Far From Perfect
Holly Smale


The second sensational book in the Valentines series - a hilarious and heart-aching story about the impossible standards for being a girl. Be yourself but, you know, someone else . . . Enthusiastic but not desperate; calm but not dull; funny but not try-hard; sparky but not crazy; feisty but not aggressive; beautiful but relatable; elegant but not icy; confident but not arrogant; feminine but not girly; nice but not boring. Faith Valentine has it all - fame, money and extraordinary beauty. But what she wants more than anything is a quiet life away from the cameras. Except nobody ever asks Faith what she wants, and her family's expectations are crushing her. The world thinks she's perfect, but is there is more to perfection than meets the eye?

Your reviews

Elen Green, 12
Far From Perfect is the second book in The Valentines series about a family of actors - the Valentines - whose lives are constantly under the spotlight of a voracious press. Each book in the series by Geek Girl author Holly Smale tells the story of one of the teenaged Valentine siblings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment of The Valentines - Happy Girl Lucky - which focused on Hope, the youngest sibling, so I was looking forward to book two, Far From Perfect, which features the middle sister, Faith, and I enjoyed her story just as much.

While Faith doesn't have the naive chirpiness of Hope, there is still plenty of humour in the story, particularly in the mismatch between how the media observes the family and the reality of life for the Valentines behind their closed doors.

Faith is beautiful, calm and kind, and obediently follows the rules and media image crafted by their steely grandmother. The way she manages all the expectations on her is to run; running in the early hours, away from people and the press, is her escape.

However, as Faith's love life and presumed acting skills start to unravel and the demands on her from the media, her boyfriend and family grow, Faith has to dig deep to discover who she really is; she has to stop running. At this point, the story takes a slightly darker turn as we see the story arc in the series unfolding.

This is a perfect summer read for 11+ girls, especially if they are obsessed by famous actors and social media influencers as it will give them an astute glimpse from the other side of the lens! In The Valentines, Holly Smale delivers a finely-tuned critique of the expectations on young women including how they look and behave in real life and on social media. It's also very funny.

The Valentines is a story about a family falling apart and, as each book reveals the Valentines' past, the sisters learn more about themselves and the kind of women they want to become. I for one and keen to read where the final installment takes them in the third Valentines book, publishing next year.

432 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Elen Green

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