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A Place Called Perfect

Chapter 1

He waited. Hidden by dusk and the garden bushes against the bark of an oak tree. Watching. The spot gave him full view of the house and gravel driveway.
Worrying about being seen felt weird.
Perfect had been alive with the news of Doctor Eugene Brown’s arrival for weeks. The doctor would help. Boy knew it, more than he’d ever known anything. He just had to get to the man before he changed.  
As night closed in, George and Edward Archer strode by and mounted the stone steps to the house. The place lit up and Boy watched them move around inside.
Suddenly light darted across the grass by his feet and Boy pulled back further into the shadows. A silver car crunched along the driveway towards him and stopped. His heartbeat quickened. The engine purred to silence.
The large door of the house opened and the Archer twins stood silhouetted in the light from the hallway. As Boy watched, statue still, a shiver danced down his spine.
A man got out of the driver’s seat; a woman from the passenger’s side.
He hadn’t imagined the doctor would have company. The woman looked nervous, staring across the roof of the car at the man. He smiled awkwardly at her then walked towards the twins, greeting them with a handshake. The woman followed and the four of them disappeared inside.
Boy ventured a little out of the shadows, stopping short as the doctor called, “Violet. Come in from the car, pet, it’s chilly out there.”
The back door of the car opened a little, then quickly slammed shut as a breeze rustled the leaves above him.
Boy held his breath and pulled back into hiding. The car door swung open again, and this time a small, frightened girl dashed out across the gravel towards the house.
Boy couldn’t help laughing. She sped up, jumped the steps and rushed in through the front door, banging it shut behind her and plunging the yard back into darkness.
The car door hung open and Boy pushed it shut as he edged closer to the kitchen window. He just caught sight of the girl sliding into the room.
He sat down by the steps to wait.
Night rolled on. The Watchers would be patrolling soon and he couldn’t be caught outside the walls again. He’d come back in the morning, early, and speak to the doctor then.
He took one last look in the window. The girl sat between her mam and dad – a proper family. Something inside him stung as he thumbed the rub-worn note in his pocket.

Chapter 2
A Silent Protest

Violet woke with a start as the car crunched to a stop over squashed gravel. It was dark. She pulled herself up from the warm leather seat and peered out the side window. The house was big, much bigger than their old one and looked like something from a magazine. The lights were on inside.
She gasped and ducked back down.
Two dark figures, one tall, one small, stood shadowed in the light from the open doorway. Violet’s father looked at her mother then unbuckled his seat belt and stepped out of the car.
“Ah, Mr and Mr Archer,” her father said, approaching the men, “we didn’t expect a welcoming committee.”

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Violet never wanted to move to Perfect.

Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time?

But Violet quickly discovers there's something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared.

When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away...and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

  • Winner of the Best Crime Novel for Children (8-12) – Crimefest Book Awards
  • Shortlisted for Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2018
  • Tom Fletcher Book Club 2017

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Book information

Lexile Measure
Accelerated Reader level
5 MY
ISBN: 9781474924160
Extent: 352 pages
Dimensions: 198 x 130mm

Author information

Helena Duggan

Helena Duggan is from Kilkenny, a medieval, haunted city in the south of Ireland, which was the inspiration for Perfect. She writes stories full of adventure because she gets bored really easily. She's also a graphic designer and illustrator. A Place Called Perfect was her first book.

Read more about Helena Duggan

Helena Duggan on Twitter


Shortlisted - Ealing Junior Book Award 2019

Winner - Redbridge Children's Book Award

Shortlisted - Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards

Shortlisted - Waterstones Children's Book Prize

Shortlisted - Sheffield Children's Book Award 2018

Winner - Hillingdon Primary Book of the Year

Winner - North East Book Award 2018

Shortlisted - St Helens Schools Library Service Book Awards 2019

Highly Commended - Oxfordshire Book Award 2018 (Junior Novel)

Reader reviews

Read the following reviews or write one of your own.

“a place called perfect - the best book ever”
I got this book a few weeks ago and I loved it, it's full of mystery and adventure and soon after I started the second one - The trouble withe perfect. I liked it so much that in no time I'm onto the third book - the battle for perfect. It's got a strong girl character called Violet and it shows that no matter how small you are you can do it. They solve codes along the way and meet good and bad people. The series is really good and I recommend it to anyone who likes the Harry Potters. Well done Helena Duggan
I love it.Read it with my class and for most of our English lesson they just kept the questions coming because they were so intrigued!
I love this book, it’s always hooking and I can’t get enough of it!
This book was just great, I couldn't put it down and finished it in only a couple of days.
“A Place Called Perfect”
It's an amazing book, you MUST read it! It literally drags you into the book, its full of excitement, adventure and it was my type of book, well done, Helena Duggan!
This is the best book I read it 12 times.
“The best book ever”
I think everyone should read this book.
This is the best book I have ever read! It just keeps on luring you in to read more but sometimes you just have to stop even if you don’t want to! I have to read “The trouble of perfect”.
“amazing book”
I love it so much I whished it woun't end
“My new favourite”
This is honestly the greatest book I have ever read. I've already read it twice and only bought it a couple weeks ago. I adore the characters, ploy twists, action, and all round brilliant adventures. Needs to become book of the year.
I love this book so much! I couldn't put it down and even afterwards I read it again. The characters were brought across well however open to interpretation and it was "my sort of book".

Press reviews

“A perfect choice for Waterstones Children's Book of the Month and I will be recommending it to everyone, including adults, that I can!”
“A quirky, creepy, and unforgettable adventure, perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton.”
“A unforgettably magical and creepy tale with an eye-catching and quirky heroine.”
“A creepy, magical tale of bravery and self-belief.”
“Helena Duggan builds an intriguing world and tells a gripping story...”
“A creepy adventure story full of twists and turns that will hook you in from the start and keep you guessing into the final pages.”
“This is a very well written story, lots of plots twists, and it kept my interest all the way through. The ending hints at a sequel, and I've got my fingers firmly crossed that there will be one! Highly recommend!”

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