Disclosure: I received a review copy of This Tiny Perfect World from HarperCollins , the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi • contains 304 pages • published February 27, 2018 by HarperTeen, HarperCollins Publishers • classified as Contemporary, Young Adult • obtained through the publisher • read as ARC • shelve on Goodreads
Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.
But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.
I should be upfront that I have a soft spot for YA contemporary books involving drama and theatre. These books invoke such nostalgia because I spent two years acting and studying theatre for A Levels. That’s precisely why I was drawn to This Tiny Perfect World. A summer theatre camp sounded like a full immersion that I was bound to enjoy. In that regard, I was pretty pleased. A good chunk of This Tiny Perfect World is indeed dedicated to Penny’s curriculum time and rehearsals.
Even if you’re not such a big fan of drama, This Tiny Perfect World still has quite a bit to offer. For one, it considers the universal question, “What if there’s more to life than this?” What I liked about the way This Tiny Perfect World handles this is that it doesn’t overcomplicate things. The focus is on the main character’s pursuit for answers in ways that are relevant to her. At the same time, the progression through Penny’s summer is believable, and in many ways relatable.
The plot moves along at a leisurely pace, which reflects the progressive changes in Penny’s mindset. It’s not about drastic events but rather about how little things here and there gradually cause a shift in her perspectives.
Given that This Tiny Perfect World isn’t fast-paced, I do wish that that there had been more complexity to the characters. Even though Penny’s thoughts clearly shine through, the interactions among the various characters aren’t that deep. For example, at one point where Penny and her father could connect on a much more intense level, they don’t. In general, the emotions don’t come across very well. As a result, I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the characters.
Either way, if you’re into theatre or love summer books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy This Tiny Perfect World for a quick read.