Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
About: 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.
My Thoughts: Cute, fun, and sweet. That was my first response upon finishing. My other thought? Brandon is so book boyfriend material. He might, just might, be the top contender this year.
So, I’ll be honest. The premise of this book, especially as I was reading, bothers me. It speaks to the innocence of teen girls, that they’d name a makeover project Operation Sex Appeal and want to be on the Casuals (as opposed to Commitments) list. As an adult well past her teen years, when Brandon told her about the lists and which one she was on … he tried to tell her it was a good thing to be a Commitment. And he’s so right. It implies some respect, and that the girls on that list are more than a conquest. But what she sees is that no one will date her because she’s not an easy target. What I see is that the Casuals are the love-‘em-and-leave-‘em type. A conquest to be discarded once the objective has been obtained: you know, sex. Why any girl, teenager or not, would want that status is beyond me. Because of my issue with the whole idea of what this book is based on, I really didn’t want to like it. But ..
Despite my misgivings about the whole premise, the book was a great read. As I mentioned above, it’s cute, fun, and sweet. Despite his fear of commitment (which is explained), Brandon is a swoon-worthy guy. Despite his reputation, it’s clear to see there’s a sweet guy with a good heart.
Yes, the story was pretty par for the course for this type of tale: Boy and girl pretend to date. In doing so they discover their true feelings for each other. Both are afraid of ruining the friendship (or afraid of commitment in general), and try to get things back to the way they were — only to discover how futile that is. Everyone around them can see that they’re nuts for each other, and they’re the only ones who can’t see it. On down to the smile-on-your-face, warm-fuzzy ending. But, it was fun. The characters are great. Aly, despite her obvious immaturity and naiveté, is a sweet girl with a good heart. And perfect with Brandon.
If you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, as well as other similar stories, then this is a must-read. I will definitely be reading subsequent books in the series.
]Source: Received through Around the World Tours for review.
Read It: The Fine Art of Pretending is scheduled for release around September 30, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository. (These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)
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