Almost Perfect by Briank Katcher

Teen Fiction

Logan Witherspoon is having a rough year.  Brenda, his girlfriend of 3 years, cheated on him and then dumped him.  Three years is an eternity when you’re in high school, so understandably, Logan is having a difficult time getting over Brenda.  He even becomes a little stalker-esque—waiting for her bus to arrive in the morning, obsessing over her, keeping track of the exact minute during lunch when she’ll walk by, etc.

Just as Logan is beginning to accept his descent into the spiral of despair, Sage Hendricks starts school.    In Logan’s hometown of Boyer, MO everyone knows everyone, so a new student is a big deal and Sage is no ordinary new student.  She is almost 6 feet tall, has wild, curly rust colored hair, wears funky clothes, and oozes confidence.  Logan is instantly attracted to her.

Sage seems to return Logan’s feelings, but her parents won’t allow her to date.  In fact, Sage’s entire past is secretive and strange to Logan.  She used to be homeschooled but her sister Tammi went to public school, she can’t date even though Tammi can, and she doesn’t want Logan looking at pictures inside her house.

Despite all the secrets and the insistence that she can’t date Logan, Logan kisses Sage.  It’s then that Sage finally tells him why her parents are so strict and why she is so secretive about her past: Sage was born a boy.

Logan’s reaction is not surprising.  He is angry and scared and feels more betrayed by Sage than he ever did by Brenda.  He says pretty awful things to Sage and he goes into another spiral but this one couples despair with shame and fear.  Initially, he rejects Sage completely, but slowly he begins to try to reach out to her and understand her.  It’s a long journey for the two teens, but it’s one worth reading.

One of the wonderful things that books do is allow readers to “try on” different scenarios and experience things that they wouldn’t normally experience.  Reading becomes more than getting a story.  It is an opportunity to imagine yourself in the situation of the book and imagine how you would react to those same set of circumstances.  Readers of “Almost Perfect” get a unique opportunity to watch Logan’s reactions to Sage and put themselves in his shoes.

Katcher’s writing makes it easy for readers to put themselves in Logan’s shoes.  Because the author chooses to tell this story from Logan’s perspective, we know Logan.  Through Logan, we also know Sage and to a lesser extent Logan’s two best friends Jack and Tim.  At times, I was desperate to know what was going on in Sage’s head and in her home, but we see enough of Sage through Logan that it’s not difficult to guess.

Like I said, Logan’s journey with Sage is a long one—I wanted to throw the book more than once and I cried more than once, but I’m glad I took it.