephanie Plum, because at least there I also get action and that Morelli boy.
That's when I remembered Perfect Fifths. It was my least favorite book in one of my all time favorite series. With two days left in the mini-challenge, I knew it was my best option.
Even after reading it again, I can't decide how much I like it. It is beautifully written, different, honest, and gives closure to a story that sometimes feels more real than my own life. But...
The first four books are Jessica's journals. They chronicle the life of Jessica Darling--and her relationship with redeemed bad boy Marcus Flutie--through high school and college. It is funny and truthful and intense. It is the main reason that I obsessively journaled for a year of my life.
Perfect Fifths is third person omniscient in part one, dialog only in part two, comprised of haiku poetry written by Jessica and Marcus in part three, and then back to third person omniscient for the fourth and final part. I missed Jessica's unique voice and the way it allowed me to experience the story--as if I was living it instead of just reading about it. Granted, Perfect Fifths allows us into Marcus's head for the first time. Since he is completely beyond comprehension for much of the series, it is important to really understand how he thinks in order to find closure for the romance. (Marcus Flutie is my gold standard for love interests.)
Other than that, the story seems to self-aware. Jessica has always been hyper-observant, Marcus a bit of a wise old soul, but here it all seemed so... orchestrated. The chance encounter, the Barry Manilow leitmotif, the dreams... Perfect Fifths is a good novel and certainly brought the series to a close that should have been satisfying, but I can't help but feel disappointed by the ending, because the whole fifth book drew too much attention to the fact that is all a narrative construct.
Megan McCafferty's next book (a dystopian--yay!) is Bumped, which comes out April 26. Also, you can buy the entire Jessica Darling series together for kindle for only $9.99 (as of 2/13/11). Perfect Fifths is my third book for the Hogwarts Challenge Perfect Mini-Challenge, counts toward 100+, and Read Me Baby One More Time. Follow my progress on my 2011 Challenges page.