Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

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.
My excitement to read this book came from the fact that it combines two of my favorite tropes: best friends becoming something more and pretend relationships becoming real relationships.

In The Fine Art of Pretending, Ashley has spent the first three years of high school as a bit of a tomboy and the kind of girl that you date long-term rather than just hook up with. She gets it into her head, however, that maybe becoming the hook-up kind of girl would mean that she finally gets guys to notice her and think of her as someone worth dating. After getting a makeover from her friends, she enlists her best friend Brandon to be her pretend boyfriend. Guys do end up noticing her, but as time goes by, her relationship with Brandon becomes more and more complicated.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't the deepest or most thought-provoking YA book I've read, but it was certainly a lot of fun and it definitely delivered in terms of romance.

There have been plenty of books, movies, etc., that feature best friends falling in love with each other. There have also been plenty of books, movies, etc. that have characters pretending to be in a relationship only for them to actually develop feelings for each other. Despite the many permutations of these tropes I've seen, this book still manages to be sweet and entertaining. The fact that this is the kind of book with an ending you've probably predicted before you even started doesn't take away from the story itself.

The story alternates between Aly's and Brandon's points-of-view. This allows us to see the thoughts of both characters and helps us know what they're thinking and fuels the urge to cheer them on.

While I found Aly irritating at first due to her insistence that dressing risque and hooking up will result in a better life experience for her, eventually I warmed up to her and started sympathizing with her. Brandon, on the other hand, was a sweet guy whom I liked from the get-go. He gets jealous several times and pretty protective/possessive, but personally, as long as he isn't the "don't-be-friends-with-him-anymore"-type, aka the controlling type, it's actually pretty cute.

I also liked Aly's friend Gabi and Brandon's friend Carlos. Those two are great together but didn't get as much page time as I'd hoped. If the author decides to write a sequel featuring Gabi and Carlos, I would definitely read it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Spencer Hill Contemporary for the e-ARC.


  1. The chemistry between Aly and Brandon is practically palpable.
  2. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
  3. The author managed to turn possibly cliche moments into something that felt genuine.


  1. Aly's quest isn't really a good plan. 

Say all you want about guys, but I've learned the way to a girl's heart is through her stomach. Especially when French fries or chocolate are involved.

  1. You like stories where best friends become more than friends.
  2. You like stories wherein the main characters in a pretend relationship actually fall in love.
  3. You have feelings for your best friend. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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