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Far From Perfect

Written by Holly Smale

Part of the The Valentines Series

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Far From Perfect Review

Books of the Month Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers Funny Romance / Relationship Stories

This entertaining page-turner sees an aspiring teen actress struggle with impossible standards before writing her own script

August 2020 Book of the Month

Hot on the heels of Happy Girl Lucky comes this second book in Holly Smale’s The Valentines series – a wildly entertaining tale in which aspiring actress Faith seems to have it all, before realising she needs to shirk off the shackles of impossible standards and speak from her own script.

Stunning and wealthy, with a mega-famous musician boyfriend – what more could a girl want? And coming from a line of talented actresses, Faith’s future as a major movie star is laid out before her like a red carpet. In her grandmother’s words, “You are a Valentine, darling…The entire world has been handed to you on a plate. All you have to do is not screw it up.” 

But, despite Faith’s privilege, not screwing up is an impossible task when - also in her grandmother’s words, “there is no intermission, Faith. For us, the curtains are always up.” Constantly in the public eye, everything Faith says or does is scrutinised, often wilfully misinterpreted and, when the truth isn’t juicy enough, the press invents their own. Desperate to keep everyone happy, Faith always says what’s she’s supposed to, but that backfires too: “The Daily Mail has once more referred to you as aloof and an Ice Queen. Darling, if you were a man, that would be a way of saying enigmatic. As a woman, it just means nightmare. You must try to come across as warmer. But not so warm that you look desperate, obviously.” Quite simply, Faith can’t win. What’s more, her auditions aren’t going well either, and it’s not long before everything starts to unravel. 

Faith’s journey really is an additive rollercoaster – she’s someone to root for, and all the characters are fabulously formed. Readers will truly love “I’ll-do-and-say-and-eat-what-I-want, when-I-want” Scarlett who offers Faith a life-changing sisterly hand. With the novel’s exposure of double standards - and impossible standards - seamlessly thread through the pacey plot, this is feminist fiction at its most thoughtful, thrilling and funny.

Find out more as Holly Smale talks to us about her fabulous new trilogy!

Joanne Owen

Far From Perfect Synopsis

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?

Far From Perfect Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading4Kids expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Faith Valentine seems to have a perfect life, but what she wants a life away from her intimidating family expectations. Join Faith on an adventure to show her real self. Full review

Elleanore Phillips (Age 12)

Absolutely loved this book! Full review

Lily O’Dwyer (Age 12)

‘Far From Perfect’ is a wonderful book about Faith who has a seemingly perfect life. “She is a Valentine, life is handed to her on a plate and all she has to do is not screw it up” is what her grandma says. Is this really the case? Will Faith, a successful and famous actor, find her true self? Full review

Gianna Smith (Age 11)

Sometimes, life makes us forget. Time passes by, and we are lost for a bit. Until a book comes in our hands – to remind us what really matters. This is that book. A beautiful continuation of the series. I recommend it to the teenagers – to find your purpose; and also to everyone else – to remember what that purpose is! Full review

Ivana - Diary of Difference

It is a really relatable and moving book. I loved it. Full review

Ellen Cox (Age 14)

Far From Perfect Press Reviews

Praise for Happy Girl Lucky:

“The queen of teen fiction is back – and with a feisty new heroine” – The Telegraph

[Smale] “casts a wise eye over modern culture and the pursuit of perfection” – Observer

“A must-read” – The Times 

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008254179
Publication date: 23/07/2020
Publisher: HarperCollins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008254179
Publication date: 23rd July 2020
Author: Holly Smale
Publisher: HarperCollins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 448 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Funny, Romance / Relationship Stories
Recommendations: Books of the Month, Reviewed by Children
Collections: The Valentines - a new trilogy from Holly Smale,

About Holly Smale

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors . Holly Smale is the author of the Geek Girl series. She was unexpectedly spotted by a top London modelling agency at the age of fifteen and spent the following two years falling over on catwalks, going bright red and breaking things she couldn't afford to replace. By the time Holly had graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare, she had given up modelling and set herself on the path of becoming a writer. Geek Girl was the no. 1 bestselling young adult fiction title ...

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