No Such Thing as Perfect
by Sarah Daltry
Publication date: December 11th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
No Such Thing as Perfect was inspired by Sarah's Flowering series, but it stands completely alone as its own title. The same characters appear and some situations are similar, but this was written with a different goal in mind. There is NO on-camera sex in this novel and it is not a "romance" novel by most standards, but a story of growing up and being okay with who you are.
College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.
For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes.
Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms.
Rocks were complicated. I wouldn’t have thought so, but I’d studied for weeks because there were just too many kinds of rocks. I didn’t understand all the variations in rocks and how they were formed, but I kept making the flashcards. It didn’t stick, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I had never done poorly on anything. I was only ten, but rocks would be the death of me.
‘Explain the difference between slate and shale.’ I’d stared at the question for half the exam. I had been almost certain one was sedimentary, but I didn’t know which – and the other could have been anything. I knew these had to have been in my notes and on my flashcards, but after a while, the words became little dancing letters on the page, as sensible as if the question had asked me about folk art of the indigenous people on Neptune. They were words – something that had always been reliable – but these words were going to ruin me and I couldn’t make sense of them.
It didn’t surprise me, of course, when Mr. Grunyan came to my desk with my test paper folded over. We all knew what that fold meant. When you did well, no one hid the results. They were displayed in massive red ink next to a sticker, but when you failed… well, the hidden number or letter didn’t matter because we all knew what the fold meant.
“You made a mistake,” I said when he handed it to me, his eyes sad because I tried hard. I wasn’t the kind of student a teacher wanted to see struggle, because I did my work and I paid attention and I never complained. But being polite doesn’t mean you know shit about rocks.
“I’m sorry,” he said and I believed him. The apology wasn’t going to fix it, though. There, under the dreaded crease, was something I only imagined from books I’d read. At ten-years-old, you don’t expect to see an F on a test, especially when you study. Three red scratches, but they were three scratches that screamed, ‘you’re not perfect.’ And that wasn’t an option.
“But-” I couldn’t argue, though. I had wasted the exam time on shale and slate and left a bunch of answers blank and even several of the ones I did fill out were wrong. I had failed.
Failure was an abstract concept. I knew to fear it. I knew it meant I wasn’t good enough and I knew that it would be some kind of record of that imperfection, but having never experienced it, I didn’t really understand it. You only failed if you didn’t try, if you didn’t work hard enough, but to fail when you had done everything you could was something you could feel in your soul. Every doubt inside your head was confirmed in that one letter, because you knew someday you wouldn’t be able to keep up and there it was, laid out like a bleeding injury on a white test page.
Sarah Daltry is a varied author, known best for the contemporary New Adult series, 'Flowering', a six-title series that explores the complexities of relationships, including how we survive the damage from our pasts with the support of those who love us. Although the books are no longer in print, they are being rewritten and redeveloped for future publication. Please visit Sarah's website for more details.
As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and 'Dust', an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, 'Backward Compatible'. Most of Sarah's work is about teens and college students, as it's what she knows well.
Sarah's passion in life is writing - weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips to, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Please stop by and say hello anywhere Sarah is online! You can find these places at http://sarahdaltry.com
Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, 'Bitter Fruits', is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.
Sarah has also written 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' a reimagining of one of her favorite poems in a contemporary setting.
She is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer and sarcastic nerd.