This is not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua


Admission meets American Panda in this propulsive, poignant YA contemporary novel about a teen who, after getting rejected from her dream college, forges her own acceptance and commits to living a lie. Perfect for fans of Mary H.K. Choi! 

At sixteen, Perla is the youngest graduating senior of the hypercompetitive Monte Verde High. Praised—and not-so-quietly bashed—as “Perfect Perlie Perez,” Perla knows all the late nights, social isolation, and crushing stress will be worth it when she gets into the college of her (and her parents’) dreams: Delmont University. 

Then Perla doesn’t get in, and her meticulously planned future shatters. In a panic, she forges her own acceptance letter, and next thing she knows, she’s heading to Delmont for real, acceptance or not. Soon, Perla is breaking into dorm rooms, crashing classes, and dodging questions from new friends about her lack of a student ID. Her plan? Gather on-the-ground intel to beef up her application and reapply spring semester before she’s caught.  

But as her guilty conscience grows and campus security looms large, Perla starts to wonder if her plan will really succeed—and if this dream she’s worked for her entire life is something she even wants. 

From rising star Tracy Badua comes a gripping, incisive tale of acceptance, self-discovery, and the infinite possibilities that await when we embrace our imperfections.


I loved this book. I loved Perla her chaos and problems, ok some self inflicted which cause more problems, but you can’t help but root for her. Perla is such a loveable character, but I enjoyed the supporting cast too especially Jackson and Camilla, how they help her, both in support and honesty, it’s refreshing to see characters do this.

I thought it was also unique and great to read a book that shows the unrealistic expectations parents, adults set on young adults. I loved seeing Perla find out that people she looked up to are flawed, as I remember how it felt myself (and still do as you constantly learn this in life) having to set your own path and make new impressions of people you thought you knew everything about, it’s a hard lesson and well represented here.

I absolutely loved the ending, but no spoilers from me, if you want to find out read for yourself, but trust me it’s worth it. As someone who failed to get the results they wanted first time round, felt their world was crashing around them, I can definitely recommend this book, I believe it should be in all schools, because there needs to be books like this to show they aren’t alone, that others go through this too. But most of all I wish I’d had this book when I was a teenager, thoroughly recommended

Thanks to netgalley and Harper360YA for a free copy in return for an honest opinion

About the Author

Tracy Badua is a Filipino American author of books about young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, and bites of her secret candy stash.

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