Young Readers


A Novel
“Not only a good read, it’s near perfect.” —TORONTO SUN
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In the world of thirteen-year-old girls, everything’s fine—at least on the surface.

Isabelle Lee is a typical, wisecracking, middle-of-the-pack girl who just happens to be dealing with some big issues. Her father has died and no one—especially her mother—wants to talk about it. Meanwhile, Isabelle’s sister, who “used to be nine and charming,” has messed everything up by ratting Isabelle out to their mom about her eating disorder.

At school, there’s Mr. Minx, the self-important (but really not bad) English teacher; Ashley Barnum, the prettiest girl around; and the lunchroom, where tables are turf in an all-eyes-open battle for social status. Isabelle has measured the distance to being cool and she thinks it’s long shiny hair, a toothpaste smile, and perfectly broken-in size-zero jeans.

Perfect is the story of one girl’s attempt to cope with loss, define true friendship, and figure out the difference between appearances and reality.

Publish Date
5.25 × 8 × 0.56 in
7.3 oz

Praise and Prizes

  • “Isabelle is a winningly tart observer of life at home, and the plot shows the dangers in perfection’s siren call.”

    Chicago Tribune
  • “This first novel by Natasha Friend has been well named… . Friend’s subtle use of language, her delicate touch, brought me to tears and out-loud laughter. The story line, a girl’s struggle with an eating disorder, is aching to be told. Friend shows thirteen-year-old Isabelle Lee as a member of a family frozen by grief over the sudden death of Isabelle’s father, which no one talks about.”

    Midwest Book Review
  • “Witty and perceptive … Natasha Friend tells this more as a family story, bringing a spontaneity and engagement to Isabelle’s narration that lifts this above most pointed problem novels.”

    Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • “Clearly and simply written with a nice balance of humor and drama, with insight into the mind of 13-year-olds and how families suffer from trauma, this story can speak to girls coping with their own transitions into adolescence.”

  • “The believable and likable heroine relates many heart-warming and heart-breaking moments. Ultimately, Isabelle’s story will both touch and educate readers.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “A truly worthwhile read of great interest to many girls … Isabelle’s grief and anger are movingly and honestly portrayed, and her eventual empathy for her mother is believable and touching.”