Latest Read: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Publication date: Sept. 30, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC at BEA
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 latter and she hates it. So she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, hottie and most notorious player. With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal to shed her tomboy image & get Justin to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, she becomes the “tempting vixen” in 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 something they never expected to want. (Adapted

The good
This book reminded me of a good, romantic comedy. The Fine Art of Pretending will make you laugh, feel good, throws in just the right amount of drama and will make you root for these characters to realize how perfect they are for each other. In other words, it was exactly what I was in the mood for and I enjoyed reading every page of it. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is tired of being the quiet tomboy who is usually friend zoned. With the help of her two best girlfriends, she launches “Operation Sex Appeal” which is all about getting guys to look at her differently. To see her as a girl you can have something casual with. She decides the best way to accomplish this is by getting the biggest player at school, Justin Carter, to be her date to Homecoming. And to convince him that she’s dateable, she enlists her hot guy best friend Brandon Taylor to pretend to be her boyfriend. It’s quite the tangled web but a really fun one!

I think anyone can relate to what Alyssa is going through to a certain extent. Whether you’ve felt overlooked, always relegated to being “the friend” or frustrated with your lack of dating experience. (Or in my case I relate to all three!) I think that’s what made it easy to connect her. But.. I would absolutely not go to her extremes! Still, I enjoyed watching her go through all of it. Partly because it was funny and endearing but also because, “Operation Sex Appeal” lets her learn a lot about who she is and accepting that. I feel like ultimately that was the underlying message behind all her antics — find that balance between who you are and trying new things because you actually want to and not because you feel pressured to. Of course it helps that along the way she has two awesome BFFs to simultaneously support her and be honest with her and she has Brandon.

Brandon is the nice, popular guy but he’s got a little bad boy in him too. He’s so good to Alyssa and I love that their relationship is rooted in friendship. He accepts Alyssa exactly as she is but he’s not exactly immune to her makeover. I know it sounds bad but you know what, I think it’s also pretty realistic. Let’s be honest, teenage boys can be dumb and it does open his eyes a bit. But it’s really the extra time they spend together that changes things. He’s never done relationships before and even though he’s only supposed to be pretending, that line quickly becomes blurred between them. And I loved watching them fumble through this even when I frustratedly wanted to yell at their lack of communication.

(No) reservations
None! The only thing I noticed and it’s definitely not a bad thing, but it did feel a little bit older than YA. Just a teeny tiny bit but it really worked for me.

Do I recommend?
Yes! Especially if you love best friends become more type of stories, this is one to check out.

Happy reading!

1 comment

  1. Ah! THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING sounds so, so good. I'm a sucker for romantic comedies. Even though I think I can guess how this novel plays out, I do think the journey from beginning to end could still potentially be a pretty fun story! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one a lot, and definitely think I'll check it out at some point.


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