Perfect Harmony by Emily Albright sounded great, in theory. It had a lot of potential, a story line that was immediately interesting which I found myself eager to delve into. I’ve always been a fan of the enemies to lovers trope, despite how cliche it has become, and so naturally this was a book I was looking forward to reading. And for the most part, Perfect Harmony started out okay. But very quickly everything good about the book went downhill.
I’m kind of blown away that this book has more good ratings than bad ones. Featuring terrible characters and even worse advice giving with an emphasis on unrealistic butting in, this book just hit all the wrong points. And good lord, the so-lovey it’s disgusting insta-love was the hardest thing in the world to stomach. I think my eyeballs might be permanently rolling now that I’ve finished.
Perfect Harmony begins with a new kid in school, a boy who, in a horrifying twist of fate, plays the same instrument as the main character and immediately makes it clear that he plans to take first chair from her. It’s a decent enough plot that had me rather excited to read. We all know how the book will end, it’s massively predictable in a great number of ways, but the build up is what we come to these stories for. Well, the build up in this one was so minimal and pedestrian that it made the entire novel not even worth reading.
And this was greatly disappointing because the book truly had such great potential.
But instead of actually showing readers how these two characters pushed past their differences and the competition that they are both clearly pressured by in order to really respect and care for each other, it jumps over all the important parts. There’s no slow burn. We don’t see the characters grow with each other. We never see how they learn to like one another, much less how they eventually fall in love. It’s all passed over for the most immature of personal questioning from the main character, featuring the beginning writer problems of not understanding what makes a good character, where her inner thoughts regularly interject with phrases from, “Why did my stomach just flip?” to “Did I just check out his tush?”
Speaking of tush, the constant references to the characters “checking out” each other’s “backsides” was nauseating. I could understand once or twice, but the level that this book referenced butts was so annoying. Not to mention that Declan’s immediate nickname for Pippa is Princess and he literally never shuts up about it. By the fifth Princess at the beginning of the novel, I was already sick of it. And this kept up throughout the whole book.
And then there are the supporting characters, every single one having next to no personality whatsoever—a characteristic almost portrayed in the main characters as well, but just barely misses the mark—from best friend Quinn who literally exists to create a plot point of unnecessary drama that I found crazy ironic considering the fact that she was also placed in as a conversation booster to push Pippa toward liking Declan, or at least recognizing that he likes her. This role, for some godawful reason, was pushed onto Pippa’s mother shortly after it becomes unrealistic for Quinn to continue.
Pippa’s brother Phillip, while cool and interesting, plays almost no role in the story other than to give another character someone to like and add to the giant love mess. This was frustrating on a number of levels, largely because he was Pippa’s twin and it felt like she barely knew him at all but also because he was a genuinely interesting character we barely got to see.
Then comes Noah, the only character I actually liked, a long time friend of Phillip’s who Pippa has been crushing on forever. He’s the only character who ever actually felt real enough to appreciate and even he was ruined by some ridiculous love pentagon that resulted in the most disastrous and disturbing one liner I’ve ever heard, regarding the determination to continue fighting for someone who clearly doesn’t seem to be reciprocating the feelings.
Why is there a theme in this story with nearly everyone—barring Pippa’s mother and brother, I guess??—starting out okay and then becoming a massive brat?
Perfect Harmony is a hot mess and it’s disappointing because I had been genuinely quite excited to read it. There was so much potential here, but somewhere in the 25% mark, everything fell apart. I knew going in how the story would end, just as all other stories like this end, but I was okay with it at first because I was hoping for the slow burn fun of watching people hate each other and then fall in love—something beautifully executed by that new Netflix movie, Candy Jar—but instead I got a lot of time jumps, characters that mainly existed for plot purposes, and the most annoying main characters I’ve read in a while.
I guess this one just wasn’t for me. The idea was great. The execution, not so much.
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.