The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Format: ARC, 256 pages
How I got it: From the publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
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.
The Fine Art of Pretending was one of those books I just knew I had to have as soon as I first heard about it. I love fake relationship stories and friends to MORE stories and it looked like this would have both. While I assumed I would probably be able to predict everything that would happen, it didn’t matter. I don’t care if a book is a bit predictable as long as I connect with the characters and enjoy the story… and as long as my beloved characters get a HEA when it’s all said and done.
I loved Aly. I could relate to Aly. She’s like my spirit animal or something. Without sounding whiny or getting too personal, I’ve always been the best friend. I get along much better with guys than I do girls, so just trust me when I say I understand this gal. I totally get why she wanted to be seen as something other than a pal and the lengths she went to in order to achieve it. Brandon was a sweetheart. I was so afraid he would go to the place I didn’t want him to go in order to prove to himself he didn’t have feelings for Aly. Thankfully, he’s a better guy than that. (Hooray for breaking the stereotypes!)
Aly’s popular, but not overly so. She has a bunch of friends, but few dates and no boyfriend. Her best friend, Brandon, is one of the hottest and most popular guys in school. They’ve known each other forever and they briefly tried to date once, but decided it would be weird. They’re better off as friends. As Brandon learns about Operation Sex Appeal, he reveals to Aly the reason she’s not been getting asked out is because she’s a Commitment and guys their age are looking for a Casual. Aly decides the best way to change that perception is to catch the eye of, and eventually hook up with, the only guy more popular than Brandon – Justin. Brandon agrees to pretend he’s hooking up with Aly to help her snag Justin’s attention and the real fun begins.
Anyone who is paying attention knows that Aly and Brandon are meant to be. Their friends know it. Their families know it. They’re the only two who are too blind to see it. As they spend more time together during Operation Sex Appeal, things get strange between them. At first glance, they’re not behaving that much differently from what they usually do, but when you look closer there’s more touching and even *gasp* a KISS. (It was pretty damn swoony!) As their fake relationship begins to put a strain on their real friendship, you have to sop and wonder if their friendship wills survive this. Will they admit to their attraction? Will they screw everything up for good because they’re afraid to admit what they really want? You’ll have to read it to find out.
The Fine Art of Pretending was a great young adult contemporary. I loved the characters. I got completely sucked into the story from the beginning and couldn’t even think of putting it down until I finished it. There was a whole lot of humor and heart, more than a bit of awkwardness and a lot of feels in this one. If I’m honest, the only thing that keeps me from giving The Fine Art of Pretending five stars is the lack of swoony kissing time. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really sweet and swoony first love kissy moments in the book, but I wanted more. Yes, I’m greedy like that. I wanted a bit more time of Aly and Brandon together. The great news is that this is the first book in a standalone series, so I’m counting on the fact that I’ll see more of these two in the coming books. I can’t wait!
The Fine Art of Pretending is my first ever Rachel Harris book. I know. I’m ashamed. I plan to right this obvious wrong soon. Regardless, I’ll definitely be waiting on her next YA book because this one was nearly everything I could want in a book in this genre!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.