It’s been two years since Sam broke up with the only other eligible gay guy in his high school, so to say he’s been going through a romantic drought is the understatement of the decade. But when Meg, his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend, suggests performing a love spell, Sam is just desperate enough to try. He crafts a list of 10 traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th.
Enter three seemingly perfect guys, all in pursuit of Sam. There’s Gus, the suave French exchange student; Jamie, the sweet and shy artist; and Travis, the guitar-playing tattooed enigma. Even Sam’s ex-boyfriend Landon might want another chance. But does a Perfect Ten even exist?
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Perfect Ten by Penguin Teen for review, but this in no way affected my final rating.
First of all, can we all just take a moment to stare at that cover? It is so dang cute!
Ahem, anyway, this book was adorable and fluffy in some great ways. Sam was a funny and relatable character, and I loved that he was comfortable with himself and his sexuality. At first I was a little weary of the simplistic writing style, but once I got into the story, it felt like I was really inside his head.
I was a little put off by the traits Sam thought made someone “perfect” for him; he came off a bit shallow and self-possessed much of the time. But, without giving anything away, I’ll say that he matured by the end of the book and learned some things about healthy relationships that I think are important for young adult readers to learn. So, kudos, L. Philips!
The spell he and Meg casts to find his “perfect 10” was also one of my favorite parts of the book, because it added a bit of magical realism that you don’t see in many contemporary novels.
Some of the other characters were a bit stereotypical, enough to where I wasn’t entirely convinced they could be real people. For example, Travis, the hot, bad-boy musician with a heart of gold, who was emotionally unavailable yet kept shoving his tongue in Sam’s mouth by way of greeting. Does anyone really act like that? Maybe I don’t spend enough time around musicians!
Also, to convey Gus’ French accent, a lot of his lines were written so “zey read like zis” instead of allowing the reader to just add the accent in their minds. It was very distracting, to say the least.
I think this is a great book for anyone who is looking for a quick, cute contemporary romance. I just wish there had been deeper, more diverse characters (aside from the LGBTQ+ aspect).