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 chatsÃ???Ã??Ã?Â¢?Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¦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.
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.
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.
Rachel is the queen of swoony boysÃ???Ã??Ã?Â¢?Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¦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.
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!
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