Universally misunderstood. That’s the title of Kristin Billerbeck’s latest young adult series. And “misunderstood” is certainly a word to describe main character Daisy Crispin. When we first met Daisy, she was PERFECTLY DATELESS and determined to find a guy to take her to the prom. Then, she felt PERFECTLY INVISIBLE, as her last year of high school existence spiraled out of control, and her boyfriend seemed to spend more time with her best friend, Claire, than with her.
"While I personally enjoyed all three of the Universally Misunderstood books, PERFECTLY RIDICULOUS had me chuckling a bit more and louder. It also showed more character development."
In this third and possibly final book of the series, Daisy’s life has been deemed PERFECTLY RIDICULOUS. Before heading off to college to major in finance, she and Claire are planning an exciting summer vacation in Argentina --- paid for by Claire’s ridiculously wealthy parents --- where they will take tango lessons, go on exotic tours, get pampered with a slew of massage treatments, and meet up with Daisy’s sort-of boyfriend Max, an exchange student who moved back to Argentina after graduation. It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime.
Before she even thinks about packing, however, Daisy receives a letter informing her that in order to qualify for her college scholarship, she must complete two weeks of mission work. Claire comes up with the idea to combine their trip with mission work in Argentina. Daisy can dedicate one week to charity and have one week left to play. Brilliant! Minus the fact that her eccentric and overprotective parents insist on coming with them, of course.
Once again, Billerbeck proves why she is the “Queen of Chick Lit.” A cast packed with quirky, fun characters, witty writing with hilarious inner dialogue and sarcasm galore, a fast-paced storyline: this series has it all. Daisy’s life may not be anything like yours (who lives in a garage surrounded by rolls of toilet paper, after all?), but you may just relate to her insecurities and weaknesses, such as her tendency to rely on herself rather than trusting God.
While I personally enjoyed all three of the Universally Misunderstood books, PERFECTLY RIDICULOUS had me chuckling a bit more and louder. It also showed more character development. Despite Daisy's perfectly ridiculous drama (a perfectly perfect title for this book, by the way), she manages to grow up, which may be due to the fact that she's now out of high school. In fact, most of the characters evolve significantly, including self-focused Claire, which I found delightful. Even Daisy’s parents experience an epiphany of sorts, which plays a nice part at the end of the book and helps to wrap things up nicely.
The least likable character is boyfriend Max, who often treats Daisy with downright rudeness and insensitivity. Honestly, I couldn’t understand why Daisy continued to be drawn to him, especially when she meets a seemingly perfect Christian guy who treats her with respect and expresses a romantic interest in her. Although the reasons for Max’s behavior are explained in the end, it still seemed a bit too dysfunctional somehow. But the love triangle was an entertaining aspect of the story.
Although PERFECTLY RIDICULOUS reads as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the first two books in the series, not only because there are several mentions of previous events, but mostly to grasp the entire picture of Daisy’s journey. And also because it’s just plain fun. I’m not sure if readers will be treated to another installment in Daisy Crispin’s life, but I’d certainly welcome it. It would be interesting to see how her newfound maturity would affect her college years and beyond. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be bad to end things on a positive note and leave Daisy’s future to our imaginations. Regardless, if you’re a Kristin Billerbeck fan or are simply looking for a quick, fun read, PERFECTLY RIDICULOUS delivers.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on August 15, 2012