Review: “All Your Perfects” by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover hit another emotional narrative chord with me in “All Your Perfects”, though admittedly, it’s not a perfect text. (I wouldn’t expect it to be, neither in delivery nor the showcasing of the flawed couple within.) I really liked key moments of it, particularly with how it handles a troubled marriage and issues of infertility. Quinn and Graham initially meet in a mutually mortifying moment – they were cheated on by their respective partners and ended up falling for each other in a toggling between past and present events. In the past events, you see a couple that’s dedicated to each other, but in the present, you see Quinn and Graham in a marriage that’s teetering on the edge. I actually really liked Quinn’s character and like quite a number of Hoover’s heroines, she’s great to follow and sympathetic/empathetic for the hardships she endures. I liked Graham a lot more than I thought I would given the events of the novel and his respective flaws. I think part of it was his geeky quirks but also seeing pieces of his self-awareness and culpability, which shows more maturity than some of Hoover’s other heroes.

I think what keeps this from being a 5-star read for me is how quickly it tied its respective ends. It’s not so much what Quinn decides in the end and why, but rather how it ties it up a bit too neatly with the convenient exposition (i.e. Graham seeming to know everything that troubles Quinn to a fine point. I don’t expect anyone to be that good at mindreading for the respective issues raised by both Quinn and the state they’re in for their marriage, even with the respective notes that he leaves for her.) Hoover does a fine job of showcasing some very tense and tough moments between Quinn and Graham following some emotional rifts that come between the two, so it feels like a bit of a let down that the resolution isn’t in the form of a tough conversation rather than a bit of a one-sided exposition on the part of the hero discussing his issues and the places where he royally screws something up. Then again, I think in all the novels I’ve read from Hoover thus far, that seems to be a common thread and it may be more of a narrative technique for resolution that just doesn’t sit well with me for the type of conflict presented here.

Still, I think “All Your Perfects” showcases many moments where I really appreciated the detail to realistic struggles young adult couples have, in the intimate (sexual and not) relationship that Quinn and Graham have, and ultimately in a story that looks at second chances without lending to melodramatic contexts that tend to plague New Adult. For me, this story felt real – I could vividly see it and relate to what it chose to show – and that was something I appreciated. Great narration of the audiobook by Madeleine Maby.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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