The Drifter

Falling For April

Honeymoon Hoax

Making Over Mike


Perfect Together by Lisa Plumley
(Zebra, $6.50, PG-13) 0-8217-7341-0
Jake Jarvis is a sportscaster on a local TV station and single father of four-year-old Noah. The publicity department decides to market him as the sexiest sportscaster in town to pull in the all-important female demographics. Radio and TV announcements with sexy taglines are suddenly all over the airwaves and his picture is on buses and banners.

An embarrassed Jake tries to get the adds stopped, but is told that not only will they continue, but that they have also lined him up for a spot on the reality show called Dream Date. The show connects couples and follows them on dates with individual follow-up interviews. One couple is then chosen as the winning couple. With his contract up for renewal in a few months, he has no choice.

Marley Madison started acting when she was four and has been in show business ever since. She spent several years playing a ditsy Southern belle in a TV show called Fantasy Family. Now she is trying to find more work, but she's been typecast and is not getting any offers. She wants to act in more serious roles, but needs to change her image. Her staff suggests that she change her looks and her name and audition for a part on Dream Date. If she can fool her date and the viewing audience, then surprise everyone on the last program, they believe that casting directors will see her in a different light.

Jake and the newly named Carly meet in the waiting room of the Dream Date auditions. Marley has been surrounded by staff and assistants for so many years that she doesn't quite know how to do ordinary things. She had talked to her very ordinary twin sister to get some ideas, but she is not yet up to speed. Jake can tell that something is odd about her, but she interests him. They end up being paired by the show. Marley is very worried because Jake is in the media business. She is afraid that he will quickly see through her, but she knows that she needs to succeed on this show. The two of them agree to try to work together to win the top prize.

The rest of the story consists of Marley/Carly and Jake getting to know each other on and off the camera. Her sister, Meredith, and her staff try to help, but often cause more confusion. Jake's son, Noah, adds trouble because she believes she knows nothing about how to get along with children. As she gets more and more involved with Jake, the question is whether or not she will make a fool of him by announcing her real identity on the show.

Marley/Carly was hard for me to believe. Could someone really be so out of touch with the real world especially since she has a twin sister who is very ordinary? She supposedly spent some time in regular schools and lived at home. Some of her mistakes just seem impossible. She does have a good heart and does change, so I did begin to like her.

Jake and his relationship with Noah are the best part of the story. Jake has given up several things in his life to raise Noah, but does not regret it. Their relationship is very much a guy relationship. Jake's philosophy is that as long as Noah is healthy, happy, and reasonably well behaved, then it doesn't matter if his clothes match. If Noah picks out a weird outfit, Jake is all for it. The two of them are like a big bear and a little bear at play. If Noah doesn't like someone Jake dates, then the date is history. Noah's relationship with Marley/Carly if fun to watch.

Despite the inconsistencies presented by Marley, I did enjoy the story. Perfect Together works for an easy summer read.

--B.Kathy Leitle

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