Welcome to the blog tour for The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris! I am so excited to share Rachel's "Alyssa" book with you all - me being an "Alyssa" as well, of course. Read my review, and be sure to check out the giveaway!
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Book One of The Fine Art of Pretending series
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
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.
What I Liked:
This book was super cute. I was thrown at first because I didn't realize that this one is set in high school, but that's cool. There are alternating first-person perspectives - for Aly and Brandon. That also threw me, because when Brandon's narrative rolled around, I was like, why is Aly talking about herself in third person?! Silly Alyssa...
This is Rachel's "Alyssa" book, following the story of Alyssa - Aly. Aly is doing a little experiment, in which she changes how she dresses and wears makeup and basically does a 180 in terms of her current look. She wants to catch the males' attention at her school. She doesn't want to be labeled a "commitment" girl, but a "casual" girl. She's been in love with Brandon for like, forever, but she's going after Justin, the school's biggest player. But when she and Brandon pretend to hook up, things change between them, even if they're aren't actually "together"...
Like I said before, this book is super cute. On the surface, it's an adorable read, and I enjoyed the fluffy ride. It's contemporary, it's romance, but it's not NEW ADULT romance, so don't get confused. The chemistry between Brandon and Aly is barely PG-13 - it might even be PG. Or maybe G. Like I was expecting MUCH steamier scenes. But that's okay. Light and fluffy it is.
I totally feel for Aly, because like Aly, I've fallen for my best friend. The difference is, I haven't known him for years on end, and I'm pretty sure I feel much deeper for this guy than Aly feels for Brandon. But I totally feel for her. She does all of this crazy stuff to get males' attentions in general, and I understand that. It's like, do they not notice?! I haven't done anything as drastic as Aly... should I? Ha!
Rachel totally had me going, especially after the "break-up" between Aly and Brandon. Aly actually achieves her goal - Justin asks her out. But Aly finds that she isn't really happy with Justin. I was so worried that Aly would fall in love with Justin and things would just be so weird. But Aly doesn't like Justin like that.
So I'm happy with how the romance - and the end of the book - turned out. This book is heavily romance-driven, so the romance was really all there was to it. This book is so short, so you'd read it in no time. I liked it! On a surface level. Like, a fun read.
What I Did Not Like:
A couple of complaints/negatives. One - why is this book being pegged as "New Adult"? I'm not sure if this is the author's doing or the publisher's doing or the media's doing or a combination of any of those. But it's wrong. This book is set in HIGH SCHOOL, senior year to be exact. There is not explicit content, no mature themes, nothing of the sort. They're in HIGH SCHOOL. Nothing traumatic or life-changing appears in this book. Everything that makes New Adult "New Adult"... isn't in this book. This is a very Young Adult book.
This book is sooooo romance-driven, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I wanted more from the story, the characters, overarching plot. I honestly didn't think Aly changed that much from beginning to end, and neither did Brandon. This book had a very 2-D quality, honestly. There wasn't much depth, and the romance was everything. Which could be a good thing, but I definitely wanted more depth to the story.
Would I Recommend It:
This is tricky. It's a fun, light read, but it's definitely nothing unique or spectacular or deep or amazing. Like, the story isn't all that AWESOME, you know? So, yes, I would recommend it if you like fluffy reads. But if you're like me, then meh, you don't have to read this one. Your life won't be empty without reading this one. I love Rachel, so I knew I would read this one at some point. If it wasn't for her, then meh.
3.5 stars -> rounded up to four stars. It was pretty good! 3.5 stars though.
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About the Author:
Award-winning and Bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls next door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books...and kissing. Lots of kissing.
An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romance, and LOVES talking with readers.