By Kate Jarvik Birch
Published by Entangled Teen
Plot: Perfection comes at a price. As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury. Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, butshe doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows… and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating. But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving… and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death. (2018, Goodreads.com)
Review: It's modern day America; however, legislation passes that allows for the rich to purchase genetically modified human girls and own them as "pets." Girls like Ella are created and raised at "Kennels," which are very much like dog breeders (selling girls instead) to those that can afford them. Only so many are allowed to be 'made' per year and so it's considered high social status if your family has one.
Ella and all the other girls at the Kennels are humans, yet they are genetically modified to be beautiful and physically perfect in every way. They are raised very naive and in a controlled setting. They are even taught to call their owners 'master.' A Congressman who had to return his previous pet is the one that buys Ella, and she thinks her role is only as a companion to the family. However, the more time she spends with the Congressman, his wife, and their two children, the more Ella starts to question the 'pet' program. She finds out that many people are outraged at the this idea of people owning people in america, and she is confused as to why. Ella grew up brainwashed, so although it's rather annoying that she is so naive, it makes absolute sense that she would act and feel the way she does.
The congressman's wife is not pleased with having Ella around, but is kind to her. The oldest sibling Penn, dislikes the idea as well, but eventually comes to have feelings for her. I'm not really sure why he develops feelings since she has a rather bland personality. But, I suppose a beautiful girl with a pleasant enough personality could make him develop some feelings. Especially since he feels like she is not being treated right.
Ella eventually finds out about the rest of the world and grows suspicious as to what happened to the previous pet. She also doesn't like how the Congressman and his friends look at and talk about her. The Congressman is also getting too close to her and the idea of freedom is becoming something that she might want. Her life may depend on it.
Perfected was a very disturbing and shocking read, and I think that's exactly what Birch was going for. The idea of teenage girls being owned by the wealthy is disgusting enough, but it seems like it's something only wealthy men are doing in this story. How something like this could even be considered plausible makes the story a bit hard to read. A well written, although disturbing story.
Book 2 is called Tarnished.
Rating: 3 Hearts