College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.
For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes.
Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms.
No Such Thing as Perfect was inspired by Sarah’s Flowering series, but it stands completely alone as its own title. The same characters appear and some situations are similar, but this was written with a different goal in mind. There is NO on-camera sex in this novel and it is not a “romance” novel by most standards, but a story of growing up and being okay with who you are.
For more info, visit Sarah’s website
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There are only two reasons people in town come here, to the hill that looks over the river, and neither has to do with the way that the sun glares off the ruins of the factories that built, and eventually ruined, our town. One reason is to have sex, and Derek and I know the area well. We’ve spent many evenings, and some afternoons, up here, when my parents were at home or Jon was or he just wanted to do something different. It’s not romantic, but it’s secluded because it used to belong to the factories and now only the ghosts of those lives remain.
The other reason people come up here seems inexplicably linked to that history. It’s oddly both a place where couples go to be together – and also to grow apart. Throughout high school, almost everyone broke up with someone here, like there is pressure in the air that you need permanence to exist in such a place and, without it, you realize there is little worth clinging to in your relationship.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said,” Derek starts, “about transferring.”
I turn in the backseat of his car to face him. The weather is still insisting on summer regardless of the calendar and I’m sticky and warm. Derek turned the car off when we arrived and now, in a barely acceptable state of undress, I’m trying to find my underwear and he’s looking out the window at the river.
“Good, I wanted to talk about that,” I say. I find my panties somehow between two soda bottles and an old CD under the passenger seat. It was over before it even started, like requisite physical interaction without meaning. “I mean, I like Bristol. I guess I would love it eventually, but it’s hard to be in two places at once. I feel stuck between home and school.” He doesn’t say in anything in response, but as soon as I say the words, “I think I’d be better off somewhere familiar, with you and Jon,” he says the words I’ve dreaded since he acknowledged me for the first time.
“That’s why I think we should probably take a break,” he says.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just…” He pauses and cracks the window open more, but the suffocating air isn’t because of the heat. I need to fix this. I can’t screw this up. This is the only thing I’ve been able to keep intact, besides my schoolwork, and I can’t just take tests and write papers for the rest of my life. “Look, Lily, I really enjoy spending time with you, but I like my freedom, too. Some of the rugby guys have been talking about renting a house and I feel like I’m trapped in this relationship with you, like I have to pass everything by you first,” he says.
“I’ve never asked you for anything,” I argue.
“Not exactly, but you need me and it’s a little annoying.”
I don’t know what to say, because I should have seen this coming, I suppose. Instead of saying anything, though, I stare out my own window. The closest factory’s windows have all been shattered and plants hopelessly try to grow through the damage. It’s more depressing than if there was nothing there but ruin. Watching the life try to continue after everyone else has moved on just makes me think it’s all futile. When we outlive our purpose, we should disappear. No one needs a reminder that they’ve failed.
About the Author
Sarah Daltry is a varied author, known best for the contemporary New Adult series, ‘Flowering’, a six-title series that explores the complexities of relationships, including how we survive the damage from our pasts with the support of those who love us. Although the books are no longer in print, they are being rewritten and redeveloped for future publication. Please visit Sarah’s website for more details.
As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and ‘Dust’, an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, ‘Backward Compatible’. Most of Sarah’s work is about teens and college students, as it’s what she knows well.
Sarah’s passion in life is writing – weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips to, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Please stop by and say hello anywhere Sarah is online! You can find these places at http://sarahdaltry.com
Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, ‘Bitter Fruits’, is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.
Sarah has also written ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,’ a reimagining of one of her favorite poems in a contemporary setting.
She is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer and sarcastic nerd.