I didn’t ask for perfect, but this is pretty darn close anyway // You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman REVIEW

Surprise!! I’m a student!!

And chances are, if you’re reading this, you are one too or you were one, at one time or another!

Which is why I was so excited to hear there is a book out there talking about academic stress and pressure, which IS BASICALLY MY ENTIRE LIFE RIGHT NOW.

Now I know everyone’s school experiences and attitude towards academics are different, but for a lot of people, in high school or even in uni/college, STRESS is a big part of it. The stress that comes from balancing too many courses or activities alongside life, and friends, or a bad mark in a course, pressure of parents, or yourself, it’s just… a lot. (Of course there are many other things that can cause stress, but in this context!)

You Asked For Perfect does not shy away from any of that, at all. Instead, it’s an honest and very real portrait of a stressed, high-achieving student and delving into the stressfulness associated with school and wanting to get into a good university!

And spoiler: IT WAS PERFECT.

The thing that stood out to me the most was the characterization. I could see them so clearly in mind; their aspirations, their goals, their stress and I related SO MUCH in different aspects. I could FEEL Ariel’s stress and pain so clearly, the pressure of holding up appearances, of trying to be ‘perfect’. IT BROKE MY HEART, GUYS. And that’s greatly due to the author’s wonderful characterization as much as it is my own experiences that cause me to relate and empathize with him!!

Ariel is just so RELATABLE AGH, and so soft!! His number one goal is to get into Harvard, and god, the secondhand stress in this one was REAL. I don’t have nearly as much on my plate as Ariel did, but doing IB has definitely added a TON of work to my life and it is very stressful! So in that sense, it was kind of adding to my already stressed-out self to read about Ariel’s stress lmao oops. But it was good!! It was relatable and very well written.

Even aside from academics, he was just such a sweet character? The most lovable disaster bi. He’s Jewish, and he loves his family and his younger sister so much, he cares so much about his close friends, and he’s just so dedicated? Ahh he’s so precious!! My heart hurt for him so, so much.

Did I mention Ariel was Jewish? I really did enjoy reading about some Jewish traditions and customs, and there were also several sentences in Hebrew (I think?) throughout! Religions outside of Christianity is not as predominant in books, so it was very lovely to see some Jewish representation!

I also adored the side characters!! Amir, the love interest (yes, this book has an m/m ship!! I’M IN LOVE) is a Pakistani-American aspiring doctor with a talent for photography (who is also a Ravenpuff; two of the best houses obviously, no I’m not biased at all excuse me???????) and AN ABSOLUTE GEM. He is the SOFTEST and I adore him so much?!

Amir’s family, is also SO awesome. His parents were actually such a great example of subverting the usual trope of Asian parents pushing/forcing their child towards a more “prestigious” (cue rolling eyes) job like a doctor, engineer, etc. as they instead wanted him to pursue photography, which he’s good at! LOVE THAT. Amir’s sister, Rasha, wears a hijab as well and I loved her so much! I also loved how supportive Amir’s family is of his sexuality (I don’t think it ever said, but from what it seems Amir is gay), it made me so happy to see a Muslim family accepting of LGBTQ+ people!! ❀ ❀

Sook, Ariel’s best friend, is a Korean lesbian musician who was also so lovely! Their friendship made me smile so much, even through their rough patches ahh. Y’all know how much I love friendships in books so I truly did enjoy Ariel and Sook’s friendship ahh. ❀ Malka, is Jewish and Sook’s bandmate and I also loved how we explored sort of her difficulties with college, so interesting!

I will say, as much as this book does kind of get tough and tense with Ariel’s spiralling stress and the inevitable decline, the ROMANCE. IS. ADORABLE.

Ariel and Amir make the most amazing couple, and I was just smiling SO FREAKING MUCH reading their scenes? It just made me so happy!! My comments about the romance are so short and basic but I literally can’t form anything other than SQUEALS AND GIGGLES CAUSE I’M IN LOVE.

Can I also say, I LIVED for all the Harry Potter references. PERFECTION. (Plus there was a B99 reference too 😍)

So, um, if you DON’T have this on your TBR ,,,,,,,,,,, WHY.

Literally only complaint is that I WANT MORE.

The characters, the authenticity with which Laura Silverman wrote just made this story so incredibly memorable and wonderful to read! PLEASE READ IT!!

Rep; Jewish, bi male main character, Pakistani-American & Muslim gay love interest, Korean & lesbian side character

You May Also Like…

*I haven’t read this one yet (I WILL) but I’ve heard from many people it delves into academic stress and pressure as well and it’s diverse!

Book synopsis:

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray. Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options. Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

Add to Goodreads!! That would be PERFECT, THANKS. πŸ˜‰

If you want to purchase: Book Depository // Amazon // Indigo // Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book?! What is/was your high school academic experience like? Are there any other books you’ve read about academic stress? Let’s talk!

16 thoughts on “I didn’t ask for perfect, but this is pretty darn close anyway // You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman REVIEW

  1. aline, i just read this and it was SO GOOD!! i agree with absolutely everything you said, but i feel like the ending was a bit too open-ended for my tastes? a general q, though: did u feel like you weren’t doing enough in terms of academics especially compared to ariel because that’s how i lowkey felt when i was reading it (i feel thats really weird ngl).

    also we WILL read radio silence. and hopefully, love it!! can’t wait ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! Oh my gosh, TRUE! (DID HE GET INTO HARVARD?!! πŸ‘€πŸ˜‚) It was very open ended but I didn’t mind it too much in this one, although I want to know moreeee) Omg SO TRUE! I’m not nearly doing as much as he did and that’s with IB!! I almost felt bad about myself πŸ˜©πŸ˜‚ It is kind of weird haha.

      YES πŸ’ͺπŸ’—πŸ’—

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This one wasn’t on my TBR, but now it is! I’m not sure when I’ll get to it (maybe when I won’t be stressed because of uni?) but this sounds amazing and something I shouldn’t miss.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything about this book sounds wonderful and after your review I want to read it even MORE? I loved Radio Silence and how it dealt with the academic stress + how wonderfully queer it was, and this sounds really similar. Plus the cover is gorgeous. I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is SO wonderful!! 😍😍 I really have to read Radio Silence omg. I definitely think you’ll enjoy this one if you loved that one! πŸ’žπŸ’ž YES! You’ll have to let me know what you think ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so happy to hear that you loved this!! I just got it from the library and I can’t wait to read it – especially since it sounds so similar to Radio Silence (aka my fave πŸ’•). It sounds right up my alley! This is a wonderful review and it made me even more eager to read this book! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! It was so good, I can’t wait for you to read it! 😍❀️ Ooh yes I definitely think you’ll enjoy it in that case ahah. (I really need to read Radio Silence omg) Thank you!! I’m so glad to hear that πŸ˜ŠπŸ’—


  5. I NEED to read this omg omg!!! I initially wasn’t interested because an early review for this book was negative, but since its release, this book has been getting all the positive reviews!!! Academic pressure is probably the biggest pressure in my life, so I think what I’m gonna do is that I’m gonna read this book and radio silence during my senior year to make the experience more authentic πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ also, SOFT GAY ROMANCE??? IM THERE!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh this book sounds amazing. I had heard that it talks about academic pressure I really wanted to read it because not that many seems to talk about it but it can be really hard. Also I think the name is so perfect for the story!!
    And I heard is had a B99 reference which definitely made me want to read it!! How much you loved it has made me very excited to pick it up and read it!! And I am loving the diversity in it as well!! Sounds amazing and perfect like you said!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is!! Ahh yes, it does SUCH a good job of talking about academic pressure which books don’t do enough! Yesss it totally is.
      I KNOW RIGHT B99 is amazing haha I loved that little tidbit. I’m so glad to hear that, I really hope you enjoy it when you get around to it! πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so, so, so happy to hear you loved this book so much ahh ❀ I adore it with all of my heart and found Ariel's struggles so relatable, too and the romance made me sooooooooo happy ahh ❀
    I hope you'll give Radio Silence a try soon, I loved this one so much as well πŸ™‚
    Lovely review! ❀


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