The Art of Lainey

The Art of Lainey

by Paula Stokes


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Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, and Susane Colasanti, The Art of Lainey tells the story of how, with the help of The Art of War, Lainey plots the perfect plan to get her boyfriend back. But is getting him back really what she wants?

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warnings, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that's when Lainey and Bianca stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, the girls are sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey's arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous.

After a few "dates," it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. Can fighting for what she wants help Lainey figure out what she really needs?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062238429
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/20/2014
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 817,255
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Paula Stokes is the author of Hidden Pieces; This Is How It Happened; Girl Against the Universe; Liars, Inc.; and The Art of Lainey. Paula lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at or on Twitter and Instagram @pstokesbooks.

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The Art of Lainey 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Lainey wants to get her ex back, so she has Micah her co worker help, who also wants to get his ex back as well. Where to start? At first I wasn't sure about Lainey's character. But I started to like her when she was going through her character development. I also liked that the other characters called out on her when she needed it. Kind of like the characters, Micah, Bianca, etc. There was moments where I was thinking this book is okay and the more I read the more I was kind of liking the book and more and wanted to know more about the characters. The pacing was alright and again, I found myself liking some of the characters. I read a lot of YA but this one I found it was more about what Lainey was going through, along with her friends. It seemed more about the friendship than the romances at times. Overall I liked this one. And the cover.
Novel_Fanatic More than 1 year ago
The only other book I've read prior to The Art of Lainey was Paula Stokes/Fiona Paul's other YA series Venom. I've only read the first one so far, but I loved it. After seeing all the awesome remarks about The Art of Lainey, I had pretty high expectations for it, and I am glad to tell you that they were indeed met! The Plot: After Lainey's boyfriend breaks up with her out of nowhere, Lainey and her best friend, Bianca, devise a plan to win him back with the help of General War Master, Sun Tzu. After reading and thoroughly studying the words of the thousand year old strategist, Lainey feels ready to attack her opponent. However, the first part of her plan doesn't go as smoothly as she hoped when she finds Jason in a lip lock with one of his coworkers. Bianca decides that the best way to throw Jason off guard is for Lainey to date someone else. After confronting a coworker at the Cafe, Lainey persuades Micah to go on fake dates with her. She tells him that if he helps her, she'll help him get back his ex-girlfriend, Amber too. It's a win-win situation for the both of them. Except things don't go exactly as they were planned. After some failed attempts, things are looking a little hopeless for Lainey, until Jason reaches out and apologizes, asking her if they can meet up sometime. Lainey is overjoyed that things might be looking up for her except for the small fact that her relationship with Micah is starting to feel real. Torn between someone completely opposite from her but understanding and her "perfect" boyfriend who she always thought she would marry, Lainey is forced to take a stand while discovering who she really is. Let me say that there is no love triangle in this novel at all. I repeat no love triangle, so don't be worried! Also, if you're afraid that this will be cliché, I can assure you right now that it is not. In fact, this is probably one of the most unique novels I've read this year. I love how Paula Stokes incorporated The Art of War into the plot and how she took the rules and transformed them into a modern day "battle" plan. I have never read The Art of War before either, but the way Paula wrote it is easy to follow for those who are not familiar with it. The characters: When you first meet Lainey, she's not the most like able person. She comes off as slightly snobbish with a holier than thou attitude seen in her first conversation with Micah. However, I easily warmed up to her as she developed throughout the story. As she and Micah became closer, Lainey underwent some self discovery as to who she really is and who she was pretending be for her friends and boyfriend. I loved how the girl at the end of the novel was such a contrast to the girl we first met, showing how much she truly changed. Micah was probably my favorite character in the entire book. My, was he swoony. I'll just leave it at that or else I'll never stop. Bianca was an awesome best friend. Lainey could always count on her to be there. On the other hand, I didn't like Jason very much or Kendall at all. Although Jason did tried to win Lainey back (very poorly might I add), he could never beat Micah. Also, I extremely disliked Kendall. She only did things for her own gain and was so controlling over Lainey. Let's just say that she was not a good person. Overall, The Art of Lainey was an amazing read with a great plot and fantastic characters. All fans of contemporary YA romance needs to read this!
kozbisa More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed sharing Lainey's trip of self discovery. There were a lot of fun and heartfelt moments as Lainey slowly began to take a serious look at herself and those around her. I admired how much she grew and changed throughout the story. I thought Stokes constructed a great cast of main and secondary characters, with the secondary characters being quite well developed. First love was explored and I often found myself smiling wistfully. Overall - cute, adorable, and fun story.
SarhMack More than 1 year ago
I happened upon this book one day, earlier this year at Barnes and Noble. The premise of a teenage girl using the Art of War to try and win back her ex while pretending to date another guy sounded too good to pass up. Lainey is a character I connected with immediately, even though I am still single, but I understood where she was coming from. Her and her best friend, Bianca formulate a plan to use techniques from the Art of War to win back Lainey's ex, Jason while using Micah, one of their coworkers who is also trying to get his ex back. This book was entertaining from page 1 to page 384. I think the part I loved the most was the dates Lainey and Micah went on to be around their exes, because they were both uncomfortable in the other's usual hangout and it was great. I didn't expect to love it as much as I do and the humor. It's packed with quite a few funny parts, Micah especially. I really loved this book and I cannot wait to read this again. It was fantastic.
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I’d like to thank Harper Teen for sending me a copy of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered or influenced my opinion or review. I’m a sucker for contemporary love stories right now. Especially those of the YA variety. I love to watch young love bloom and grow. I love to watch the mistakes get made then rectified. It’s a great escape from my all too adult life of kids, job and home! I read this book in one car sitting on my way back from vacation. I could not put it down and had to find out if the characters got their happily ever after. Lainey has everything going for her. A great job, a great boyfriend, and a position on the soccer team. She’s got the perfect life until it all comes crashing down. When her boyfriend, Jason, breaks her heart, she’s not quite sure what to do. She thought they were perfect for each other and would always be together. And she certainly didn’t see it coming. Determined to win him back, she and her best friend come up with a plan, using The Art of War as their guide. But Lainey takes it and makes it her own. And, while she has this thought that her life is just not right without Jason, she slowly realizes that she is so much more without him than she ever was with him. She breaks out of her shell and begins to realize that she has her own preferences for things, including a different kind of guy then she ever thought she’d like. Enter Micah. Long ago he and Lainey were friends, until things changed and they weren’t. Gruff, rocker, pierced and mohawked, he’s not Lainey’s typical guy. But if she’s going to try and win Jason back, then she has to pull out all the stops. And Micah agrees, easily, since he has recently gone through his own break-up. I love how different they are from one another, but that they have this one thing in common. And, while they are both quick to judge the other (based on appearance and what they “think” they know), they still formulate a plan to pretend date to win their ex’s back. But, as you would imagine, spending all their time together shows them that perhaps their ex’s weren’t really what they needed in the first place. Gruff Micah is also not what he appears to be on the surface. There is so much more to him than Lainey could ever imagine. He’s sweet and funny and deep down just wants to be accepted for who he is. I love how their relationship grows and blossoms and how Stokes evolves their attraction. For me it was reminiscent of The Breakfast Club’s Claire and John Bender. So much more below the surface of each! Stokes truly has a great way with words. This book made me laugh, made me cry, and made me have those sighing moments that were just perfectly perfect. She injects humor where you wouldn’t think it would be. And she shows Lainey’s torn self with pristine accuracy. Best of all she creates characters that are relatable and easy to connect with. I had no trouble loving them all. Their growth and development is spot on. I love that it takes the entire book for the characters to really understand how they are connected. The story is universal, a theme we have seen over and over again, done with unique originality. Is the story predictable, a bit. But I didn’t mind it. I wanted to know how the story lead to that predictable moment because the characters were intriguing and fun. And it’s done in a way that is not cliché, leaving you happy with the story even though you might predict what will happen from the very start! Lovers of Stephanie Perkin’s Anna and The French Kiss series and Jennifer E Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love will absolutely adore Lainey and her story!
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
The Art of Lainey was a fun and flirty, if predictable, young adult contemporary read. I’m a sucker for a good fake relationship book, especially when the character is as lovable as Micah. I have to be honest and say I didn’t completely love Lainey. She was a bit too whiny for me and the pining away after a guy who was an obvious sleaze ball was a bit bothersome. I mean, she and Jayson might have been together for quite awhile, but the guy was a jerk. I didn’t see one redeeming quality in him. But her coworker Micah? Swoon. I loved that boy. The banter between Lainey and Micah was great and I enjoyed watching their coworker status shift to friendship and then to more as they attempted to use The Art of War to get back their respective exes. Of course, their very obvious chemistry began to affect them and those around them and soon Lainey began questioning what she was doing. I particularly enjoyed the pace of the book and the build of the chemistry and emotions between Lainey and Micah. It felt realistic and it was easy to root for this pair. The friendship in this book was also fantastic. I loved the relationship between Lainey and her best friend, Bee. The dynamic between them reminded me so much of me and my best friend when I was a teenager. I devoured The Art of Lainey in one sitting and found myself with a big, goofy smile on my face in the end. This is a great summer read for anyone who enjoys a good romance, great friendship and is a teenager or can remember those days like I do. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
valercrazy More than 1 year ago
Where to begin….. I am still formulating my thoughts on this book because my emotions went on quite the roller coaster; I started out liking it, then I took a dip and had some mixed feelings, but by the conclusion, I would have to say it was a really enjoyable ride. The only reason that I am having trouble formulating my thoughts is because it is essentially a retelling of Drive Me Crazy, the 90s film that makes me happier than most other movies will ever make me. Maybe I’m just unsure of how I feel about retellings based movies or books that I have a strong connection with. I am accustomed to retellings of stories that I'm familiar with but have no strong love for. Most of the time I really enjoy these retellings; for example, I enjoy Pride and Prejudice but have no strong connection to it and when I read Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance (one of my favorite books) this year, I LOVED IT. I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the original and I just read it for what it was. With The Art of Lainey, I just couldn’t stop comparing it to Drive Me Crazy and it bummed me out, though I did finally put that aside and enjoy it. Now to the story, Lainey’s ex-boyfriend breaks up with her in the first chapter and she is left stunned; her super awesome friend (I really liked her) Bianca comes up with the plan to take The Art of War and apply it to Lainey’s plan to get Jason back. Every chapter started with a quote from The Art of War and I thought that was so fun, each quote was applicable and it got me more acquainted with the book. It was really cute to see how they found the similarities in love and war to help Lainey win back her man. They end up coming up with ten strategies for winning back Jason and they set to work; Bianca, who is completely committed to this, persuades Lainey that she needs to date someone else to make Jason jealous and that's where Micah comes in. Micah and Lainey could not be any more different; Micah was arrested and has an affinity for needles while Lainey spends her time with the popular soccer girls wearing platform sandals and dresses. You know what they say about opposites attracting.... that was not the case for these two; they both made it clear that there was no attraction nor much like for one another which made for one of my favorite storylines as the book progressed. I actually really enjoyed their relationship, Micah is not afraid to put Lainey in her place and Lainey is starts to realize that there is a lot more to Micah than the hard exterior he puts up. These characters are both stubborn and strong which makes for quite a few clashes; I loved seeing how their understanding of one another changes as the story goes on. The theme of this book is identity and finding out who you are; Lainey was defined by her boyfriend and without him, she doesn't know who she is anymore. I loved that Paula talked about this because being a teenager is hard! The act of finding yourself apart from others is terrifying and lonely; Lainey and her emotions are refreshing, she breaks down more than once but she puts herself back together and most importantly, she is growing. It needs to be noted: the side characters in this story are great! They all add to the story and make it well-rounded. Did I like it more than Drive Me Crazy? No, but I did really like it! It was a fun story and I enjoyed following Lainey as she grew and started to find herself.
love2dazzle More than 1 year ago
“The Art of Lainey” by Paul Stokes is such a cute read. I think this book is a must read for everyone. Based off of what I heard from others, I was expecting a light fun read, but I feel like I ended up getting so much more than that. People come in and out of our lives for a specific reason and I feel like “The Art of Lainey” really showed that as a life lesson. We see Lainey as this shallow teenager at first but I think as the story goes on she really grows up and becomes this beloved character.   When Lainey’s best friend gives her a copy of “The Art of War” to read, the girls begin to use this book as a way to lure Lainey’s ex-boyfriend back to her. Lainey begins to figure out her inner warlord woman and recruiting others to help with her cause. When it looks like Lainey’s plan is going to work , she has to decide if she really wants Jason back because it is starting to look like something may happen between her and Micah.  Stokes made it very easy to fall in love with these characters. Lainey is very sweet and loveable. She makes the story very entertaining to the fact that I didn’t want it to end. I enjoyed watching Lainey grow up and I am looking forward to more. I think Bianca is a riot. Bianca convinces Lainey to follow “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Bianca is at times Lainey’s head of reason and at others she is encouraging her to do things that normal people would probably find ridiculous but you never know what goes on in the head of a teenage girl. I personally never liked Jason from the beginning. I thought he was a jerk. Who dumps a girl while she is at work? Like Seriously?! Micha is the best friend and the boy next door that I hope every girl will get to meet someday. I absolutely adore him.  This book is a riot from beginning to end. I absolutely love it. I think it is a fantastic read and everyone should give it a try. I loved this book. I think it is time to do a reread already. Anyone with me?
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
“Knowledge is power. Not sure if I got that from Sun Tzu, but I know he’d be down with the idea.” Lainey thought she had it all: a cute boyfriend with a summer ahead of her, packed with soccer and her besties, until her boyfriend, Jason, breaks up with her. At her parents’ coffee shop no less. (Talk about spineless!) Lainey’s BFF Bianca sets out to help Lainey win back Jason, and in the process the two come up with all kinds of silly ideas, create drama and also some fun, and end up where they never could have imagined. The Art of Lainey was so much fun. The characters were amazing! From Lainey, who was a soccer star, but didn’t much have her own voice and tended to live in the shadow of her friend, to Micah, who was quite unique and impossible not to fall in love with, all the way to Bianca, who was such an amazing friend to Lainey, a great employee to her family, and an all-around fun addition to this story! (But I have to admit, Micah was my favorite character. *swoon*) “Why are you being so nice?” “I guess I’m just a nice guy. Don’t tell anyone, okay? It’ll wreck my rep.” This turned out to be a lot more than I thought it would be. Lainey had quite a bit of growing to do, and it was wonderful to grow right along with her. There were great messages throughout this story about being yourself, not living in others’ shadows, and doing what makes you happy, versus what others think you should do. Many teenagers could really benefit from reading this book. I can definitely see why everyone has been raving around this book. The Art of Lainey was cute, fun, and at times a load of laughs. This is definitely one to read when you’re looking for a light, quick read on a relaxing day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Art of Lainey is the sort of book I wish could read all day, every day. It’s pure fun, light and refreshing, with plenty of positive messages and some wonderful characters and relationships to boot. There is fluff and entertainment, realistic, witty dialogue, and even a nod to an ancient Chinese war guide. I am normally not a fan of the fake-dating premise, and especially not a fan of the winning-back-the-ex storyline, and although The Art of Lainey has both of these things, it had me grinning all the way through to the end. The stars are Lainey and Micah, co-workers at the Mitchell family coffee shop, and two characters that agree to help each other win back their exes using the art of jealousy. The romance here is adorable. It’s total cuteness and swoon, albeit one that develops in a totally frustrating setup. It’s hard not to love Lainey and Micah, but it’s also hard to resist the urge to want to crawl into the book and demand that they forget about their exes and just FOCUS ON EACH OTHER. (And because I know what half of you are thinking right now, don’t worry, there isn’t actually any sort of serious love triangle or square, even though it feels like there might be at times.) I adored Lainey, despite wanting her to open her eyes sooner. Admittedly, at the start, she comes across as slightly dramatic and shallow (and it did take me a short while to get used to her), but her growth is wonderful and authentic, and there is no doubt that she is a brilliant young woman. Micah’s character is absolutely delightful, the sort that makes me wish there were more mohawked punk-rock bakers around. Anyone who picks the House of Torture (And Pancakes) for a first date is a character that has my immediate attention, for sure. I completely loved his bluntness, his sweet moments and his entertaining cocky comments (oh how I laughed at that second best feature remark). I also totally appreciated the role his little sister played in the book, and the bond that she shared with both him and Lainey. On the topic of positive relationships, Bianca, Lainey’s best friend, deserves a paragraph of her own. This girl is a darling, the stuff dreams are made of, and I’m quite tempted to snatch her away and just keep her for myself. It’s been a while since I’ve adored a female friendship so much, and found it to be anything less than certain and encouraging. Lainey and Bee have a great relationship, one that is almost effortlessly easy to understand and invest in. The loyalty and support between these two is completely heart-warming, even though the girls aren’t entirely alike. I loved how Bee was there for Lainey when she needed to be, and managed to always say the right things, without feeling like a superficial sidekick. It reminds how powerful an ordinary friendship can be in a character-driven story, when written well. Ultimately, The Art of Lainey is a brilliant addition to the world of contemporary romance. The premise here could have alienated me from the book entirely, but it didn’t, and instead, Paula Stokes has convinced me of her ability to craft a great story and build fantastic characters. I need to name a shelf ‘hopeful, realistic and utterly fun’ and put this book straight on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Maybe if I'd paid more attention to my mom and her tea leaves, I would have seen it coming. Instead, all I see is Jason, my boyfriend of two and a half years." Oh, THE ART OF LAINEY. I just stood outside in front of my mailbox hugging this book for a long time after I got it. The cover is incredibly familiar to me but just to be able to really see it and hold it was awesome. But getting to the actual words part of it, there is no other way to describe this book that an amazingly pleasantly surprising read. Right from the start, you can list of Lainey's traits. She's dramatic and acts like a total girl even though there is a lot of toughness underneath her makeup and pretty dresses. One thing I didn't like about her at times was her sensitivity or lack of sensitivity about certain things. However, one thing that I loved about Stokes's characters is how real they are. They're blunt and kind and annoying and make me smile. They're just people, in the best way possible. Oh yes, and they're hilarious. "Are you some kind of weird who gets off on girls crying?" I wipe my eyes on the collar of my shirt. THe teal fabric comes away with eye makeup. Micah laughs softly to himself as he slides the binder back onto the shelf. "I hope you don't really think of me that way." Something in his expression stings like lemon juice poured directly on my heart. Pity. I hate pity. In a way, Lainey almost reminds me of Cricket in Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell, which I also loved. Bethany is nothing short of the best and I was talking to her recently about what makes blunt characters appealing. I was wondering because I noticed how one MC I read about I hated, while I loved Cricket--even though they could both be profiled as extremely rude, crass and downright mean at times, especially in the beginning of SHORT BUS. Bethany said something about no matter who your characters are, you have to know them as a writer and portray them--the good and the bad. I think Stokes does an amazing job of this. I smile a goodbye to Micah's mom over my shoulder as he practically drags me out of the apartment. I stare at his mohawk as we head down the steps and out of his building. Individual tufts of his hair lean to the left in the warm breeze. I can't help wondering what his hair feels like. Is it soft? Is it prickly? I could touch it if I wanted to. I mean, he was going to touch my hair before I pulled away. I think about it for a moment, but then decide against it. I wouldn't want to give him the wrong idea. The characters really drove this story, which impressed me, but that isn't all there is to the plot. Stokes drives a great story that was unpredictable and well paced. The romance is also extremely well done, each step of the plot thought out and not rushed at all. no instalove thank god It's really the little things that really impressed me with this book, and a combination of the big things, but there were so many things I was impressed by. One of those things was the themes. I loved the nature snippets, the soccer and baseball bits, the friendship dynamics between Leo and Lainey and Bianca and Lainey, the Art of War excerpts, all of that was great. It really enforced what Stokes said and made her word believable in the story. There were also some great quotes that I loved. I've learned everything I know about soccer from my best girl-friend and soccer animes, so it was nice to see that knowledge come in handy. Even before Micah and Lainey started to see each other in a different way, their friendship was both heartwarming as they turned to each other and their banter was a lot of fun. I would love to be friends with Lainey, Micah and Bee. Plus, I would love to go Mizz Creant's House of Torture (and Pancakes) sometime. Overall, I loved this story. There's a lot of room if Stokes ever wanted to expand on this story, but for right now I'm pretty happy with the ending. My only regret is that I didn't get to see more of Bianca and a few other characters. I'm definitely looking forward to Stokes's next book, Liars, Inc., now that I've gotten a taste of what her writing can be like. And I'm even more psyched to be a part of #TeamLainey. LAINEY is a win read if I ever saw one, and a book that could make me change my mind about contemporary romance. There were so many things I loved here, and I would recommend it for any contemporary fan--or even for those of you who don't usually love it. 4.5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
New favorite! I was unsure about the writing and characters at first (Bee's character felt a bit stilted) but oh my god this got really good really fast! I loved how real and different the characters were from so many other YA books. I loved the premise, which was very clever and expertly woven into the story. I loved Lainey's character arc, which was completely believable. I loved her spacey family. I loved her chemistry and banter with Micah. I LOVED MICAH. Oh my god. He was something else. That soccer field scene!!! I tend to judge contemporary romances on whether it'd be a good romantic comedy movie, and how many swoopy, butterfly feelings I get in my stomach. How much I smile and swoooon. And um yeah, this book had a lot. Plus the ending was so cute and unexpected!! And hot. Highly recommended for fans of sweet contemporary romances with a bit of an edge. (Reviewed by Morgan M.)
Ivygirl702 More than 1 year ago
This book was a lot of fun. I love the idea of using war strategies to win back an ex and Paula executed this plot perfectly. I did have a problem with Lainey in the beginning. She's a bit shallow and sort of an ass, but her growth throughout the book is obvious and I really enjoyed the person she became at the end. Micah. Gah. Don't get me started on him. He's swoony in a completely normal way, if that makes sense. He's blunt and honest and has a mohawk. Oh and he teases in a falsetto and dotes all over his baby sister. Are you swooning yet? This book is completely different from Paula's other books [written as Fiona Paul]. I could *hear* Paula in this book and I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lainey Mitchell is a popular, star athlete with a killer wardrobe, and the perfect boyfriend. The kind of girl I hated in high school. So when her perfect boyfriend, Jason, marches into her parents coffee shop where she works and dumps her in front of everyone, I didn't really feel sorry for Lainey. In fact I cheered a bit. But I quickly found that there was more to Lainey than just the superficial girl who scored the game winning soccer goal at state. She felt like a real person with real feelings and someone who needed help dealing with her situation. And even though her perfect boyfriend had been perfectly awful to her, Lainey wanted him back. In that moment I was instantly transported back to the time I lost my first love and my heart went out to Lainey. I felt her pain because I'd been there. In fact most people have. Lainey being the stubborn and determined girl that she is, takes things to the next step. With the help of her friend Bianca she devises a plan to win back her boyfriend using The Art of War. Lainey decides she's going to beat Jason at his own game, and make him come crawling back to her, win him over again. Using the strategy from The Art of War Lainey strikes a deal with her mohawked, misunderstood, "bad-boy", co-worker Micah. They pretend to date in hopes that Lainey can win back Jason and at the same time Micah can get back together with his ex-girlfriend Amber. But Micah and Lainey couldn't be more different then each other. Different tastes in music, favorite hangouts, clothes, the list goes on and on. In fact the only thing they seem to have in common is their quick wits and knack for insulting each other sarcastically. But once they start hanging out and really getting to know each other, Lainey finds out Micah isn't who she thought he was, and Micah discovers the same thing about Lainey. The both begin to change, and start to wonder if they don't want different things than what they originally thought. Following Lainey in her transformation was quite the journey. She wasn't always perfect, but that's one of the things I loved about her. She was human. I loved watching her find out who she really was as a person and sometimes make mistakes. I often found myself grinning at the situations Lainey found herself in. They weren't always the same situations I'd gone through as a teen, but it was so easy to relate to her. In all the time Lainey spends with Micah, he manages to bring out a new side of her. Micah opens her eyes to a world she never thought she might like and see that things aren't always as they seem. He is kind and patient with Lainey even when she sometimes doesn't deserve it. For this reason I think he is one of my favorite male love interests that I've read. He genuinely cares about the people that enter into his life, even when there are times he probably shouldn't. And watching Lainey not only learn to love others for all their differences, but also learn to love herself was a wonderful experience. As a scifi/fantasy geek, I'm not one who normally jumps on contemporary novels, but The Art of Lainey definitely has a soft spot in my heart now. It's a fun lighthearted story that nearly anyone can enjoy and sympathize with. 5 out of 5 stars.
Disquietus More than 1 year ago
What’s that sound? That’s the sound of me finishing The Art of Lainey, rolling around on the floor clutching it to my chest and promising to never let it go. That could also be the sound of my Micah dance. NO BUT SERIOUSLY I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It completely took me by surprise and blew me away with its awesomeness. This book has it all: it’s cute, funny, swoony and completely engaging. The writing, dialogue, pacing and character development are so well done. I just want to sing it’s praises until I make every single person I know read it. Now in all fairness, most readers will probably hate Lainey when they first meet her. She’s a little self-absorbed, superficial, dramatic, judgmental and stubborn (I mean she goes to extreme lengths to try and get back together with a boyfriend who breaks up with her for another girl just because she doesn’t want the perfect senior year she envisioned to be ruined). However I pretty much loved her from the start and she just got better as the book progressed. She just reminded me so much of one of my best-friends in high school that I couldn’t help but love her. I also knew that somewhere deep down she had to have a heart of gold if she still considered Bianca one of her best-friends when her other BFF Kendall (whose basically the worst kind of high-school mean girl ever) does not approve of the relationship. She’s just so well developed and realistic. TAKE NOTE PEOPLE THIS IS HOW TEENS SHOULD BE WRITTEN. Some might find the fact that she and the other teens drink and openly have sex to be objectionable but lets be real here-teens drink. They have sex. This is a thing that happens and I’m so appreciative of Paula for portraying it in a healthy and realistic way. Really, all of the characters are extremely realistic and well formed. Even Kendall and Jason, as dislikable are they are, were fully fleshed out and not just the cookie-cutter “bad guys” used only as plot devices to come between Lainey and Micah. They have their good moments and positive characteristics and it was so refreshing. Bianca is amazing. Smart, supportive, and brutally honest. She has a good head on her shoulders and is the perfect balance to Lainey. Their friendship just makes me so happy. They are so good for and to each other. She’s one of those secondary characters you love so much that you want them to have their own book, or at least a novella. I also love that she had her own little sub-plot with an adorable love interest of her own. YAY BEE. Oh? You want to know about Micah? Well Micah is my boyfriend. I have claimed them and I am determined to talk Paula into giving him to me. Naturally I’ll share him with Lainey. No, but in all seriousness he is basically my dream guy except for the gross smoking habit but I can pretty much over look that. A mohawk, tattoos, what seems like fantastic taste in music and he has a ridiculously sweet and adorable relationship with his mom and sister. HE. IS. PERFECT. This is not your normal YA love interest. He is not sugar sweet and sensitive and overprotective. He has all the best and worst qualities of a teenage boy and that’s what makes him so lovable. He is just a guy. A snarky, stubborn, goofy, perverted guy who also happens to be sweet, kind, sincere, and yes, sexy. Not to mention that he has a love for pastry cooking. Micah comes alive on the page in all the best ways. MY MICAH LOVE IS OUT OF CONTROL in case you haven’t noticed.  The plot itself is magic. I’ve always been a sucker for fake-dating storylines and Stokes added a fresh spin on it with the incorporation of the Art of War. Laineys battle strategies are hilarious and her character growth is just so slow and subtle and realistic and guh. I CANNOT GUSH ENOUGH ABOUT HOW WELL DONE THE CHARACTER GROWTH IS IN THIS BOOK. The romance between Lainey and Micah is just fantastic beyond words as well. The fake dates were adorable and fun and I was swooning over every interaction even before they really started realizing they had feelings for each other. The first time Lainey realizes she wants to kiss Micah is still possibly my favorite moment in the book, only rivaled by their actual first kiss and the last page of the book. The romance has a very slow-burn feel to it and I spent most of the book yelling about how I just needed to smoosh their faces together (SMOOSH SMOOSH I SAY). They are officially one of my top five OTPs of all time. There were also just a bunch of little things I really loved. Lainey’s relationship with her parents. THE FACT THAT HER DAD OWNS A COFFEE SHOP and she gets to work there and has awesome coworkers. It was just one of those books that I want to relive over and over. The Art of Lainey has ensured that I will be read everything this author writes in the future, already added to my very small insta-buy list.
AllBookedUp More than 1 year ago
Wow, wow wow! I could not put this down! Paula Stokes really scores with The Art of Lainey! We all can relate to this story where girl gets dumped and then tries to win her love back by trying to create jealousy and ends up find out that what she really wants might not be what she originally though she did. This coming of age story is a wonderful reminder that self-discovery is always there and we just have to be open to change and seeing ourselves not as who we think we should be but who we really are in our hearts. This story is well written and so rich that you can really see it play out as a movie. I was hooked instantly by the story and could not put it down until 2am. The characters are real and believable and you really begin to root for them each so rich and unique and yet we all know people like each of the characters. I can't even begin to tell you the FEELS that will come along with this book...soooo good! The banter back and forth was witty and hilarous and really had me giggling out loud while reading. This book should not be missed. It's not going to change your life but it's one of those reads that will help make life more enjoyable!
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes Publisher: HarperTeen Publication Date: May 20, 2014 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the author Summary (from Goodreads): Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back. And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? What I Liked: This book is quite different from this author's historical fiction series, The Secrets of the Eternal Rose. Overall, I really enjoyed that series, though I had a rocky start, with Venom. I highly recommend that series, especially to fans of historical fiction, like me. Anyway. I was thrilled to see that this author had a different novel coming out in 2014, even if it is a contemporary novel (in which we all know I'm not a fan of contemporary novels). I knew I would be reading this book, regardless of my genre preferences. I'm really pleased with how much I liked this book! Lainey is super excited for her senior year of high school, because everything seems perfect - boyfriend, soccer, grades, friends, LIFE. But then Jason dumps her in her parents' coffee shop in front of everyone, and Lainey is crushed. There goes her perfect senior year. But she and her friend Bianca come up with a plan based on The Art of War, to get Jason back. Lainey will fake-date Micah, a boy who works at her parents' shop, in order to make Jason jealous. But that plan backfires a little, because Lainey totally falls for Micah. Confused? Yes, she is. I absolutely LOVE how much of an influence The Art of War has over this book. The text is quite interesting, so applying it to relationships and ex-boyfriends is really cool. Don't worry if you're not familiar with the text - Stokes makes it very easy for readers to comfortably understand The Art of War and how Lainey uses it to try to get Jason back. The influence of such a novel makes this book seem so much more intelligent and clever, and I love it.  I thought I would dislike the love story, to be honest, because for one, it sounds like there is a love triangle present in this book. Also, it's kind of a cliche relationship, right? Use a boy to make another boy jealous, only to fall in love with the boy you're using. But both of these aspects were sort of avoided in this book, or at least, they didn't bother me. I can't really explain how Stokes does it, but she circumvents the love triangle bit really well, making it clear to readers that there really is only male for Lainey, and that Lainey is the only one for that male. Also, while the skeleton of the relationships in this book seems cliche (how Lainey uses one boy to make another jealous, but falls in love with the other), the specifics of the romance really weren't cliche at all. It was interesting to see how the characters influenced the development of the relationship - I think that made a huge difference. Lainey is a unique character, though I can't say I would like her in real life. She starts off in this book as really shallow, and honestly, she stills seems a little shallow by the end, but not as much. Her character changes enormously from cover to cover, and I like this change. She finds herself, learns host to survive with Jason, how to be herself without Jason. That is something that doesn't just happen overnight, because she was with Jason for more than two years. That's a long time to get comfortable with being the person that he wants you to be, especially since you're still developing your personality (if you know what I'm saying). Micah isn't what I expected him to be. I like his "bad" aspect - although I could never really get a feel of how old he is. I think he goes to the same school as Lainey, which would make him the same age? But he always struck me as a college-age guy. Either way, there is so much more to him than tattoos and piercings and rumors, and I like him. I know for a fact that we would be friends in real life, judging his personality. Hats off to Stokes for choosing soccer to be a THING in this book - a huge thing. If you're a Twitter follower, then you know how much I enjoy my sports, especially football (Hala Madrid!), so I thought it was great that Stokes featured the sport in this book, and made it such a huge part of the book. Soccer is Lainey's life, it seems, or a very large part (for the most of the book, it seems like Jason is Lainey's life). I have a friend here that sees soccer in the same light - soccer is his life. Without it, he's not HIM. It would kill him if he had to stop playing, if someone took it away from him, if he couldn't even practice. I love that passion, and I'm happy to see it in this book. This story is pretty awesome, if you ask me. Lainey follows The Art of War to get Jason back, but she ends up discovering herself and her own love life. This book isn't just focused on the romance, though it might seem that way. There is more going on, with friendships and soccer and a teenager's future. Stokes hits a lot of issues that teenagers face, in a way that isn't too morbid or depressing. In fact, the mood of this book is very light and almost silly, despite the fact that it follows a break-up. If you couldn't tell by now, I really liked this book! I'm really happy that I had the chance to read this book (thank you, Paula!), and I'm definitely excited to read this author's books in the future.  What I Did Not Like: I think the only thing that bothered me at all was that it took a while for me to get into this book. The first part of this book was a bit difficult for me to read, for some reason. I wasn't entirely sucked into the story. Of course, we need to remember that I'm not a huge fan of contemporary (or contemporary romance) novels, so this could just be a "me" thing. But personally, I thought the first third ish of the book was a little boring, or slow, perhaps. Would I Recommend It: If you're a fan of contemporary novels, you'll definitely want to check out this book! And even if you're not, this is still one that I think anyone can enjoy. I'm not a contemporary fan, although I do enjoy a contemporary romance novel every now and then, so I was really happy when I ended up really liking this book overall. So, contemporary fan or not, this is a book that I think anyone can like, if they give it a try!  Rating: 4 stars. I'm four for four with Paula/Fiona's books! I think I prefer her contemporary novels, but of course, I've only read one of her contemporary novels. I'll definitely be catching Liars, Inc., when it comes out next year!