I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Published by Spencer Hill on 09/30/2014
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance, Young Adult
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 can never get enough of adorable, light, young adult romances. I just love them so much. So I definitely made sure to get my hands on The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris while I was at BEA in May. I mean, doesn’t that cover just scream “adorable, light, young adult romance”? The Fine Art of Pretending is absolutely what it looks like, however I wanted a bit more from it.
The whole premise behind the story is that Aly, who learns that guys don’t pay much attention to her romantically because they think of her as a Commitment as opposed to a Casual, decides to change up her wardrobe and her reputation so that guys will pay attention to her. She learns that guys think of her as a Commitment from one of her best friends, Brandon, who is super popular and only interested in Casuals.
Aly is a very nice girl. She’s the girl-next-door type who is more of a tomboy and kicks butt on the volleyball court (field? Turf? Sand?). She’s normally the type of character I would relate to really easily, but I struggled here. I thought she was a bit obtuse, making these crazy decisions just because she’s never had a real date to Homecoming. I mean, I could understand why she might want to make small changes, but after hearing that guys don’t ask her out because they think of her as a commitment, her immediate decision to become a casual. The whole commitment/casual thing aside (more on this later), that’s a pretty big leap to just decide to do whatever she has to to get guys’ attention. Even so, I did really like Aly, and I wanted things to go well for her. I could empathize with her wanting a boyfriend to go to Homecoming with instead of just a guy friend.
Brandon was a bit more interesting than Aly, but I thought his reasoning on why he didn’t want to be with a commitment girl was pretty far fetched for anyone, especially for a teen boy. However, I liked how Brandon did seem like a nice guy, even though he could have easily been portrayed as a jerk, and he really does want Aly happy.
The secondary characters are not particularly stand-out worthy. And some of the conversations that the guys had towards the end of the book were very unrealistic. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of guys talking like that.
As for the Commitment/Casual categories for the girls in the school – I just didn’t buy it. Not that all the guys, or at least the majority of the guys would think that way. And besides, the casual relationships didn’t really seem all that different from the committment relationships.
Clearly I had some frustrations with The Fine Art of Pretending, but there were also adorableness here, too. It was cute, seeing Brandon and Aly pretending to be together, especially when they went on their pretend date. And really, The Fine Art of Pretending is not a huge time commitment, and it’s also a great palate cleanser. So if you are in the market for a cute young adult romance, you can’t go wrong with The Fine Art of Pretending.