Welcome to my Release Day post for Alessandra Thomas’ Picture Perfect!
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes – and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two. When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn’t there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral – nude modeling for a nearby college’s human form drawing classes. When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she’s posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she’s ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat’s absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again – confident and beautiful – as long as Nate’s around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he’s just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again. But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing – this might destroy their relationship before it’s even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she’ll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin – even if it means leaving him forever.
Right from the words ‘nude model’, I knew I had to read this book. I love books that tackle issues, and weight is the topic of interest for this debut NA novel. Having been bed-bound for months after an accident, former model Cat is now a size 12-14 instead of her former size 2. FYI, size 12 is not fat. I just wanted to make that clear. Although this book is overall very curvy friendly and promoting, in the beginning, when Cat tries to integrate herself back into her former life; friends, school, modelling and partying, she is very negative about her size. Her clothes don’t fit, her boyfriend no longer fancies her, and her friends ditch her. In my opinion this was kind of an over-reaction. Size 12-14 is the average size for a woman, and not what I would call fat at all.
However, Cat experiences something that most of us have gone through; the panic when our favourite pair of jeans is too tight, and the denial that nothing has changed. So from a theme point of view, this book is very relatable. When her guidance counsellor suggests nude modelling as a way to confront her body issues, Cat is mortified. I think this is a great thing (albeit highly embarrassing!) and really brings a new perspective to the term ‘bare all’. A hot guy then asks her out afterwards, which is a tad creepy, but is saved by the fact that they were childhood friends. And ironically, he used to be fat!
Although this is pegged as a NA romance (and there are a lot of romance elements), this book should be more proud of the issues it tackles, what it can teach individuals about body image and personal growth. Although the romance was sexy and fun, I didn’t really believe in the love interest. Their relationship was all too perfect, and I was just waiting for something to happen that made it all tumble down. So it was a bit predictable in that sense.
The scene I loved most in this book (other than the nude modelling) is when Nate forces Cat to come clubbing. After a few drinks, she becomes more confortable, and even Nate comments on how at ease she is with herself. While I do not condone drinking for this reason, I think this book highlighted the reality of why so many girls go clubbing and drink far too much; because of insecurities. This book shows how that doesn’t have to be the only way to get comfortable with yourself; you have to find something about you to be proud of. In that respect, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in contemporary NA, fiction about social issues, and romance.
Enter the tourwide giveaway to win a copy of Picture Perfect:
Thanks to InkSlinger PR for hosting the release day launch and blog tour, and for providing a copy of the book for review.