(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on September 30th 2014
Genres: Dating & Sex, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, 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.
Have I mentioned how much I just love love? Well, I do—like, a lot. I’ve had my eye on this book for quite a while, heard about it, and have seen it on Goodreads. Basically, all of the things that make me stop and question whether or not I need another book on my shelf (the answer to that question, in case you were wondering, is usually yes—even if it should be no). Then I went to ApollyCon and saw this beaut, a cover which demands my hopeless romantic self to pause and contemplate, sitting pretty in the makeshift Barnes and Noble that I spent most of my volunteer time in. I’m weak in a bookstore, but I’m really weak when those authors are sitting in the next room—it’s how I ended up with a massive book haul. Anyway, I wanted a book that let me escape. Needless to say, this book did it. I was hooked from the first page and didn’t want to put down this sweet romance.
I remember a thirteen-year-old me, still in those dreaded and awkward years of junior high, hearing from my sex ed/P.E. teacher that boys can separate girls into two groups: the ones they want to marry and the ones they want to date. It sounds a little ridiculous—or at least I told myself that because I think every girl wants to be told she’s pretty every now and then. But someone has written a book about it and called those groups Casuals and Commitments. My seventh grade P.E. teacher would totally agree with you, Rachel Harris, and I agree with you, too!
Alyssa Reed speaks to the girl that doesn’t want to wear heels, that feels comfortable in t-shirts, and likes playing sports. While I am uncoordinated and my physical exertion includes running—hopefully without tripping—and yoga, I totally understand the beauty of a pony tail or a simple braid. Aly had to find her strength and had to navigate the ins and outs of high school, while still trying to figure out who she wanted to become. I loved following her on her journey, getting inside her head, and knowing what she thought about Brandon and watching her fall for him.
It doesn’t get much better than Brandon Taylor. He was the guy best friend, albeit the gorgeous one, that didn’t know what to say when it came to convincing Aly that being a Casual was not the thing for her. Dual perspective is one of my favorite things ever, honestly, and Harris did a marvelous job of separating the two characters. If my eyes accidently skimmed over the heading, I had no trouble figuring out I had went from Aly’s to Brandon’s thoughts. I loved getting inside his head so that I could see a different side to him than the one that everyone thought existed. By the end, I had fallen for him just as hard as Aly had.
I’m trying to contain my pure elation that I have the ARC of the next book sitting on my shelf! I didn’t even realize it was the next book in the series when they handed it to me at the bookstore for being one of the first forty-eight to buy one of her books until I perused Goodreads. Everyone—it’s in Justin’s POV! Like I said, I’m trying to tone down my happiness. You’ll see an interesting side to the guy that Aly created Operation Sex Appeal, her plan to change the t-shirt-wearing Aly into someone that would have a legitimate date to Homecoming, for and understand my excitement.
I have a new favorite contemporary writer! I’m not sure if this is an awesome thing or a frightful thing, considering the state of my bookshelf, at the moment. I’m going to go with awesome and suggest that everyone pick up a Rachel Harris book. Love, romance, and enough sweetness to make your teeth ache, you’ll be wanting more!