This Tiny Perfect World
By: Lauren Gibaldi
Expected Publication: February 27th 2018 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Penny loves her small-town Florida life—including her boyfriend, Logan, whom everyone expects her to marry. And when she lands a scholarship to the prestigious theater camp of her dreams to explore her love of acting, it’s the beginning of a summer that will change her life. But when she arrives at camp, Penny is thrust into a world of competition and self doubt. And as she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that her own dreams may be bigger than she ever imagined.
Lauren Gibaldi tells the story of a transformative summer for a girl who discovers just how wide the world really is and that maybe the life everyone expects her to lead may not be the one she was meant to have.
This Tiny Perfect World is the third book by Lauren Gibaldi that I've read. While I can't say that Lauren Gibaldi is a favorite author of mine having read these three books, I can say that she's fairly consistent. The biggest correlation between the three books that I've read (The Night We Said Yes and Autofocus) is "coming of age". For some reason coming of age stories aren't usually my favorite. So I don't fault Lauren Gibaldi's writing so much as the plot for these types of stories. The purpose of these types of books is to show how the character grows from the place where they begin the story over a series of conflicts that allow them to learn a lesson resulting in "growing up."
The description of This Tiny Perfect World led me to a few false conclusions about Penny. Without spoiling things for you, I tend to assume that when a character is in a romantic relationship at the beginning of a book then the relationship is doomed. Penny begins the book with a boyfriend yet he's not who the description mentions so I just assumed that Logan was destined to be dropped like a bomb. Things don't go how I expected, but they aren't as far off from what I imagined as they could have been. Logan, himself, was a bit of a struggle for me as a character because he was so whiny and insecure. I struggle with this type of person in real life and I find them doubly annoying in books as well.
As a typical coming of age story, Penny does have quite some growing to do. One of my favorite aspects is how she developed some new friendships without dropping and moving on from her existing friends. Just because she's expanding her view of the world and her potential future doesn't mean that she has to leave her old world and friends completely behind. Although, Penny does have a lot of growing and learning about herself left to do.
My biggest frustration over This Tiny Perfect World centers around Penny's father and his storyline. It was predictable to me, yet I found myself struggling for multiple reasons. My faith for one, but beyond that....Penny finds out a huge secret about her father. And from someone who has had a parent keep a pretty big secret, this isn't so easily blown off as Penny allows it to be. When anyone keeps a giant secret from you, it causes conflict and trust issues that aren't so easily overcome. And you can't just say "I'm the same person you thought I was...well except this part of me" and have that fly. I mean have you guys ever watched a single episode of Catfish? Nine times out of ten the person being deceived can't get over the huge lie that they've been told just because the other person tells them that their feelings toward them were real. Yet, I feel like more than anything, Lauren Gibaldi was taking the politically correct stance on this issue. Because how dare Penny actually take issue with the fact that her father has kept this part of himself secret from her. How dare she possibly be upset by this revelation. No one is allowed to be in control of their own feelings because the media and modern culture has determined that only one response to a situation like this is acceptable. So my issue is that I felt Penny was forced to feel one way because of the political correctness of our time, yet I felt that her response wasn't authentic from the standpoint of someone who's experienced a huge relationship shaking revelation from a parent before.
All of this being said, This Tiny Perfect World was not my favorite book. I read it at a decent speed, but "coming of age" stories just aren't my preference. I don't find that I enjoy reading books that are just about the character learning a lesson or growing only just for the sake of learning a lesson. While I did find Penny's father's secret to be predictable, I didn't feel her response to his revelation to be authentic. I was torn on how things went down with Logan. While things didn't go as I expected, I can't say that I loved what did happen. In the end, This Tiny Perfect World gets 2.5 Stars. Have you read This Tiny Perfect World? What did you think? Let me know!