Etta

Book Review: The Flipside of Perfect (ARC)

Published: April 6th 2021

Author: Liz Reinhardt

What happens when her two worlds collide?

AJ is a buttoned-up, responsible student attending a high-achieving high school in Michigan. She lives with her mother, stepfather, and two younger half sisters.

Della spends every summer with her father in Florida. A free-spirited wild child, she spends as much time as possible on the beach with her friends and older siblings.

But there’s a catch: AJ and Della are the same person. Adelaide Beloise Jepsen to be exact, and she does everything she can to keep her school and summer lives separate.

When her middle sister crashes her carefree summer getaway, Adelaide’s plans fall apart. In order to help her sister, save her unexpected friendship with a guy who might just be perfect for her, and discover the truth about her own past, Adelaide will have to reconcile the two sides of herself…and face the fact that it’s perfectly okay not to be perfect all the time. 

The synopsis and cover drew me to want to read this novel. It actually reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa changes her clothes/personality and becomes popular while on vacation. Although there were some similarities (one more straight-laced and one more relaxed), the two stories had their differences. Another reason I picked up this story as I directly relate to the main character, who divides her time between her two separated parents and their families.

Adelaide is the main character of the story. She spends the school year in Michigan with her mom, stepdad, and two younger sisters. During these moments, she goes by AJ and her personality is more conservative and studious. Now during the summers, Adelaide spends her time in Florida with her dad and other siblings. Here she is known as Della and her personality is the more relaxed outgoing girl. This where my experience differed from the character’s as I did spend the school years in one state with one parent and summers in another state with the other. However, I did not change my personality, clothing style, or anything else as I was the same exact person no matter who I was spending my time with.  The two lives concept was very relatable, though, as I talked to my friends from each place, but they never met as neither set had the resources to fly to the other place.

It takes some initial thought to remember that the two names (AJ and Della) are the same individual (Adelaide) as I found my mind would automatically consider them separate people while reading. Eventually my brain caught up and it was not an issue. Everything in Adelaide’s two lives each seems perfect and in their place until the two worlds collide. One of Adelaide’s little sisters comes with her during her annual summer trip to Florida. It is interesting to read about Adelaide trying to navigate the newfound obstacles as she wants to have it all, but it not sure how quite to achieve it. I love Adelaide’s growth as she does live in a unique world where she is an older sister in one household and a younger sister in the other.

It is the extra addition of the different family dynamics that made me very curious as it would be interesting to be the youngest in one household and the oldest in the other.  Adelaide is growing up with two different sets of expectations as both her mother and father’s households are ran in generally different ways, as you would expect with any child splitting their time between divorced parents. I loved learning about her navigating between the two worlds, yet she also has the added pressure of getting older and wanting to also create her own expectations for herself. The story is more than just a singular story about Adelaide, as the reader learns about a lot of the other characters.  

Overall, Adelaide was a likeable character that you want to find happiness. It is very sweet and heart-warming with a lot of good life lessons about finding out what will make you happy and becoming comfortable with change as time moves forward. The story gives a good background into Adelaide and why she makes certain decisions. Like any person, she is not perfect, but she tries her best to learn and grow.  There are times where the writing became a little confusing when it did some timeline changes, but, just like the main character’s name, I caught on fairly soon. The writing itself was written in a relatable way as it was easy to read and fit the characters. Although this book had hit or miss moments, for me, I can easily see how others would not mind most of these and would see everything as a positive. Based on my experience with this novel, I am now intrigued to read more by this author and would recommend this to others.

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Inkyard Press, for a review copy of this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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