ARC review: The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

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Rising high school seniors Dylan and Lucy are polar opposites. Dylan is laser-focused on his future career as a professional baseball player. His plan is to play for a minor league team straight out of high school, and he has no time for college, girls, or his family’s opinions on the matter. Lucy, on the other hand, is a free spirit. Since her dad is deployed and her mom is sick, she does take on a lot of responsibility for her little brother and their family business, but she likes to go with the flow rather than plan out every minute detail of her life.

With no sense of direction, Lucy ends up getting her little brother Otis to his first day of baseball camp a little late. This makes quite the negative impression on ultra-rigid, type-A coach Dylan. Lucy can feel his disdain pouring out at her, and she will not stand for his attitude. The two butt heads when they run into each other at the lake that night, but neither can deny the mutual attraction bubbling beneath their interactions.

So, I’m not really sure how to feel about this one. The premise was fine, and I do love a good “opposites attract” story, but there was just something a little off with the writing. I’m going to set aside the plethora of typos in this ARC (I’m used to this with some publishers, but never Entangled, so I’m not sure what was going on there) and focus on the actual development and behavior of these characters instead.

I’m all for more mature characters in young adult novels. I get so frustrated when kids who are supposed to be seventeen or eighteen years old act like they’re twelve, but there’s gotta be a happy medium here. This book reads more like new adult than young adult, so I had a lot of trouble believing that these kids were supposed to be in high school. Somehow, they’re both very experienced and very smooth when it comes to flirting and dating. (Definitely smoother than me, and I’m in my late 20’s!) They go skinny dipping, they make out in diner parking lots, they text each other about “getting horizontal” – they’re not even seniors yet! When I was their age, I panicked over going to a school dance with a boy! Maybe this is how high school is these days. I think I’m getting old.

Another sign that I’m old is the fact that I constantly rolled my eyes at Dylan throughout this entire book. I mean, don’t get me wrong. He’s a good kid. He’s smart and he’s driven, but his insistence on going straight to the minor leagues out of high school rubbed me the wrong way. He was rude to anybody who mentioned that maybe he might want to have a backup plan, so everybody just entertained his delusional idea that he was some baseball god that could make a career of playing ball straight out of high school. Okay, you’re the best guy on your high school team and you’re coaching a summer baseball camp for nine-year-olds. So are probably hundreds of other kids across the country. Listen to some rational suggestions about your future, please.

I also thought that the author was a little harsh on Lucy. She’s only seventeen years old, so why does she need to have so much responsibility? She takes care of her sick mom, acts like a surrogate mother to her nine-year-old brother, runs a sewing shop, teaches sewing classes, does commission work, helps out at her best friend’s farm, and teaches a really repressed teenage boy to let loose. She never has a minute to herself in this book, and I felt so bad for her. All I wanted was for her to be able to take a breather without something awful happening.

I didn’t love this book as much as I thought I would, but it was still a quick, enjoyable read. I knew that the author’s name sounded familiar when I requested this title, but it only clicked for me a little bit ago that I’ve had The Bad Boy Bargain on my TBR for ages. One of these days, I’ll head over to Amazon to see where it all began.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match releases on July 10, 2017.