Perfect Summer by Karen King

CRIME
Perfect Summer by Karen King
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (158 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Set in the future in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan can’t help being a bit envious of her best friend, Summer. Summer is beautiful, rich and seems to have an effortlessly perfect life. Whereas Morgan isn’t so rich, or beautiful and her younger brother Josh has Down’s syndrome, which according to the government, and society in general, is a crime. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren’t interested, so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager Jamie whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late?

Fifteen-year-old Morgan envies her best friend, Summer, because Summer is beautiful and rich with great parents, while Morgan isn’t beautiful and her family depends on both her mother’s and her father’s jobs just to keep going. In addition, Morgan has a little brother, Josh, whom she loves, but who has Down’s Syndrome, something that is considered criminal in this futuristic society obsessed with physical perfection. But when Josh is kidnapped, Morgan, Summer, and their new friend Jamie work together to try to rescue Josh as well as Jamie’s sister, Holly.

Karen King has created a richly detailed society which is all too believable and definitely truly horrible. The government ministry keeps tabs on everyone, even supplying physical perfection surgery to the entire population at age sixteen. There is an E-center in everyone’s home which monitors their weight, sending reports to the doctor at the local medical center if anyone’s weight falls above or below the ideal. The Ministry is always making laws for the good of the people and they try repeatedly to get Morgan’s parents to have Josh committed to a Residential Learning Center.

Morgan is a typical fifteen-year-old girl, worried about makeup and boys, but she truly loves her three-year-old brother. She is grateful to Summer for protecting her from a lot of the teasing at school by those who think that all disabled people should be institutionalized or worse. Morgan is smart and determined. I like the way she doesn’t allow her brother’s kidnapping to be minimized and swept under the carpet. I also like Summer, who could easily have walked away from her friend when Morgan’s brother was born, but she sticks by Morgan in spite of all the social pressure to do otherwise. And then there is Jamie, whose sister Holly has cerebral palsy and who was kidnapped a couple months before Josh. Jamie is a very lonely boy with great skills in technology. His mother died before Holly’s kidnapping and his father is grieving so badly that he has no time for Jamie.

These three young people are engaging and determined. They fight the system and do their best to solve the mystery of the disappearance of disabled children. They fight against tough challenges and they refuse to give up. I found myself caught up in their search, fighting along side them every step of the way, as the mystery surrounding the kidnappings deepens.

Perfect Summer is a real coming-of-age story with a heroic quest. Fans of fantasy will assuredly enjoy following Morgan and her friends as they race to find the kidnapped children. This is an action-packed adventure from start to finish.

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