The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

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Let’s be honest.
When it comes to YA novels that fall in the romantic and rom-com categories, they are either a hit or a miss. Most of them have a similar premise, stock characters, and the happily ever after teens expect. I can’t say I didn’t fall prey to the sappy love stories I read in my teen years, pining for my own high-school-prince-charming to dramatically sweep me off my feet. My senior year would force me to reinvent myself, I would try to persuade the hottest guy to  date me, after a makeover montage I’d realize the guy I’m meant to be with was there all along as my friend, and then we finish our love story at prom! No one knows what will happen to our relationship after graduation, but we’re optimistic.

Sound familiar? It should. And I’m sorry to say that this book is no exception.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly cute if that’s the type of book you’re looking for… but don’t expect any surprises.

I did enjoy the fact that it was told from both Brandon and Aly’s perspectives. It gave the reader the chance to get into both of their heads as they fought through their feelings. I would have thrown this book against the wall on various occasions if 1) I didn’t have a conscious and thought disrespecting novels like that was acceptable behaviour for a Book Baby, and 2) I read the ebook, so throwing phone was also a ridiculous notion. Why was I so frustrated? Well, both characters decided to jump to conclusions about the others feelings instead of just talking to eachother. It got frustrating to read about all of their drama and mishaps that occurred after they ended their fake relationship, because clearly they weren’t going back to being friends.
I also rolled my eyes at the fact that they both had hidden talents. One is an artist, the other can sing. These secrets were of course revealed in senior year, and all to the benefit of the story.

I don’t mean to rag on this story, because it did have some cute moments. For example, it was really sweet to see how much Brandon cared for Aly’s well being without even realizing he was being so dedicated. He supported her in all that she did, cheering her on or playing along to keep her safe. Aly chalked this up to be a ‘big brother’s love’, buy it was more than that.

But the absolute best part of this book was the character Justin. I’m always a sucker for characters who do a complete 180 in the story, but there’s no explanation as to why. They end up being the most interesting and complex characters because they have something deeper than a singing voice or talent for drawing to hide. Justin starts as the player Aly wants to change her reputation, but after she gets him we realize he might be more of a one woman kind of guy. He seriously starts falling for her, and she just used him to make Brandon jealous. I want to know why Justin acts like a womanizer when all he wants is to find someone to connect with.
LUCKILY, I discovered Rachel Harris wrote another novel called The Natural History of Us which revolves around Justin. All my questions will be answered!

So please give this book a read if you’re into YA romance novels. It won’t disappoint if you expect exactly what you’re going to get. It was a decent couple of hours for me to kill time. I enjoyed it just enough to want to read the spin off, so that certainly does it credit!

Be you tween, teen or whatever you may be, please enjoy this novel, Book Babies!

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