October 10, 2014

Title: The Fine Art of Pretending

Series:  The Fine Art of Pretending

Author:  Rachel Harris

Published:  September 30, 2014, Spencer Hill

Summary: According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

**Note:  This book was provided to the Book Hookup by the publisher via Net Galley but that did not in any way influence this review!!

Ana and Christina will put The Fine Art of Pretending on their TOP shelf!

Ana: 5 stars! What a sweet, wonderful story!  Sometimes it’s just nice to read a book that touches your heart and reminds you of those days when you wanted so badly to have everything, be everything, try everything.

I’m fairly sure that almost everyone can relate to Aly’s need to be someone different, to explore a part of herself that others have not seen, maybe not even herself.  With the help of her friends, who were great, by the way, she turns herself into the “it” girl.  She works to transform herself from girlfriend material to the kind of girl the boys want to have fun with.  And it works.  She gets the attention she’s craving and sets her sights on a certain someone.  Problem is, that’s not the one she’s meant to be with.  Her best friend, Brandon, has always held a piece of her heart and this may just be the chance they both need to figure it all out.

And, on that note, can I just say that I loved Brandon?!  He’s sweet, sexy and swoonworthy.  I love his protectiveness towards Aly and the emotions he battles as he determines what’s right for him.   Their chemistry, both as great friends, and then as more, was fantastic.  The buildup towards the ending and the angst felt by each character throughout the story was very well done.  As a matter of fact, this book took me through many emotions and certainly through some nostalgic memories of days gone by.  Ahhhh…first love…is there anything better?!?

So…do I recommend this book?  Definitely!  It’s fun, has a great dual POV, great characters, wonderful writing and, of course, some delicious romance.  Can’t ask for more than that! Oh, and Ms. Harris, a book about Justin would be very very much appreciated!!!

Christina: 4.5 stars! Yep, if you’re looking for a brief review, then I basically agree with everything Ana stated in her review above. However, if you’re looking for a more detailed account of my thoughts, I can happily provide those, too! Though the friends-to-more trope and a few of the stereotypical high school characters found in this story have been used and abused on more than one account by other authors, Rachel Harris infused this story with the perfect amount of relate-ability, humor, and swoony sweetness that had me sliding through the Kindle pages with a mushy heart. I think the author hit all the high marks with this novel, giving it the perfect amount of angst and love to make this plot absolutely believable.

Told in alternating dual POVs, we really get a sense of both main characters, Aly and Brandon, are and I truly found myself connecting to them and relating to both of their issues and beliefs on life and relationships, whether those be platonic, causally hooking up, or seriously dating. It was definitely entertaining to watch both of the characters morph into the people they became in the end, and both were surrounded and helped through the angstier times by a wonderful group of secondary characters that I  adored as well. (Gabi and Carlos… squee!) There were even a few characters that surprised me.

Rec it? Absolutely! If you love a good friends-to-more story, The Fine Art of Pretending has that in aces. If you’re in the mood for angst or fluff or something real or dramatic, this novel is definitely in your area of interest. If you love good writing, effortless dialogue with realistically portrayed teen characters that inspire thoughts about coming-of-age and spread of message about true self-reflection, then look no further than Harris’s lasted book.

♥ A very special thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley for providing us with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for our honest reviews.


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