The Fine Art of Pretending

The Fine Art of Pretending

3.71 (6,806 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 95 x 202 x 136mm | 328g
  • United States
  • English
  • First Edition
  • 24
  • 1939392284
  • 9781939392282
  • 302,021

About Rachel Harris

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books...and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!
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Rating details

6,806 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 26% (1,772)
4 33% (2,240)
3 30% (2,022)
2 8% (559)
1 3% (213)

Our customer reviews

I started reading this book late last night, which was a really bad idea because I couldn't go to sleep until I'd finished it! I kept thinking, 'I'll put it down after I finish this chapter', but I would "accidentally" start reading the next chapter before I could stop myself and, well, you can't stop reading in the middle of a chapter.. right?! I've been looking forward to this book since I heard about its existence a year(ish) ago and even though the story isn't super new or original, I knew that with Rachel Harris behind the wheel the story was going to be brilliant. I may have been able to guess what was going to happen a lot of the time but because of Rachel's brilliant writing and characters, I didn't even think about it. I was just too wrapped up in the story to care about the predictability of some of the plot. I adored the characters in this book, all of them, because they all had their own voice and were unique which is something of come to expect in Rachel's novels - she really knows how to write amazing characters! The only problem I had with the two main characters was their blindness to each others feelings and the general awkwardness. This is no fault of Rachel Harris's, in fact she should be applauded on writing these characters so well, so realistically, that I could feel the awkwardness emanating from the book. I just wanted to reach into the book and slap some sense into Brandon and Aly! This book was adorable and I don't think I can recommend Rachel Harris's books enough! This book was everything I thought it would be, sweet, fun and full of wonderful characters, a few of the characters even surprised me (in a totally good way). It may be predictable but sometimes it's good knowing what you're getting yourself into and the writing's so enjoyable you'll hardly even notice! If you're a fan of Rachel Harris, romance, and/or great YA fiction I would definitely recommend giving this book a go! 4.5/5show more
by Myra White
The Fine Art of Pretending is another amazing story from one of my favorite authors. I loved everything about this book! The Fine Art of Pretending is the story of Aly Reed, a senior at high school who has always been a tomboy. Aly decides that for her final year of high school she wants to re-invent herself so she can be a part of the popular crowd. To do this she transforms herself from the tomboy to a sexy vixen. But looking the part isn’t enough so she enlists her best friend Brandon to pretend as her boyfriend. Aly’s goal is to catch the eye of the school’s main hottie Justin but her plan takes an unexpected turn. The time she spends with Brandon, holding his hand and kissing, stirs up feelings they both are confused about. And is the “pretend breakup” worth jeopardizing their friendship? You have to read the book to find out!! The Fine Art of Pretending was a trip down memory lane for me. I was Aly in high school! I wasn’t in the popular crowd. I was shy and uncomfortable with being the center of attention. I was able to identify with Aly which is why I loved this story. I didn’t do anything drastic as Aly did but I understand her longing to be noticed and for once to be thought of us a pretty girl and not the tomboy. I relived my high school days through Aly since I wouldn’t have been brave to make the changes she did. The Fine Art of Pretending is more than a high school romance story. Aly and Brandon are going through the growing pains of being a teenager – discovering who they are and being happy with it. There is also the lesson “the grass is always greener on the other side”, which we get to see with the supporting characters Justin and Lauren. The story is predictable but it still had me laughing and crying. This is written in Aly and Brandon point-of-views which was a nice change. Reading the thoughts of both characters allowed me to connect with both of them. Rachel Harris does an amazing job of creating a story readers of all ages can enjoy. The difference with her writing is in the mature tone she expresses. This is a story with young characters but if you take their ages and high school setting away you are left with two people whose fears have been holding them back. The Fine Art of Pretending is about taking chances. Mix in some humor, heart-warming moments and young romance and you have a feel good story that I highly recommend. I can’t wait to read more from Rachel Harris!!show more
by Kathy Arguelles
I was so excited for The Fine Art of Pretending that even though I had an advance copy for a while I waited to read it. Sound crazy? Of course but I knew that I wouldnâ??t want it to end and thatâ??s the truth. I love Rachel Harris and her books and I have to say that this is my favorite of our YA. Iâ??m actually picky when it comes to contemporary reads because they have never been a top genre for me so when I find a book like this that I adore. I really adore it. Wow so Aly is without a doubt is my high school soul sister. I kept thinking, this was my life in high school!! I even did a makeover thing because much like her, even though I was a dancer and fit, I would hide behind baggy clothes. My makeover didnâ??t last, the extra attention creeped me out and I went back to my laid back style. I loved that Aly learns through her own transformation what it means to really be yourself and that the people who really matter to you are going to love you no matter what. I loved Brandon. I liked how casual he was and I donâ??t mean in the â??casualsâ?? kind of way. Heâ??s just that awesome guy thatâ??s protective of Aly but also completely clueless in some departments. I see why he is scared of a long term relationship and I like how he also grows in the book. The characters grow together! I love that. I loved the story, itâ??s one of my favorite plots. Fake relationships lead to real feelings. I also really like how Justin isnâ??t just some random fantasy guy. Heâ??s for starters, friends with Brandon and there is more to him than just good looks and bad attitude. I like that we do get to know a little bit more about him besides the fact that he is the target. Also mean girl Lauren is kind of fun character as well. I love the writing. I just wanted to speed through some things because I was getting so frustrated but at the same time I didnâ??t because I was enjoying the story. I liked the strong representations of family and friendships. It was great to see that both characters had people in their corners. Plus the parents were also there to kind of say, hey you are just a kid itâ??s okay to not know what the heck you are doing. I loved that Kara and Gabi are so different but are such good friends to Aly. That Drew and Carlos have Brandonâ??s back but they also have Justinâ??s. Just a great mix of people. So Iâ??m a definite fan of this book and now that itâ??s over, it makes me a little sad. Of course I have the next one to gear up and get excited for now. Bring on Book 2, The Fine Art of Awesome (okay so itâ??s not going to be called that).show more
by Jen Stasi
THE STORY: So after seeing countless teaser over what feels like the last year I have been so excited to finally read this book. So it goes without saying I had HUGE expectations. And I'm happy to say I was not disappointed! This books is full of everything that makes me adore YA contemporary romances; the sweet innocence of teenage girls, flirty with boys, girly chats�??�?�¢?�??�?�¦about flirting with boys and all the teenage angst and fun! Aly is a sporty girl who's never really cared about make up and wearing trending cloths. But she's tired of being seen and 'one of the guys' and 'just a friend'. She want the boys at her school to start looking at her different, and so begins 'Operation Sex Appeal'. With the help of her two best friends, Aly gives herself a make over. But if she wants school 'hottie', Justin, to ask her to the homecoming, the makeup and new cloths aren't enough. Aly needs to be seen with a boy, to show everyone she's hook up material, and who better to pose as her pretend boyfriend, than her best friend, Brandon (who is very popular with the ladies). Many awkward, sweet, and oh so hilarious situations ensue, and it's not long before her plan starts to work. But, it's only a matter of time before the 'pretend' dating starts to feel a little more real than either of them had expected. THE CHARACTERS: Aly was such a sweet character. She had a sweet naivety to her at times that was so endearing. Her thoughts and insecurities would be relatable for most teenage girls. But it was how she acted around her small group of real friends that I loved. She's more confident in her real personality and not ashamed of it. It was really beautiful to see her slowly embrace that more and more as the book progressed. It's something that a lot of young girls struggle with, so I found it really heartwarming to see. Brandon was a little closed off at first. Yes he's happy and bright and loves to have fun, but you know there is a sadness underneath that bubbly personality. He's had pain in his past, that affects how he approaches life - it's all about having fun in the moment, and not really planning ahead. He's also a very kind and decent guy, who had me swooning all over the place! He's such a yummy little sweetheart!! I must also mention how fabulous it was to see some positive parental figures in this book. Rachel proves that not all YA characters need abusive or absent parents! Aly's mum is happy and supportive and Brandon's mum is a loving and hardworking single mother. There was one conversation that Brandon had with his mum, and the advice she gave him made me well up it was that beautiful. THE ROMANCE: Aly & Brandon have been the closest of friends for years, but Aly has held stronger feelings for him for some time. And it's clear to anyone who sees them together that he feels the same way. But he's fear of to loose her as a friend, or having he's hear broken that's preventing from fully embracing he's feeling towards Aly. These two were so frustrating at times - I can't tell you the number of times I yelled at my book "JUST KISS ALREADY!!". I absolutely adored Aly & Brandon and by the end I was a pile of mush. THE WRITING: Rachel is the queen of swoony boys�??�?�¢?�??�?�¦seriously. She writes boys who are sweet, funny and most importantly, caring. I love that all her characters have a moral conscience, and although they all make mistakes at times, they learn from them and become better people for it. If I had young daughters I would want to read Rachel's books, with heroines to look up to and heroes who know how to respect girls. FINAL WORD: The Fine Art of Pretending has everything you could want from a YA romance; laughs, tears, swoon worthy boys and heartfelt romance! It's impossible not to finish this book without a huge smile of your face! CONTENT: Sexuality: medium / heavy kissing, references to sex, virginity & casual hook-ups Violence: mild / minor fight between two school boys Language: medium / several f words, sh*t etc Drugs & alcohol: mild-medium / underage drinking at partiesshow more
by Amy Logg
I want to thank Spencer Hill Contemporary for providing me with a copy of this book at BEA to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review. It's rare that a cute contemporary that I can relate to comes along. Even more rare that I can remember what it's like to be in high school and feeling all those feelings over and over again. Ms. Harris has managed to pull me right back to my high school days. Pull me right back to all those feelings of awkwardness, those feelings of crushing on someone but trying so hard to deny it. And I have to say I loved every single minute of reliving it. Alyssa, she's a keeper. At least that's what the guys at Fairfield say. She's not one of the girls the guys go for just for a fling. She's the one they go for when they are playing for keeps. But Alyssa doesn't want to be that girl. So she reinvents herself into something else. Because she thinks this will make her happier. So does it? Well, I guess when you read the book you'll see. I will tell you this, Alyssa is strong and funny and sexy and smart. She knows what she wants and goes after it. And Brandon, Aly's best friend. He's this sweet, sexy guys that all the girls want. And most of them get, at least for a night. But Brandon is hiding a secret, which I'm not going to tell you but you'll probably figure out pretty early on in the book! Above all he's a great friend, willing to help Aly try and achieve her goal by putting himself out on the line and pretending to be her boyfriend. I love that he's willing to give up his single status to help her out. But really I love that he wants to protect her. That he's not willing to allow her to change just because she thinks she needs to. Rache's writing is fun and easy to read. I loved her banter between her characters. It really set the tone for each of them and their relationships with Aly and Brandon. Her character development is really on par. Each character has his or her own distinct personality. She makes it easy to like them all, even the ones your not sure you should. And I love that it is written from both Aly and Brandon's points of view. Each of them having a distinct enough voice that I was never confused as to who was talking. This is a delightful tale of finding who you are and what you want. Of realizing that changing yourself doesn't mean it will be for the better. Of realizing that perhaps who you were before is just perfect. Is it a bit predictable, yes. But this was the draw of the story for me. I knew in the end I'd be happy, and I was anxious to turn each page to see how it would come about. The book will have you laughing, crying, anticipating, and biting your nails all at once. Lovers of sweet romantic stories with just the right amount of feels will eat Harris' book right up. I can't wait to see what's in store for book #2! ***I work as a publicist for Spencer Hill Press and this has in no way influenced my opinion***show more
by Brooke
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