Pushing Perfect

About the Book

A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this smart, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead. Fans of We Were Liars and The Secret History will devour this layered, ensemble-cast novel, which will keep readers thinking—and guessing—until the final pages.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. Which is why she does something she never thought she’d do. Something risky—and illegal.

Before she knows it, Kara’s life veers wildly off its perfect course, and she’s thrown headlong into a world of new friends, wild parties, alluring romance, and dark secrets. She’s forced to confront how far she’s willing to go to be perfect—and in the end, if that’s something she really wants to be.

Critical Praise

“Twists and turns abound…Reminiscent of the novels of Joan Lowery Nixon and Lois Duncan with its methodical uncovering of clues and multiple red herrings, this mystery set in a modern-day well-to-do suburb in California will keep readers turning the pages.” — School Library Journal

“Readers will be kept guessing.” — Kirkus Reviews

“This novel is full of well-developed, diverse supporting characters. Kara’s parents, who initially ignore her pleas for help with anxiety, become more accepting and supportive through the story. Pushing Perfect is not a cautionary tale about the pursuit of perfection and abuse of prescription drugs as much as it is a suspenseful mystery. The cautionary messages are there, but subtle. This is recommended for teens who enjoy mysteries in the form of timely, realistic fiction.” — Allison Babin, VOYA

“The blackmail is suspenseful and the mystery is enjoyable, and Kara’s anger at her parents is solidly grounded. However, the novel glides over the issues it raises, including the facts that Kara’s use of an illegally obtained drug has the desired effects and that Alex’s online gambling is clearly an addiction. The book therefore suggests that teens can successfully manage, control, and hide risky behaviors that lead adults into lives of crime and consequence; it’s a questionable moral, but it’s one that YA readers may slyly enjoy.” — KC, BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

Purchasing options:

Amazon hardcover

Amazon paperback

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble


Click here to listen to my Pushing Perfect Spotify playlist.