YA Book Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

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From Barnes and Noble:

“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.”

Review:

This book has gotten a LOT of attention, and most people have had great things to say about it. While I definitely enjoyed it, I didn’t love it.

Let’s start with the plot line. Is it a little ridiculous? Sure. But if you take the plot for what it is and just have fun with it, you’ll enjoy the story line. The story is also told from the perspectives of both Aly and Brandon, which I liked.

My main critique comes from the characters. I like Aly–she’s sweet and insecure and definitely relatable. I really like that she took responsibility for her actions and how she starts handling her crazy situation towards the end. However, I just didn’t love her. I honestly can’t give a reason why, because there was nothing really “wrong” with her. As for her friends, I really liked Gabi. She was awesome and every time Gabi was in a scene, I found myself enjoying her character.

Now the boy. Brandon is a great guy who respects girls (super important to me) and really cares about Aly. However, his reasoning for not wanting a relationship didn’t really make sense to me. At times it felt like the book was just drawn out–about 3/4 of the way through you’re seriously wondering why the hell they can’t be together already.

I want to add that one thing that really made me like this book was how Harris portrayed Justin. I like that he wasn’t one-dimensional, especially considering his role in the book.

The overall message of the book is a good one about being true to yourself. Yes, we’ve all heard it before but it never hurts to be reminded. Aly is a brave character who learns a lot about herself through this crazy idea, and I think she does leave us feeling some warm feelings about embracing who we are.

In a few words: It’s a cute, fun read. At times, the characters can get frustrating, but it still manages to be very addictive and has a lovely message.

Rating: 4/5 

If you liked this, check out On the Fence by Kasie West and Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik.

Happy Reading!

Neha 🙂

Picture from goodreads.com

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