Sunday, October 12, 2014

ARC Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

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.


** I received a copy, as part of the blog tour, in exchange for an honest review**

Initial Thoughts: The Fine Art of Pretending was a really cute friends-to-lovers book with really good development of the plot and all the characters, even the secondary characters, which made the book that more fun to read. There were moments of predictability and some parts where I felt it was a little slow. Though some of that may have to do with me just wanting the main characters to just get together already!

The Characters: Aly was very easy character to connect to. She had always been the tomboy, sportsy, sweet, caring, go-to friend for everyone but she got tired of never being noticed. Which lead to her starting Operation Sex Appeal with her two best friends to try to get people to notice her. Which it most definitely did.

Brandon is such a great guy. I loved him throughout the whole book. He was sweet, kind, outgoing, caring, hardworking, loved his sister and mom...I mean what's not to like about him? Okay maybe besides the fact that he's a little slow at admitting his feelings, but hey! they can't all be perfect. Also, his and Aly's relationship while they were still friends was really neat to read because they worked really well together and even as friends I could tell they were just meant to be with each other.

The Story: Aly starts Operation Sex Appeal off by letting her friends help her get a new clothes. What better way to get people to notice you than completely changing how you look? Aly's thoughts exactly. When Brandon first sees her, he definitely sees her. And when Aly explains why she's doing what she's doing, Brandon tries to tell her that there is nothing wrong with how she is. He tells her that back at the beginning of high school, the boys put girls into two groups: casuals and commitments. Aly is a commitment and Brandon says that that's a good thing, a great thing actually. But she took it to mean that if no one was willing to put in the effort to date and commit to her, then something must be wrong with her...which only instilled into her that the operation thing was the way to go.

But Aly soon realizes that for people to believe her change in life, she's going to need to be a better actor. *Cue pretend boyfriend* Aly asks Brandon to be her pretend boyfriend, even though she thought the idea was crazy and that he would never accept. But he does and that decision literally changes both their lives.

The whole operation turned out completely different though, in the end, than Aly ever thought it would. And even though it was different, it was good.

"I'm me, and that's okay. Actually, it's more than okay. It's pretty freaking fabulous."

The book was in dual point of view and oh my goodness, I loved it! It worked so well and gave the story a lot of depth and characterization that would have otherwise been missing. And honestly, I looked forward to Brandon's pov *slightly* more than Aly's. It was just so good!

The Romance: Aly had actually previously liked Brandon, told him, and got shut down. Now with the dual pov, you get to see into Brandon's life and why he was so reluctant to go beyond being friends with Aly. His dad had actually died from cancer and it had hurt his mom so much and caused her so much pain, he didn't want to ever have to go through that again, and if that meant no relationships for him, then so be it. But it's hard to stop both of their feelings especially when pretending turned into reality. Again, their relationship was really sweet and through the both their povs, it was easy to see how each of them was feeling and when and this really strengthened their relationship as well as the reader's understanding! I totally ship them. Like I said though, Brandon's a little slow at the whole admitting feelings part...sigh...

End Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book as I have with all of Rachel Harris' other books. The Fine Art of Pretending is a great example of good contemporary yand would be great for anyone who enjoys that. I sure did and still think about it all the time4.5 stars!

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