Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Received via NetGalley
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.
Rachel Harris is the queen of everything flirty. I'm sure I've said that before, but it deserves to be said again. And this book definitely shows why. It was so cute, flirty, swoony, and probably my favorite Rachel Harris book so far.
Aly is tired of being the just friends with guys. She wants to show everyone that she can be fun and sexy too, so with the help of her friends, launches Operation Sex Appeal. She gets a makeover, a whole new wardrobe, and changes basically everything about herself. For the final stage, she gets her best friend, Brandon, to fake "hookup" with her to make everyone else at school believe it. The end goal? Get Justin, the hottest guy in school to ask her to homecoming.
I love best friend-to-more romances. Not all the time, but if it's done well. And this one was definitely done well. Sure, it might seem predictable, but it was still written so well that it doesn't matter. I love the back story between the two friends and loved their easy going and fun friendship (at least, before the fake dating).
There were definite times when I wanted to slap some sense into Aly, ha. She's so obsessed with making herself over and getting the date with Justin that she seems to ignoring what everyone else is trying to tell her. But where she's coming from is also completely understandable, especially as a high schooler. I'm sure every girl at some point has wanted to make themselves over, completely start new. And Aly actually does. But I also think the lessons she learns by the end, about who she is, and what she actually wants from life were so important and necessary.
And Brandon. Sa-woooon. Might he be one of my favorite book boyfriends yet? Yes, he might very well be. I loved how he was willing to fake it for Aly, but also how he wanted to show her why it was worth it for her to stay a Commitment and not lose herself to be a casual. (Uh, okay, I will say he didn't do a very good job, but still. He tried.) From helping his sister and mom and being the man of the house, to helping coach the girls' volleyball team, to always being there for Aly, he shows us that he's more than just his reputation of being a player. We get to see some deep sides of him, which was great.
And of course, there were the moments when I just wanted to scream at the two of them to stop being so frustrating and just kiss already.
I loved the background characters too. Gabi and Carlos were probably my favorite. But they were definitely written realistically, making it really seem like high schoolers with friends being normal high schoolers. I also loved how the parents were involved and there, not nonexistent.
This was definitely such a great story. You will definitely get invested in the characters and the story. It was fluffy and sweet, and definitely so cute. Rachel Harris wins again.
This review can also be found on