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Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamourous-and dangerous-bow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781494556594
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 02/10/2015
Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. Her essays and short stories have been published in such literary journals as Indiana Review and Saint Ann's Review. Kate lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three kids. Visit her at

Audie Award finalist Tavia Gilbert is a classical theater and public radio-trained actress who has earned AudioFile Earphones and Parents' Choice awards for her audiobook narrations. Tavia has narrated more than 250 multicast and single-voice audiobooks.

Read an Excerpt


By Kate Jarvik Birch, Heather Howland, Sue Winegardner

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Kate Jarvik Birch
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-269-2


"Remember. You'll never be one of them," Miss Gellner said, repositioning each of us on our divans in the sitting room so our gowns draped elegantly around our crossed ankles.

She stepped back and gazed at the group of us, her face pinched and stern like always, but I spotted a tiny glimmer of pride behind her rheumy eyes. Twenty girls, all lovely, demure, quiet. She was pleased with us, even if she wouldn't say it out loud.

Miss Gellner blinked, as if bringing herself back to the moment. "Things won't change once you leave here," she went on. "Simply because you'll be pampered and spoiled, your life's mission won't suddenly be any different. Remember that. Your sole purpose is to enrich the lives of your new owners."

As she said this, she lightly tapped her bamboo training stick against my back, not a hard whack the way she had done relentlessly when we first transferred from the Greenwich Kennels to the training center, where she and her staff could cultivate us into the sort of girls we were bred to be. This was just a warning tap, reminding me to sit so that my spine was a stem, and I was the flower resting atop it.

It was a pose we'd practiced daily for the past four years, during our Music and Etiquette and Dining lessons, even during our nightly baths. But the fluttering in my stomach distracted me, drawing me down into myself. My whole body felt fluttery—my hands, my feet, even my eyes. I worried that the moment the two grand doors leading to the reception room swung open, I might flap away; a feather caught in the wind.

Next to me, Seven bit nervously at her bottom lip. It was weird to think that by tonight she'd have a new name, a real one. The breeders at Greenwich assigned us numbers as names at conception: One through Twenty, since twenty was the maximum number of girls they were allowed to have each year. I was Eight, but not for much longer. By tonight, I could be anything.

Across the room, Miss Gellner took a few steps toward the grand wooden doors, resting her hand lightly on the knob before she turned to face us one last time.

"I want you to keep your composure when they come in. I've spent four years preparing you for this moment." She thumped her training stick on the ground for emphasis. "Four years. Don't waste them. Each move that you make, every turn of your head and pout of your lips, speaks to my effectiveness as a trainer, and I won't have that work tarnished. When I open these doors, I expect you to remember all the things I've taught you."

The stiff lining of my dress rubbed against my rib cage and I ached to shift to a more comfortable position, but I held still, staring straight ahead at Miss Gellner with a soft smile placed carefully on my lips.

"Be sure to hold your tongues," she continued. "You are not doing the selecting. Do not ask questions. Speak if spoken to, but keep your answers brief. We don't want to scare away a potential buyer with a girl who has too forward a notion of who's in charge."

Beside me, the other girls sat silently. We were perfectly trained, all of us. And lovely, too. In our new dresses, we looked like royalty. Miss Gellner had picked out a different shade of gown for each of us, our first piece of clothing that was distinctly ours. She'd deliberated long and hard on the color choices. She wanted us each to look different. It wouldn't do for the customers to think they were getting cloned girls even though there were plenty of differences between us to set us apart. Yes, we all had large eyes, spaced perfectly on our heart-shaped faces. We all had small noses, long, thin necks, and rose petal lips. But we each had distinct coloring. Seven's hair was nearly black. Sixteen's eyes were green, the color of fresh summer grass, and Twenty's skin was the same warm brown of the toasted bread that we were rewarded with on Sunday mornings. We were each unique. One of a kind.

I was happy with the dress Miss Gellner had chosen for me. It was the palest shade of blue, hardly a color at all. These dresses would be the only item that would accompany us to our new homes. Our new owners would provide everything else.

"We're lucky to have a number of congressmen and senators here today," Miss Gellner said. "Power, prestige, wealth—you'll be surrounded by the best, which is why it is important that you be the best." Miss Gellner sighed, nodding her head once. "All right girls. It's time."

She turned and threw open the doors. "Ladies ... Gentlemen ..." Her voice boomed as she glided into the next room. "If you'll kindly follow me, I'll show you to the sitting room. You'll have a chance to look over the girls before you make your decision. As I told each of you over the phone, the number on your tag will determine the order of selection."

A moment later a stream of bodies and voices flowed into the room. I drew a breath and held it, trying to compose myself, but the fluttering inside me only grew worse. My vision blurred as the men and women pressed closer, talking loudly to one another.

"Oh my! They're so little," a woman cooed. "They look like twelve-year-olds."

"I can assure you, they're sixteen," Miss Gellner said. "They're fully grown; all measuring exactly five feet."

An older man grabbed a lock of my hair and rubbed it between his fingers. "Like corn silk," he said to the woman next to him. "Did you say you were hoping for a blonde or a redhead? This one almost seems like a mix of the two."

"And it does have beautiful eyes. Look, they're practically turquoise," she crooned. "But, I was hoping for a real redhead. There's an auburn one over there we should look at."

I didn't dare turn my head to watch them walk across the room to look at Ten.

A middle-aged couple finished looking at Seven and circled around me. I blinked a few times, bringing my vision back into focus as the man's dark eyes skated over me. He was obviously quite a bit older than me, but his jaw was much stronger than the other men I'd seen so far, and his eyes were bright. A sprinkling of gray hairs dusted the dark hair at his temples. The woman beside him had probably been a beauty when she was younger, but now she was a different sort of beautiful—regal and refined. She was tall, even taller than Miss Gellner, with high cheekbones, a strong jaw, and long, arched brows perched overtop piercing blue eyes. Even though she had lines around her eyes and mouth, her hair was almost as dark as Seven's, without a hint of gray. Everything about her intimidated me.

"Now this has some promise," the man said. "Do you like this one?"

"Oh John, do we really need to do this?" The woman sighed, her gaze drifting around the room.

"Do what, darling?"

"You can cut it with the 'darling,' too. It's not like anyone's listening. They're busy choosing their own pets," she said, gesturing at the rest of the people in the room with an elegant sweep of her arm. "And you can stop pretending I have any say in your precious little project. You know I couldn't care less about getting her."

Her husband stepped forward, so close their bodies almost touched. "You know how it looks for us not to have one, don't you? After all the time I spent getting this bill to pass. People are saying things. You don't want them to think—"

"Whatever you say, dear." She took a step away from him, eyeing an old man who had turned his attention to their conversation. "I'm merely along for the ride."

"You can't argue that Ruby needs this," the man said. "We agreed."

Her face softened. "I know."

He took a deep breath, and when he turned back to me, it was as if he'd flipped a switch, changing his face back to the same well-groomed look of prominence and stature I'd seen on it to begin with.

"Stand up and give us a little whirl, love," he said to me.

I hadn't anticipated the weakness in my legs, but I stood and turned slowly, the way I learned in my Poise lessons. I kept my chin up, neck elongated, my arms held out ever so slightly from my sides as if my hands were brushing the skirt of a tutu.

The man smiled once I faced him again. "And what are your talents? The kennel trainer said that you each specialize in two."

"My talents are piano, dance, and singing. Although my vocal range is not as diverse as some."

His forehead creased, his eyes narrowing, and my stomach flipped. If Miss Gellner had been standing next to me, she would have lashed me with her stick. We'd practiced our lines over and over and still I said it wrong. There hadn't been any need for me to point out my faults so blatantly. I should have only mentioned the piano and dance and not said anything about the singing. I was trying too hard to impress.

"Three talents?" he asked. "Marvelous. I suppose we'd be getting a little bit more bang for the buck if we go with you then, isn't that right?"

The man's phrasing confused me and I lowered my eyes to the ground and smiled softly the way we'd been taught to do if we ever didn't know how to answer a question.

"So which is your favorite?"

"Favorite?" I asked.

"Which one do you like the most?"

"I'm quite good at all three as long as the song I'm singing is written for a mezzo-soprano."

"But certainly you have a favorite?"

My mind raced, trying to think over all the scenarios we'd spoken about in our Conversation class, but I drew a blank. Those classes were meant to help us understand our new owner better, not to help them understand us. I couldn't come right out and tell him that I had a favorite. Miss Gellner would be outraged. Maybe I could try to change the subject? But then he might realize I was doing it to avoid his question, and he would know that I really did have a favorite.

It was too complicated an interaction.

The woman smiled slyly. "Maybe she doesn't understand your question, John. Sure, she's pretty, but they weren't bred for brains."

"I thought you said you wanted to stay out of this."

She raised her hands and took a step back without saying another word.

The man tried again. "What I mean to say is, which one of your talents do you prefer? Is there one that makes you particularly happy?"

I swallowed, hoping to push down the rock that had lodged itself in my throat. "Well sir, if there's one that you prefer, I'm sure I'd be delighted to perform for you."

The man sighed and shook his head. "Never mind. Why don't you sit back down?"

I smiled once more and sank back onto the divan, trying to hold my head high even though my eyes burned.

For the next hour, the groups of men and women circled around the room. They were all so much bigger than I'd imagined they'd be, not only in their physical stature, but their presence, as if the room couldn't contain them. They gobbled up the air.

Finally Miss Gellner moved us into the concert room. We'd each been assigned one talent to demonstrate to give the clients a better taste of what they'd be buying. Four and Five would each be performing an adagio en pointe, a few girls were playing the flute and the cello, but the majority of us would be playing the piano or singing.

Maybe it should have bothered me that I wouldn't stand out, but all I could think about as we sat down in the velvet seats arranged along the edges of the room was Debussy's "Arabesque No. 1" in E major, the song Miss Gellner had chosen for me to play. It wasn't an elaborate song. I could play solos that were so much more difficult like the piece by Prokofiev that I learned last year, but I was glad she hadn't chosen that one. Sure, I wouldn't be able to show off my finger work playing the "First Arabesque," but that didn't matter. I could already feel the notes of the song moving up through my fingers and arms, a soft vibration that settled somewhere at the base of my neck like the warm hand of a friend.

We moved in order: One, Two, Three, Four, on and on until finally it was my turn. As I climbed the stairs to the small stage at the front of the room and sat on the tufted cushion of the piano bench, it was as if a white curtain had been drawn down between the crowd and me. I took a deep breath, savoring the moment before I placed my hands on the keys and started to play.

My fingers floated over the ivories for only a short four minutes, but my heart and mind quieted. I didn't know if the other girls felt this way when they were playing, as if they were all alone and the rest of the world melted away, leaving the air awash in soft color. I'd always been too embarrassed to ask. What if it meant that I had something wrong with me?

Those four minutes didn't last long enough and before I knew it my fingers had stopped, hovering over the keys as the last notes died away. A polite spattering of applause brought me back to the room full of strangers. As I stood, I glanced out into the audience, allowing myself to imagine which of these people might be my future owner. Toward the back of the room I spotted the man with the salt-and-pepper hair and his wife. Neither of them was clapping, but for just a second he held my gaze and nodded ever so slightly.

That small gesture made my face burn with shame. He knew that I lied to him before when he'd asked me which one of my talents was my favorite. Of course it was piano, but I could never say it out loud. I was supposed to bring pleasure to my new masters, not to find pleasure for myself.

A cold sweat broke out across my back and I shivered, sitting back down on my chair to watch the remainder of the performances. If he could read me so easily, maybe everyone else could, too.


It didn't surprise me that Ten was the first of us to be sold. The old couple that had been looking for a redhead must have been pleased enough with Ten's deep auburn hair to choose her with the first tag of the day.

Ten rose and walked elegantly to stand beside her new masters, and Miss Gellner called the name of the next tag holder.

"Our second tag belongs to Senator Gibbs," she announced. "Senator, it's a pleasure to have you here today. Have you had a chance to make your selection?"

The elderly gentleman stood and smoothed his hand across the front of his suit. "Yes. They're all fine specimens." He smiled, nodding to the rest of the tag holders. "But I do believe I'll go with number Sixteen."

A few disappointed mumbles circulated through the crowd as Sixteen took her place beside her new owner. I couldn't take my eyes off of the senator as he stroked Sixteen's hair with his large hand, twining his fingers through the flaxen curls at the base of her neck.

Miss Gellner moved on to the next tag, and I tried to concentrate on the name she was announcing, but her words got lost in the low hum filling my head.

I wiped my clammy palms against the soft silk of my dress, trying to calm myself, but I couldn't look away. Miss Gellner had assured us that the tags weren't handed out to just anyone. All her clients were from the top one percent of society. She made sure of that. A customer had to put down twenty thousand dollars just to be entered in the lottery to get a tag. They had to charge such a high price to ensure we'd be owned by the best. People don't appreciate common things, Miss Gellner always said, so it was important that we never be common.

And even though she made it quite clear that it was beneath her to speak about money, Miss Gellner said it was also important that we know exactly how much our owners were willing to pay for us. Two hundred thousand dollars is as much as some people spend on their homes, Miss Gellner said when she told us how much it took to own a Greenwich girl. Not the homes our new owners would live in, of course—she was speaking about the general public—but it was a substantial amount of money regardless. We were to understand that our new owners would think of us as an investment, and we needed to spend our lives making sure their investment was worth it.

Still, the way the senator stroked Sixteen's hair didn't feel right.

"... choose number Eight," a voice said from the crowd, and I lifted my head at the sound of my name.

Miss Gellner smiled. "Thank you, Congressman," she said, and I followed her gaze to the man who had just selected me with the third tag of the day.


Excerpted from Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch, Heather Howland, Sue Winegardner. Copyright © 2014 Kate Jarvik Birch. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Perfected 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
mikixann More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot! It's very similar to what's popular right now with dystopian futures and such, but this is a different, twisted take on that idea. It wasn't the best book that I've ever read, but if you're into The Chemical Garden series or The Selection series I would add this book to your must-read list for sure!
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you come across a book whose theme stops you in your tracks. Perfected is just such a book. We’ve seen many interpretations of humans controlling and manipulating other humans, usually young girls, but breeding them to be pets is something else entirely. Most of us love animals and think of our pets as part of the family but what if some of those pets were actually human? So much about Ella’s world is so wrong from the day these girls are born (and isn’t it telling that they’re apparently all girls?). To be born into a kennel and raised in caged conditions before going into training is horrendous but the actual training is worse. Only the education that’s necessary to make them docile and beautiful and appealing is offered; no thought is given to teaching them to read or to giving them more than the most rudimentary knowledge of life. They are, indeed, viewed as nothing more than dogs or cats or whatever we might keep as pets. Ella is a striking character with her naivete and her fear of displeasing her owner and her dismay as she learns what she doesn’t know, like how to swim or how to read. Her curiosity is somewhat limited, though, and I think that might be the most telling thing about her, giving us insight into how being under other people’s control for so long can damage the natural curiosity we all have. Her developing relationship with Penn, a truly nice guy, is unforced and quite believable and what he’s willing to do for Ella makes him a real hero in my eyes. As for the rest of the family, they’re all so well-drawn, likeable or not, that they seem very real. The congressman, of course, makes a truly unpleasant villain, especially since he sees nothing wrong with keeping people in luxurious slavery. Ms. Birch does a really nice job of depicting the world of pets with humans substituted and, in all honesty, there are shades of questioning the validity of our keeping pets at all as well as very subtle comparisons to slavery. Really, my only quibbles with the story have to do with worldbuilding because there is almost none. We don’t know when this takes place although there are many hints that it’s intended to be the very near future as there are still television, normal cars, gas stations, border patrols, etc. We also don’t know how it came about that Congress could possibly pass such legislation, no real evidence of what the government is like. I’d like to know so much more to get the full effect of the story. Now, about the ending…I honestly don’t know whether it was intended to be a humdinger of a cliffhanger that will be resolved in future books or simply an invitation for readers to use their own imaginations about what will happen next. Either is acceptable to me but I’m selfishly hoping there are going to be more books ;-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Legalized slavery! I hope we never get to that point. But I'm glad she escaped and she can begin again with a new life, learn to read. Maybe her love will find her and they can continue the journey together.
TreestandBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Danii_045 More than 1 year ago
Perfected is the first book in a series. Book 3 is due out at the beginning of April. The elite families want to own the latest in thing and when money comes easy anything is possible. Congressman passed the bill and now to show good faith he must have a show pet. Human's are being genetically modified to perfection. Petite, articulate and beautiful. Greenwich takes the best girls from the kennel and trains them to be prize pets. A must-have toy for every rich family. Ella is chosen as the congressman's pet and is welcomed into their home. She is dress like a doll and shown off at parties. Ella struggles to fit into her life. Her training didn't include how to play with children and Ruby (The congressman's daughter) is desperate for a friend. The family are difficult to read when you don't know what's the right thing to do. Perfected is Ella's story. She sees our strange world and try's to fit in as a good pet. Not everyone is happy with humans being kept as pets and Ella has to try to work out how to exist. She likes Ruby and wants to please her but it doesn't come naturally to Ella. Penn is the Congressman's son and he makes Ella want things she shouldn't. Can she find a little slice of happiness in this cruel world? I like controversial stories and forbidden romance. This was an interesting concept and Ella was a well thought out character. She behaves like someone who isn't world-wise and she struggles with her inner voice. 4.5 stars out of 5. This is a great start to a series. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
onemused More than 1 year ago
Imagine a world where specially bred (genetically modified) humans could be kept as pets. "Perfected" features Ella who was bred and raised to be a pet- complete with catering to her master's whims, being fed special food, used for looks, wearing a collar, being implanted with a microchip, and under threat of being spayed. Ella is happy with her lot in life, because she has been raised to do just that. The wealthy are the ones who can afford the human pets, and even though there is a lot of ethical debates about it (some people refusing to buy them and an underground resistance to help them escape to Canada), it has been made legal in the United States to own these pets. Ella, at 16 years of age, is a product of the system and a perfect pet- she is happy to be owned and seeks to please her masters- the Congressman who helped to get the laws to make it legal through and his wife and two children who are still at home- Penn, a college student, and Ruby, a young girl. Ella gets a feel for the landscape with this new family as well as begins to realize the more sinister aspects of being a pet. She notes how another purchased pet is touched strangely by the wealthy man who just purchased her and how the Congressman treats her (calling her "Love," kissing her uncomfortably, and touching her with ownership/placing her on his lap uncomfortably). While a completely enthralling story that was impossible to put down, I am curious how the developed romance will evolve in future books. Ella is susceptible to sexual harassment/assault, even if she doesn't understand what it is. There is a huge power differential between the owning family and herself. Additionally, without freedom to make her own choices, the 'romance' that develops between her and the son, Penn, cannot be real, as she is never really free to choose/never on an equal playing field with him. Will Ella realize this as the series evolves? This is a big question which I am curious to see whether it will develop in earnest in future books. Penn's feelings might be real, but Ella's cannot be, due to the power dynamic and, to an extent, some form of Stockholm Syndrome. I will be curious to see how this plays out in future books. The relationship was uncomfortable, to say the least, to read about, as it mirrors unfortunate parts of the US history. Although the overall tone seems somewhat light, it carries some very dark themes that make me think of The Lone City series. I would give it somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, but I do want to see how this all develops in future books- what a ride! Please note that I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only bad writing, but a ridiculous premise. Total waste of money, but it was mercifully short.
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Beths-Books More than 1 year ago
Oh, to lose all faith in humanity. This book dives deep into the underworld of dehumanization in a fantasy world where people are bred to be pets. They are bred to entertain. We follow the main character as she is chosen by her new family, through love and danger. The author has done a wonderful job helping the reader feel empathy for the characters and hate the bad guys. The only thing I would have wanted more, was world building. The setting was vague and lacked that magical touch, but I'm not complaining. I enjoyed this read and will be picking up the next book in the series soon. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
lostmybookmark More than 1 year ago
Not only was the plot line of the book different from anything I have read so far, but the detail in the story line and behind the major theme attached me to the book more than I would have thought possible. Highly suggest this book.
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
There are a couple of spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk… Ella has been born and trained to be a pet. Yes, just like a dog, Ella is adopted by a family, micro chipped and brought home to live in her new home. She has been trained to be a perfect girl, she plays the piano, can make idle conversation, and can keep her own emotions at bay. She doesn’t know how to do the things normal girls can do, like read or swim. She is adopted into a Senator’s family. The Senator who helped pass the bill to make it ok to own humans again. Her life seems ideal….at first. Ok, who else is as disturbed as I am about the plot of this book? Girls bred to be pets? People owning other people? Even though the book was really well written, it was hard to read. This author definitely gave you a subject matter that made you root for this girl to escape her slavery! Yes, there was a love interest, but there almost had to be. Someone was going to have to try to save her because she did not have the tools to do it herself. She couldn’t read! How do you get on a bus if you don’t know where it’s going? She was never taught about money. How do you survive if you don’t know how much a dollar is worth? As this book went along the message got even creepier. Even though no one took advantage of her sexually, you knew that at some point that was going to happen. Luckily this girl had good instincts and a few people around her that were just as disturbed by what was going on, and determined to help her. This was good, but disturbing, so I guess the author did her job and made me think. ❤❤❤❣
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing I cant wait to read the next book in the series.
ThatReaderGirl More than 1 year ago
What would it be like to be treated as a pet in a gilded cage? To have everything you could ever want, but no real freedom to enjoy it? What would it be like to be auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder as their…play thing? Those are the questions facing Ella, the main character in the book Perfected by Kate Jarvik Burch. Okay so right off the bat I’m going to say that I was not a fan of the premise of this book. A world where legislation has passed to make it legal for humans to be bred to perfection and sold as pets? Really? Are you serious? But wait…how far from the truth could this story lead? Is it too completely ridiculous to think that somewhere in the future, someone is going to come up with the completely insane idea that humans COULD be sold as pets? That idea aside, once I got over the idea, I was actually drawn into the story. Here you have Ella, who has been bred to be exactly this, a pet. She has no real idea about the outside world and how it works. All she knows is how to be demure, how to maintain her posture and her etiquette in ways so as not to anger or upset her masters. She doesn’t really understand the truth about her situation like an outsider looking in would. Once bought and paid for, Ella is swept away to a beautiful house, lavish clothing, and the family of the very person who made this sort of thing legal. She’s told that there had been a pet before her but she’d had to be sent back due to…flaws that couldn’t be fixed by the family themselves. It isn’t until later that you realize how grave a situation that really is. Also, upon meeting the family, she also meets Penn. He’s the son of the Congressman whose bought and paid for her, and ultimately ends up being something infinitely more. Now I have to admit, I’m a sucker for the sappy moments in life and this book definitely has those moments interspersed throughout it. I found myself rooting for Penn and Ella and wanting them to have the freedom they both longed to have. Because while Ella is the pet, Penn is just as trapped as she is. I won’t give you any more details other than the fact that I actually very much enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting and seemed to read seamlessly. The characters were believable, some likeable some not so much, and the ending left me eager to read the next installment of the series. I ended up giving this book a 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads. This is definitely an intriguing first book to the series and I cannot wait to read the second installment entitled Tarnished, which hits bookstores on December 1st.
Berls More than 1 year ago
**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.** When I finished Perfected, the first thing I did was look for some sign that it wasn't a stand alone, even though I was pretty sure it was. And from all I can tell, it is :( I want more - even just two more chapters! See, Perfected has one of those semi-open endings. Things could go really well or really badly, a lot is going to depend on people and decisions. And there's all kinds of possibilities. I'm mostly satisfied, though, because I have written out in my mind exactly what happens and it's all happy. But I really would have liked to see it happen for reals. But my like / discomfort with the ending is par for the course. That's how I felt pretty much all through Perfected. Its a really creepy concept - humans bred as pets, not a far cry from slavery and yet, made to look different because they're pampered rather than laborers. I loved the creepiness of the concept at times and at others the creepiness was done so well I just felt creepy for even enjoying the book, if that makes sense. And it was worse because the entitlement of the top 1% in this country makes me think this isn't a huge stretch. *chills* The characters were written so well, from Ella (the pet) who's been bred to not understand so much that she's almost incapable of caring for herself to the Congresman (her primary owner) who I thought might be a nice guy at first but felt oogyier and oogier about as Perfected progressed. And Fynn *sigh* he's YA book boyfriend material from start to finish. He and Ruby (his sister) were equally lovable for their own reasons, but mainly because they didn't fit the cookie-cutter mold their Congressman father wanted them to. Its a somewhat slow build - I was interested from the get-go, but as Ella grows more aware and tastes possibilities the tension and anxiety grows to a really exciting conclusion. The last few chapters I couldn't put down. And Tavia Gilbert's narration was a slam dunk, as usual. It's been a while since I listened to anything read by Tavia, but I love her voices - from women to kids to men there's variety and personality that males listening a joy. If you like books that kind of mess with you because they put what's wrong with the world in an uncomfortable but entertaining way, I think you'll enjoy Perfected. Its a quick read and I definitely recommend going with the audio.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
Wow.  Sometimes a single word can sum it up and "wow" does that.  Perfected is chilling, emotionally horrifying, and the implications are disturbing.  And I loved everything about it! Ella has been genetically engineered to become the perfect showcase piece for the very wealthy.  She has been trained her entire life for this moment, the moment that some member of the elite would choose her to be theirs.  She is beautiful, trained in poise and grooming and subservience.  Her special gifts have been highly developed so that she may please her owners.  She is the perfect pet. Perfected is set in a dystopian United States, although the the wealthy would argue that the world is their own utopia.  The wealthy live on gorgeous estates, while the rest of the world lives in poverty.  And this is where it gets scary.  In this world, it is entirely legal to own human pets, girls that are genetically engineered and trained to live their lives as the pampered pets of the very elite. The vocabulary used to describe the world of these girls is dehumanizing, using terms that we normally reserve for animals.  The girls are raised in kennels all across the country.  The best kennel, the most sought after, is the Greenich kennel... Ella's kennel.  The pets are raised in the kennels, spending their lives in training centers learning to be perfect showpieces.  They are raised to know that they are never going to be on the same level as their owners, nothing more than pretty pets whose only purpose is to please their owners.  When the time comes, they are sold by lottery to the very wealthy.  It is expected that their lives will be that of a pampered pet, sheltered and cared for... as long as they act as they should.  And if they don't, there is always the red door at the kennel.  Once a pet goes through that door, they are never seen again. When Ella is purchased, she is swept away to live in the home of a prominent congressman, his wife, and his son and daughter.  She is given a beautiful room and closet full of gowns.  On the surface, it is a beautiful life, an easy life.  But her life is not her own.  She is at the beck and call of her owners, with no right to thoughts and expectations of her own.  She is given a necklace with a beautiful diamond pendant and on the back was the engraved address and phone number of the congressman.  A dog tag, albeit a beautiful one.  At meals, she is never allowed at the same table, but at a table apart from the family.  It is assumed that she is unintelligent and it is perfectly accceptable to talk about her and treat her as if she were not a sentient being. Ella was purchased to be the pet of Ruby, the congressman's daughter who is a bit of an outcast, and it is fairly obvious that the congressman's wife and son are not thrilled about her presence.  The two have different reasons for this, some of which have to do with a previous pet that apparently had something wrong with her and had been returned.  But despite the fact that she is intended to be Ruby's, it is the congressman that has a creepy obsession with her.  It is that obsession that makes her realize that being a pet is not all that it is cracked up to be, that she is trapped. It was appalling to read about the world of Ella, the dehumanizing ways in which she was treated.  It was horrifying to know that this was socially acceptable and legal.  The complete lack of humanity that was attributed to these girls was scary.  Even those that were against the practice didn't always seem to understand just how unequipped these girls were to live any other way.  Every aspect of their lives had been about training to be the perfect pet.  No life skills, not even the basics of education.  I treat my dog Noelani with more respect than that which was afforded to these girls. But there was beauty, too, in the romance between Penn (the son) and Ella.  He was the only own that saw her as anything more than a beautiful pet.  Even Ruby, who was sweet and kind, was young enough to not know any better and tended to see her only as a plaything.  But Penn saw her as a person with her own thoughts and feelings and dreams.  I have to wonder if Ella's character is modeled a bit after Cinderella. This is a book that makes you think about what it means to be human.  It makes you think about the line between morality and legality.  Just because something was socially acceptable doesn't mean that it is right and that message is clear in this story.  It is also a story that makes you step back and look at effect of materialism on morality.  How important have material things become in this world that it is okay to create and own human beings as a measure of prestige? Things to love...    --The use of animalesque vocabulary.  It sets the tone for the appalling society that the story is set in.    --The romance.  It was sweet and epic in that Penn would sacrifice anything to help Ella, even himself.    --The mystery.  There are some interesting bits about the previous pets, intimated things that are not fully explained, but left you wondering. Things I wanted more/less of...    --More explanation about how the world came to be as it is.    --More explanation about why all of the pets seem to be female.    --More Perfected! My Recommendation:  I am a sucker for good, creepy dystopia that is a believable possibility.  This was one of those books and I thoroughly hope that there will be more to the story in the future!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KKetch More than 1 year ago
When I picked up Perfected, I was definitely intrigued by the concept, but I didn’t expect to get hooked after the first chapter. It wasn’t a glue-to-your-seat thriller, yet I had a hard time putting it down for any reason. I just wanted to keep reading more. Now, I will say right away that this novel does contain what I would consider controversial topics, particularly when it comes to human and women’s rights. How these girls like Ella were raised and often treated was downright disturbing. There were even times I just wanted to literally puke in disgust. However, I felt the creepiness emphasized the life style, the building political and ethical tension, and the forbidden romance. At first, I was a bit iffy on Ella’s character. I didn’t like how she was treated and how she’d often just accept it. Of course, considering her background and her “training” I can sort of understand. When you’re raised with a certain life style, there are just things you’re simply blinded to. But at least Ella wasn’t as ignorant as she first appeared. I liked that she questioned her situation; knew when to follow her heart; and saw the world as it was while still maintaining an innocent hope that things would get better. Penn, on the other hand, was my all-time favorite character in Perfected from scene one and will potentially end up as a 2014 book boyfriend candidate. I loved his tendency to defy his father at every possible turn; how he treated Ella like a human being rather than a doll or a dog; and how he shared secret parts of his life with her. He was honestly the best part of the novel. Which just made the story even more heart wrenching at the end. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I definitely hope for a sequel. I can’t stand hanging like this. If you love suspenseful, romantic, controversial young adult novels—such as Descendants of Isis series by Kelsey Ketch or the Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout—then I highly recommend reading Perfected. It’s really an awesome read.
book4children More than 1 year ago
Owning another person seems to be a popular theme, but I have only read one other book surrounding the idea. The concept of selling genetically perfected girls as "pets" is horrifying, yet Ella doesn't know anything else. She has been bred and trained to be a pet. She can't even read. At first, she wants nothing more than to make her new owners happy. Slowly, she comes to realize that being a pet isn't what she thought it would be. She is treated barely better than a dog. The setting and characters were well developed and vivid. It was easy to visualize the entire book playing out in my mind. Penn was a wonderful character and the only person who honestly started to see Ella as human rather than a pet. The congressman was marvelously revolting and creepy. I couldn't put the book down once I started to read. I read it all the way through and then suffered from a major book hangover because I couldn't stop thinking about it. There were a lot of tense moments when I sat on the edge of my seat, cringing and hoping that Ella would manage to get out of a situation. Other times I would feel sick for her, screaming internally for her to get away from that house. I would recommend this book to young adults, but as always, I suggest parents read the book first. Content: Surprisingly pretty clean. When you take on a topic such as beautiful girls being sold as property, there is going to be a dark side to the story. There are suggestions that the pets are abused, and times when men or boys try to push their agenda on Ella, but the author did a good job of showing the problem without subjecting the reader to anything more than the fear of what could happen. There is some language, kissing, and swimming in underwear, but no sex, f-words, or violence. Cover: I love the cover! It's simple, yet it portrays the concept of the story well. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.