Published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Published on 5th May 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, New Adult
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Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.
Eve's time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she's determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.
While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.
But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won't let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Halfway Perfect is a sweet love story between an ex-upcoming-superstar-model-turned-photography student and a Calvin Klein underwear model who is more than he appears, and the conflicts that arise when the underwear model has to fake date a fourteen year old future superstar.
I don’t know much about modelling. The extent of my modelling knowledge comes from the time I binged watched half a season of America’s Next Top Model. I also don’t know how much of the worldbuilding was Cross’ and how much was Perini’s, but together they make a formidable duo. I was completely sucked into this world of agents and casting calls and photos shoots and meetings and travel. I really felt like I was seeing something most people don’t get to see, and I am completely convinced it was an honest representation of the modelling world.
Eve is our ex-model dealing with more emotional baggage than most eighteen year olds should have to deal with. She was strong, and brave, but she was still eighteen, and therefore very young and inexperienced. It wasn’t that she was naïve, but she was making her way through the world without any guidance (her parents stole all her modelling money) and she could only rely on herself.
Alex is the underwear model who genuinely cares for Eve but has to pretend to be in a relationship with fourteen year old Elana for the good of his career. He’s a really good guy who was completely genuine, even with Elana, and he was just a nice little beta boy, never seemed to lose his temper or get violent. He waited for consent and basically he was a huge sweetheart. We need more heroes like Alex, especially in NA fiction, because he’s such a change from the turbo-charged libido-driven violent psychopaths that most NA readers seem to find sexy.
Eva and Alex’s relationship was so damn genuine. They moved very easily into respect, to liking each other, to a genuine friendship, to a flirty kind of thing, before both of them realised they wanted to spend more time with each other and then they realised they were in love. It was so well-written I could follow each moment and go, yes, that’s building on from the last interaction. I just loved reading it, there was no pressure from either of them and both were enthusiastic, willing participants. There was no drama in a ‘chasing’ kind of way – all the issues came from the outside forces trying to keep them apart – gossip columns, agents, work itself. I found this natural, organically built relationship very refreshing.
I also liked the relationship between Eve and Elana because there was no slut-shaming or girl hate, and I really really liked the relationship between Alex and his older brothers. I have always loved the idea of protective older brothers because out of the two I had one died and the other never really cared about protecting his little sister from bullies, so I’ve always loved the idea of lots of big brothers around to protect their little sister or younger brother and his girlfriend.
I didn’t request to read Halfway Perfect and I wasn’t sure I wanted to based on the blurb, however Cross and Perini drew me in very early on with a clear, beautiful story of love between two great characters in a difficult industry that also showed me snapshots of life behind-the-scenes. I was previously put off reading Cross because of a misandrist rant disguised as feminism found in Tempest, but I am glad I read Halfway Perfect because it shows you can always give an author a second chance. Also, the blurb refers to this novel as ‘gritty’ – maybe because there’s statutory rape and domestic abuse in the backstory, which I did not find triggering at all – but I found it much more sweet and fluffy than gritty. I really enjoyed it and I would happily look at any of Cross’ future books.