Title: Picture Perfect
Author: Alessandra Thomas
Published: March 26th, 2013
Book rating: 5 stars
Cover rating: 3 stars
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.
When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes.
When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.
But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.
This will be one of those rant and review, reviews (the good kind) because this book deserves it. To put my feelings about this book into words might be a bit difficult, to say it left me speechless is to the point. This book was such a beautiful little story with such a powerful message and I loved it so much. I feel like an obvious thing that I loved about this book is that Cat was a bigger girl, there's nothing wrong with being skinny or big but I feel like most girls in books I read are skinny and it's not something everyone can relate to. What I really loved about this story is that it isn't just about a bigger woman being beautiful, it's about a once skinny woman learning that no matter the size we are all beautiful. We see Cat's struggle and you can feel how difficult it is for her, I don't know a single girl or woman who has never at one point in her life felt insecure because we all do. Picture Perfect sends such a powerful and positive message to girls who may be bigger, there really is someone out there for everyone and you should be comfortable, confident, and love yourself because that's what makes you beautiful. No matter how cheesy that is, it's true.
On to the actual loving of the book and why. The writing was amazing, it was so easy for me to get into the writing style that Alessandra has and follow the story. I'm finding recently that some books have funky writing styles and point of views that end up confusing me and I didn't have that problem with Picture Perfect. The actual plot of this story was beautiful, we see Cat at her worst from the beginning and get to experience with her the process in growing to love herself again and becoming a stronger person from this experience even when life tries to drag her down. I loved her from the moment we met her and my love for her as a character only grew throughout this story. She was portrayed in a great way and she is definitely one of my all time favorite female characters. Nate was just as phenomenal and definitely hot, hot, hot. I loved his personality and how he pretty much worshiped the ground Cat walked on and as you will see later, still does and always will as far as I can tell in the character interview I got to do with them. The big bomb that Alessandra dropped on us was sooo completely unexpected! You can tell by the description something is going to come up but I never imagined that of all things. It made me sad to see what had happened but at the same time I was sort of grateful in a sense because it made Nate who he is today, into the man that Cat deserved.
I read Picture Perfect in two days, I would have preferred one but I had school. This book is something everyone needs to devour because I guarantee you will love it. Alessandra has earned a place on my watch for list and Cat and Nate are officially in my top five favorite couples, this book is definitely in the running for my favorite book this year! I'm looking forward to more books from Alessandra and I highly recommend you read this one, it's a must. Now on to the super duper fun part, I got to do an interview with both Cat and Nate and I'm so honored they're the first on my blog so check it out below!
Favorite snack/junk food?
Cat: Cookie dough!
Nate: That’s gross.
Cat: The heart wants what it wants. At least it’s not greasy.
Nate: Right. Burgers, for me..
Favorite thing to do together?
Nate: You’re looking for the gentleman’s answer, right? I like to cook dinner with her.
Cat: I like that too. I also like walks through the city, though.
Cat: Pride and Prejudice.
Where's one place you'd like to go with each other?
Nate: I think a luxury camping trip would be cool.
Cat: What does that even mean? That’s like a huge oxymoron.
Nate: It means we get the woods all to ourselves, and then we get to stay in a nice cabin. All. Alone.
Cat: Are there showers?
Nate: *laughs* Yes. Indoors, too.
What's one thing you think the other couldn't live without?
Nate: Well, obviously, she couldn’t live without a shower.
Cat: I don’t think he could live without fresh produce.
What's something you guys do together as a couple besides experiencing different foods?
Nate: We just do a lot of hanging out. I like to watch her work. The look on her face when she gets the idea that pulls the whole outfit together, it’s awesome.
Cat: I like to do anything that involves Nate’s arm muscles flexing. Or him holding my hand.
I know in Picture Perfect we got to hear a lot about how you guys went out to eat and experienced food from different cultures together, can you tell me which was your favorite?
Cat: I love Thai. It’s such an incredible combination of spicy and fresh.
Nate: Italian will always be my favorite. I just hope she doesn’t mind kissing me after all that garlic.
Cat: There may come a time when I’ll force you to brush your teeth before we make out. Watch for it.
The chemistry between you two is so obvious, tell me what goes on in your mind when you see each other or hear each others names?
Cat: I just can’t stop smiling. I feel so much more relaxed and content when he’s around.
Nate: I just want to have my hands on her. I only feel good if I have my arm around her shoulder, if I can kiss her forehead.
Nate, your body building past wasn't a huge shock because you talked about it a little bit, but who you were as a person was a bit shocking when it came out. Do you regret doing what you did and being that person, would you take it back?
Nate: Yeah. Look, I think it’s easy for people new to college to get swept up in a group and maybe to get so involved that they lose a little of themselves. I also think that a lot of shit was going on in my life and all those guys who valued me for being buff, it made me feel so good that I didn’t realize how badly I was treating anyone else. In a way, I’m glad it happened because now I have that perspective and it’ll never happen again. But yeah, I’d take it back. For sure.
Cat, I seriously love you! You are such an inspiration to young girls, as a fashion major do you plan on creating any clothing lines soon and could you tell us where you'd draw your inspiration from? Also, do you ever use Nate as a human mannequin? I picture him in a dress and die laughing.
Cat: Aw, I love you too! I don’t love my body 100% of the time, but I’m doing so so so much better than I was. It makes me so sad to think of girls hating themselves, because I remember what that was like.
As far as inspiration: Nate actually loves old movies and watching so many with him has got me interested in how to bring back older styles and lines for modern bodies. So I’m working on that, how clothing can evoke the feelings of a certain era, and retranslate them for today.
And you know? I’ve never thought of using Nate as a mannequin, but now I think I know what we’re doing tonight! *laughs*
Is there anything we don't know about either of you? Give us the juicy details.
Cat: I don’t think there’s anything really juicy about me. Oh! Once I dropped my step mom’s Coach bag into a muddy puddle outside a club. I convinced her she’d never lent it to me.
And, I think about starting a seen-on-TV product business all the time. I get all these ideas about how to make life better. Like pajama jeans.
Nate: *snort* Nothing juicy about me.
Cat: Don’t let him fool you. He snores.
Nate, we see everything in your book from Cat's POV, can you describe to me how you felt the first time you talked to Cat?
Nate: As soon as I walked out the door of that art building and saw her sitting on those steps, I knew it was her. Her hair is a dead giveaway. It was this weird mixture of excitement and caution and wanting to make everything better for her. I could tell she was upset, just not about what. But she was so beautiful that it actually like physically hurt me that she would be that torn up about anything.
One more question and then I'll let you two get back to being cute and awesome together, what's one thing you admire about each other the most?
Cat: I admire Nate’s kindness. He’s so much nicer than most people. And his abs. I admire his abs.
Nate: *grin* I admire Cat’s bravery. She’ll try anything if she thinks it’ll make a difference in someone’s life, especially her own. She’s put herself out there so many times, and I’m really glad she did.
Cat: Thank you so much for having us! Most people don’t have patience for us gushing over how in love we are.
Nat: Yeah, seriously, thanks. It means a lot to me that other people see what an inspiration Cat is.
Thank you both so much for answering my questions, I'd be honored to watch you two make googly eyes at each other anytime. You both crack me up and make me smile!
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