Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review: The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris

Book Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Published Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book one in The Fine Art of Pretending series.
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Spencer Hill Contemporary via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Okay, so by now you guys should know that I generally don't do light and fluffy. Light and fluffy normally bores me and I usually need depth to really enjoy the story. However, I had seen this cover awhile back and I fell in love with the cover. So when I saw it up on NetGalley, I decided to give it a shot, hoping desperately that I wouldn't be disappointed.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. One of the biggest predictors of whether or not I'll like a book is how the character development is. If it's strong and I see a great character arc with tons of growth and I know what makes these characters tick, I'll like the book. Unfortunately, with this book, the lackuster character development, particularly for Aly, was what ruined the book for me.

I think Gabi had the right idea here. She was the only sensible girl who insisted on questioning Aly's reasons for doing it. Gabi knew that changing your whole look just so guys will see you in a different light was insane. Yet Aly had been so sick of watching the boys pass her over for some other hottie, that Gabi's words didn't sink in like they should have.

Look, I'm not hating on Aly. Really, I'm not. I remember how it felt in high school to have all the boys see you as just a friend. It was incredibly hard and it does do a number on your self esteem when you see all the hot girls having dates constantly and no guy will even look your way. It sucks. I think it was just hard for me to relate to her as I would have never changed myself for a guy. When I was in high school (10+ years ago) I was definitely a tomboy and boys generally didn't look my way. Was it hard? Yes, of course it was, but it never occurred to me to change myself just so boys would like me.

I never really felt "it" between Aly and Brandon. They didn't sizzle off my Kindle like I was hoping they would. In romance books, chemistry is key and I just never felt like Aly and Brandon really had chemistry. I did like the tension between them, but I definitely felt like the chemistry was lacking between the two of them. Now friendship chemistry was absolutely there and I felt like they would have made better friends than romantic partners.

All in all, this book wasn't bad, but it wasn't one I enjoyed either. I'm pretty indifferent to it actually, which really bums me out. The lackluster character development and the romantic chemistry were both major disappointments to me. For these reasons, I have to give the book 3 stars. I would recommend this book to a younger reader. I think the tone of this book is for a younger reader. I was never able to connect with it.

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