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Faking Perfect

by ChangeTheWorld

Holding the assignment in her lap, Cora tried to shake the head ache off. She wanted to fade away, to just sink and sink until it didn’t matter anymore if she was or if she wasn’t, because no one would see her anyway. The words of her textbook blurred in front of her eyes. None of it meant anything, yet still she persisted, trying again to commit the sentences to memory. She hated it even more with each time she tried.

She hated everything she did the more she had to do it.

She hated school.

She hated work.

She hated what she wore, how she talked, her hair length, but mostly the God awful smile she plastered on her face until it drained the energy out of her. It was because she had to; Cora did it because she believed that.

Blinking, she tried to reread the page; maybe this time it would sink in. Maybe this time it would mean something. Wasn’t it all supposed to have meaning? What people wrote wasn’t supposed to be pointless. Yet it all felt so numbingly routine. Sadly, though, this stupid school reading wasn’t any worse than she was. What she did, what she said, the perfection she strove for, it was all just as empty.

Perfection—a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence

Sometimes Cora wondered why she attempted perfect when she knew she wasn’t.

Frequently, she had to remind herself that it was all for them. Every choice she made was so they could be happy, so they’d know they didn’t have to worry about her. Closing the useless book, she looked over at Brandon, his enthused eyes widening as he grinned at her. She sat still so he sat still. He was content with just watching her sit there; her brother didn’t even realize he had drool coming out of his mouth. Cora smiled at him weakly, but he didn’t notice it was fake, his face lit up anyway. Reaching up, she wiped the drool from his chin. He was perfect. Why couldn’t they see that? To them Brandon was just work, stress. A hassle. But she loved him: the way he squealed at the sound of the ice cream truck; the fact that he couldn’t read, yet he always beat her at chess; the way only half of his dinner made it into his mouth, but that was the way he liked it.

Her brother always said what he felt, and he didn’t tell Cora she was pretty because he felt obligated or had some ulterior motive, he really thought she was. The only reason she kept trying was for him. If she wasn’t perfect their parents would send Brandon away, claim two bad children was too many. And she’d lose her brother, her best friend, the thing she loved most in this world. But looking at his face, she knew he was worth it. Cora knew she’d keep doing everything she despised if it meant she got to see Brandon’s face at the end of every day. She just wondered, when the day would come, that she’d be able to stop faking perfect.

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205 Reviews

Points: 3466
Reviews: 205

Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:06 pm
EverLight wrote a review...

EverLight here with a review! This review is not intended to offend or hurt you or make your novel or poem seem bad, but be warned you may feel offended anyway.

First Impression
*tears. This is beautiful!

Nitpicks & Grammar

The word head and ache need to be combined in this sentence-

Cora tried to shake the head ache off.

You may want to consider adding a comma by the word still in this sentence-
None of it meant anything, yet still she persisted, trying again to commit the sentences to memory.

You need a comma after the word them-
To them Brandon was just work, stress.

Finally this sentence doesn't sound right somehow-
If she wasn’t perfect their parents would send Brandon away, claim two bad children was too many.

I think I'd add the word and before the word claim, like this-
If she wasn't perfect their parents would send Brandon away, and claim two bad children was to many

Other then that you did well.

Style & Flow
Nothing absolutely nothing to critique here. Your style is pristine.

This was a beautiful emotional story! Keep publishing!

EverLight out

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83 Reviews

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Reviews: 83

Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:16 pm
Dutiful says...

Okay, I'm officially weeping right now. Its beautiful. Enough said. (:

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620 Reviews

Points: 12075
Reviews: 620

Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:58 pm
Messenger wrote a review...

This is an interesting short story.
At first I really wasn't sure why Cora was faking everything; why would she? It seemed almost as if she just wanted to have good profile around others . . . then Brandon came into the story. That changed everything around. It showed that Cora really was going through so much pain because the deep love she has for her brother. It's a moving story, and I loved it all.
Keep it up!

Thanks so much!

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28 Reviews

Points: 531
Reviews: 28

Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:34 pm
PeaceLuvPoems wrote a review...


I really loved this! Like, a lot. It was just so loving and filled with emotion. I loved how you SHOWED how much Cora loves her brother and not just: Cora loved him because she was his brother. (people do that) Sorry that I dont have much more to say... I'm horrible at feedback... I wish I could give you better feedback. Agh.

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Points: 345
Reviews: 30

Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:02 am
buddy886551 wrote a review...

AWHHHHHH! So cute and yet sad. I really liked it because it could happen. It is filled with feelings. An emotion that pierces everyone's heart. Its a feeling that one rarely feels. An emotion of mixed feelings of love and sadness. It is a great story and hope to read more of your stuff! Hope you keep writing!


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101 Reviews

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Reviews: 101

Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:09 pm
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MysteryMe wrote a review...

Wow, this is amazing! It's short and sweet, woven with just the right amount of emotion and beauty. At the beginning of this piece, the reader thinks that Cora tries to be perfect for herself, but as you finish you realize that she's really doing it for her brother. The relationship and love between them truly is mind-blowing. Also, your vocab was great and I found little grammatical errors.

In the first sentence, "Holding the assignment in her lap, Cora tried to shake the head ache off," headache is one word, but besides that everything is perfect.

My favorite line was "Her brother always said what he felt, and he didn't tell Cora she was pretty because he felt obligated or had some ulterior motive, he really thought she was." So sweet :)

Great work! Keep writing!!!!

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41 Reviews

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Reviews: 41

Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:46 pm
thewriterinside wrote a review...

Hey there! Rosie here for a review! I’m going to take this line by line, so I’ll give you my thoughts and suggestions as I go. Keep in mind that all my critiques are simply suggestions and that what you do with your story is your decision. Now, onward!

Holding the assignment in her lap, Cora tried to shake the head ache off.

Headache is one word.

She hated everything she did the more she had to do it.

This sentence sounds a little bit rough. Try reading it out loud and changing it around so the flow feels better.

…but mostly the God awful smile she plastered on her face until it drained the energy out of her.

I really like this sentence! It’s the perfect balance between show and tell, and seems to capture her hatred perfectly.

Wow! I really loved the description in the last two paragraphs! The way that you showed us the love between brother and sister was very honest, and very sweet. Great job!

Overall, I think this is a really good piece! The pressure people feel to portray perfection is very real, and you portrayed it perfectly.

Keep writing!

Thanks Rosie! :D

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46 Reviews

Points: 1396
Reviews: 46

Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:00 pm
Xreigon wrote a review...

Woah. This one strikes a more personal note with me--I have a brother with special needs.

Anyway, the idea of this piece is a good one and the end is good. However, the beginning felt a bit ramble-y. You repeated the same idea multiple times and I think that you did not need to. I get that she feels that she had to be move forward. You could make this longer and flesh out the story more. How does she strive to be perfect? What has her family life been like? Is there any way to fix it all?

This is just a snippet of what you could flesh this out into. I encourage you to keep writing on it!


Thanks for the review!

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78 Reviews

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Reviews: 78

Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:40 pm
pinkangel54123 wrote a review...

Hi friend! You already know how my reviews work, so here I go. I could be grammar picky but I don't think I will though, so that's a new thing.

... anything, yet still she persisted

The 'yet still' part feels a touch redundant.

Frequently, she had to remind herself that it was all for them.

You might want to preface this part with an antecedent for 'them.' Because it's kinda like wait...what? Did I miss something?

his enthused eyes widening as he grinned at her.

That seems like a weird descriptor for eyes.

Well, I liked it! I think it'd be even better if you wrote more and developed it a bit more. Like it would be a great short story if you spent a touch more time writing it.
(Are you surprised that this wasn't a mean review?) But seriously I did like it, and I especially enjoyed the beginning part about perfection too.

Goodbye friend.

Of course you enjoyed that part...
No I'm not surprised it wasn't mean!
But I still want you to always be honest...

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347 Reviews

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Reviews: 347

Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:07 pm
OliveDreams wrote a review...

Hi ChangeTheWorld! You're doing so amazingly well for your first review day so I'm here to offer my thoughts on the piece of work that you posted in the forum! :)

I will review as I read so that it makes a little more sense to both you and me! I tend to ramble otherwise. (See- I'm already doing it!)

Here goes!

I want to start by saying that I already love your characters name! Don't think I've read any other work on YWS with this name. I'm really picky about character names and original is always a good thing.

“She hated what she wore, how she talked, her hair length, but mostly the God awful smile she plastered on her face until it drained the energy out of her.” - I hate it when people are so hard on themselves :( But you've very cleverly created a character that so many people can immediately relate to! It's always fun to root for a character that you like! :)

“Yet it all felt so numbingly routine.” - This sentence didn't flow right for me. Maybe you could change numbingly to mind-numbingly? Up to you of course.

You've already created a sweet relationship between Cora and her brother! You should definitely write more of this!

Good luck and message me if you decide to do so!


Olive <3

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47 Reviews

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Reviews: 47

Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:16 am
SlushySlapped wrote a review...


I'm going to start off a suggestion:

I think that the anymore in this sentence makes it a bit awkward. I think it might sound better if it was emitted.

She wanted to fade away, to just sink and sink until it didn’t matter anymore if she was or if she wasn’t, because no one would see her anyway.

And that's it.

I liked this. There's a lot of people out there that strive for perfection, who secretly hate it. Like I told you, Cora kind of reminded me of Nora. Haha. Their names rhyme. Anyway, their views on perfection are the same, yet entirely different.

I love how she views her brother as perfect. It's beautiful. The average person really wouldn't look at him and think such a thing. I'm a care giver for a girl who is disabled in a way similar to Brandon. So, I know first hand perfection is not what people think when they see her. And that makes me love this:

He was perfect. Why couldn’t they see that?

I also agree with what everyone has said in expanding this. Especially where Brandon comes in. Good job on this!

Keep writing!


Thanks so much, I wasn't going to but now I think I will write more

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Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:26 pm
ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Hey Ange!

Shady here with a review, as requested. c:

It seems that the other reviewers already have you covered pretty well, so I'll just drop you a few quick lines.

I like Cora. She's a good protagonist, and you've got a good story here. I like how you start it out-- a frustrated, hopeless kid who's tired of trying. I think nearly everyone can relate to that. I certainly can.

I also like how you made her so concerned about her brother. I am sooooo very sick of immature, self-centered girls who pity themselves because the two more attractive boys in her school want to date her, and she just can't figure out who she wants. xP Bleck. So this was really, really refreshing. Seeing a girl who is doing more than she should have to, to protect her brother. It's really sweet, and I'd like to read more on it. Do you plan to continue this?

Hope this helped.

If you have any questions or need any more help, don't hesitate to ask!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)

I didn't plan on it, but everyone seems to think I should. Thanks so much!

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Points: 539
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Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:42 pm
Cheddartot wrote a review...

Your first post and my first review. Here goes.

After reading this I can't tell if I should feel really sad or if I should feel inspired, and that's awesome. Like everyone else has been saying, you know how to make me feel emotions. The mix of how bad Cora feels along with her admiration for someone who would usually be seen as lesser is a great setup for the kind of message I feel you were trying to convey, and I'd wager that you conveyed it quite nicely.

(I was hoping I could try out that "Review sandwich" thing, but I really couldn't pick out much I didn't like about this. Keep at it!)

Aw thank you so much! That's so sweet!

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532 Reviews

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Reviews: 532

Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:03 am
ArcticMonkey wrote a review...

Hey, Change! Here to review your story.

What I really liked about this was that rather than a story, it seemed more like a message was trying to be sent across- I'm not sure if that's what you were going for but that's what it seemed to me. I think this because you've used some very emotive language and it's really translated (not sure if that's the right word, but hopefully you get what I mean) to the readers, and it really makes them feel something. Another thing which I thought was good is you've taken this cliche sort of idea, because I know a lot of people in real life and stories who go through this, however the reasoning behind your MC having to do this is something different.

I'm not really sure where to give you suggestions because I'm finding it hard to think of any with the actual piece. I guess something, which has been mentioned slightly already, is that I think this would really benefit from being longer, and maybe turned into a longer story with several different parts. This is for various different reasons- I mean right now I don't feel THAT sorry for her- I'm not a horrible person xD- it's just there's not much I've read, but I'm sure if I learnt more about her home life and her relationship with her brother then maybe I'd feel more. Obviously it would take time to think of a plot, but right now you've got the foundations for what could be a really good story, and the two characters introduced here are looking strong, so it's something to think about!

Another thing is that 'perfect' is different for everyone, and really there's no such thing as being perfect (that's what I think anyways). I'm sure everyone has their different opinions of what being perfect actually means- and here it does to. You say the brother is perfect and then talk about why he's perfect. This part is my favourite but however it's a bit short, and because being 'perfect' is the main theme of all this I'd love to see this part a bit longer, because it's really true all you're saying so maybe add a bit to that and really talk about what you, or the MC, feels is 'perfect'.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and I love the originality. I think this would work really well though as maybe a longer story with a deeper plot because it just hangs in the air a bit right now- but even then you've used some great emotive language to bring it all together again. I hope this review helped, feel free to PM me with any questions you have or if you'd like another review on anything.

Keep writing!
~ArcticMonkey x

Thank you so much for the review! I was trying to convey a message yes, it sort of started more as that and the characters developed afterwards. I definitely agree about subjective views of perfect, I actually thought I was maybe using too many examples, but thanks for saying I could include more about the brother because that's definitely not something hard to do.

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158 Reviews

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Reviews: 158

Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:58 am
Veeren says...

Aw, now this is a great short story.
I usually nitpick a bunch of grammatical details and such, but you don't need that. The story was wonderfully written and beautifully told.
You capture the point of view perfectly and manage to give the reader a connection to all of the characters introduced in such a short amount of time. Had you wanted to expand this, whether it be a novella or a series, you'd make it easy for the readers to put themselves into the story. At least I think so ;)
Anyway, this was adorable and awesome and all that good stuff.
I'll just leave this as comment so you can get some real reviews later ;)

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Points: 261
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Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:47 am
eviehoward wrote a review...

You have a lovely grasp of portraying emotion. Faking perfection is so common nowadays, especially with teenage depression increasing. I, personally, fake smile a lot so this short story really meant something to me.

I see no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Maybe here and there you can cut sentence lengths. I remember a particularly long sentence at the beginning of your piece which may benefit from being shortened or a colon/semi-colon being added.

Faking your way through each and every day is so tiring. But to successfully do it, you need a stimulus, your protagonists being her brother. Overall I really love your piece and hope you write some more as you have the potential to become and amazing writer.

Keep writing

Thank you so much, this is literally the nicest thing I could have read as my first review ever :)

There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.
— Christopher Darlington Morley