The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #2
Published by Spencer Hill Press on April 5, 2016
One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who's forever owned his heart.
Justin Carter has a secret. He's not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy...and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she'd ever forgive him.
Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she's done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she'll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.
For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate's given him a shot at redemption, he's determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton...well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.
Would it be too ostentatious to go ahead and order everything Rachel Harris has ever written? Goodness gracious me, her books are wonderful! How on this beautiful earth am I just now discovering her writing? I swooned over Brandon and Aly’s friendship turned faux romance turned real romance in The Fine Art of Pretending, but when their story ended, I did have a few questions about the other characters in her book. For instance, Justin Carter. Oh la la, what a guy. I had a crush on him in the first book, a strange yet wonderful thing to happen in a book where he was the guy I secretly wanted to go away. But who says he can’t have love, right? I jumped at the opportunity to get this ARC because I’m a sucker for all things love and romance and squealed with delight when I realized just what and who this story would be about. Not a fan of Rachel Harris yet? Psh, read this book and you will be!
Le sigh. Baseball player with a winning smile and a secret heart of gold—boys in books have ruined me forever, to be completely honest. Justin Carter sneaked his way into my heart when he dated Aly, but he won me over completely when I got inside his head. Obviously since half of the book was told in his point of view, I got to see a completely different side to him. In The Fine Art of Pretending, his family issues and the reason behind his Casual relationships was only briefly discussed. In this book, all of those insecurities, the real reason behind his transient love life, and the beginning and end of a relationship that could have been amazing, is explained. I fell hard for Justin and loved all of his faults, as well as his inherent desire to rise above and be better even when the odds were stacked against him.
Peyton had a likeable spirit. She had an unknown strength that needed to be unearthed by a certain baseball player with an irresistible smile. One of the most important aspects of this novel was the switching back and forth between the second semester of freshmen year and the end of senior year. Without the rotation, so much of what made Peyton uniquely Peyton would have been hidden from the readers. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of new love and two broken hearts trying to find their way back to each other. Peyton’s best moments were during her freshmen year, the times that she still believed in herself and wanted to literally jump back on her horse and start barrel racing again. As a result, I found myself rooting for her to discover the girl that still lived there. Yes, the romance was amazing and I wanted the coveted happily ever after, but I also liked watching a girl who had every reason in the world to give up continue to fight for what she wanted.
Is there going to be more of these characters? Perhaps Carlos? His relationship with Gabi happened in the background of the story, and needless to say, my curiosity is at an all time high to see what happens between them. However, if this is the last we read of this world, I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way than the way that it did. It was difficult to put it down whenever I picked it up, but those last pages will make you drop everything you’re doing and dive in until you’ve reached the last page. Seriously, can I have everything Rachel Harris has ever written on my shelves now?
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