perfect score by susan roebuck

Blurb:

It’s the 1960s and feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam’s two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word “dyslexia” is generally unknown so to most people he’s just a “retard”. From the severe knocks life’s dealt him, Sam’s developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.

Despite his defects, Alex’s love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex’s powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.

As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex’s evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what’s the mystery behind Alex’s father’s death?

Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?

My rating: 4 hearts.

My Thoughts:

Beautifully written. Engaging descriptions. Perfect Score is never slow or dull. The story is told in chapters through the views of both Sam and Alex, with a mix of the first and third person. Interestingly enough, the first person point of view does not clash with the third person point of view; both work to weave together the boys’ stories.

All of the characters have big, distinct personalities, no matter their roles. They’re lifelike. But Sam and Alex are beautiful – together and apart. From their appearances down to the way they talk, they’re characterized so well. Everything they do and say has a purpose; the dialogue is not fluff or filler.

The writing itself is strong. At times the descriptions go on for what seems longer than necessary, but they don’t take away from the story. The story is a bit difficult to follow at certain points, though. Time changes sporadically, and sometimes you’re given so much information about the present that you begin to question the past, and vice versa. Even the relationship between Alex and Sam at first feels like it’s just being thrown into the mix. After the occasional mid-story confusion, Roebuck successfully ties everything together in the end.

Perfect Score is definitely a refreshing change from mainstream Adult fiction. It’s neither cliché nor typical, but rather genuine and unique.?

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