[March 26, 2013]
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.
When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes.
When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.
But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.
Before we get to this review, let's explain a bit, yeah?
Because I'm super cheesy, when I realized how easy it would be to switch "Kids" for "Adult," I knew I had to make this a thing on the blog. There were ZERO options on the matter. Because really. Maybe somebody's already come up with this and I just don't know it? I just don't understand how it's taken us this long to get to this title.
But back to the point, I decided this would be a good title to show when I'm talking about New Adult books, whether it's a review or a discussion. It's a sign that the post will be discussing "older" themes for anyone who's younger, doesn't have any interest, or is at work/around and doesn't want to take chances. Today, we're breaking in the title with a review of the very first (labeled) New Adult book I read.
I picked up Picture Perfect for a couple reasons. One being that I like the author on twitter. She's fun to talk to. Two being that I wanted to try New Adult ANYWAY, so why not start here? And three, it's just so easy to relate to. I can't say that most people have gone through a traumatic accident, but pretty much every person I know has or does suffer from body image issues, especially in the high school/college years.
I've never been a model and I've never hurt my leg that badly (though I DO frequently injure my knee...someday I should stop that), but Cat was still somebody a lot of people can understand. She's insecure. She's gained weight. She's not happy with her body. She knows it CAN be better and has been better and that's a massive distraction for her and brings her down often. This happens to pretty much everyone. Even if it's not your weight, there's SOMETHING about pretty much every person that they think needs to change or thought it needed to be change at some point (unless you're super confident and always have been in which case, that's awesome for you, but you're also a rare unicorn *pets*). Basically, even though it's not likely most readers had Cat's exact experience, and they probably didn't use nude modeling as a way to cope with that and find a hot dude who was an even BETTER coping mechanism, there's still something very real to it.
And then there's Nate. Oh dear, sweet Nate. He seems like totally perfect and eventually you learn that he's NOT totally perfect, which I think is important to make characters feel like real people. It also really showed how growth can happen off the pages too. A lot of the times massive character development happens within the book for various reasons, but people have their massive life changes at different times in their lives. So to see that at least one character in this book already had their realization of who they wanted to be and made that change before even appearing in the novel was nice. I feel like that doesn't happen as much as it could.
I loved the writing in this book. I really did. I was just on this string of reading really good books when I started reading this one I was immediately totally hooked and ended up devouring the book in a couple of days which I don't really get to do all that often. Like, I'm reading 4 books right now and I have been reading most of these for at least a week, despite how much I'm enjoying them all.
Were there issues with this book? Yes. I think that there could have been more focus on the nude modeling aspect as a coping mechanism. I also do think Nate could have used a few more flaws. But for a good look on body image and self esteem issues and how sometimes a relationship can help self image, this book worked. It was entertaining and it was fun and it was sexy and it was well written and I loved it. For a New Adult book that has some more substance to it, this is definitely a book to try.