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The Fine Art of Pretending
     

The Fine Art of Pretending

4.6 28
by Rachel Harris
 

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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,

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
12/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Aly wants to lighten up and have more fun her senior year. To do this, she decides to shed her image as a serious girl and become a "casual." She starts with skimpy clothes, makeup, and wearing her hair loose instead of in a ponytail. She makes more effort to get involved in social events. She jumps into the lake for a game of chicken and takes the stage for karaoke. And she asks her best friend, cute-boy Brandon, to be her pretend boyfriend so other boys will see her as datable. The friends soon begin to fall for each other, not realizing that the other feels the same way. Chapters alternate between the two teens. The voices are clearly distinct. Aly's voice is peppered with "Holy cannoli" while Brandon employs dude-bro speak and swearing. Brand names and specific pop-culture references feature heavily. There are mild references to sex, virginity, and drinking beer at a house party, but no serious or explicit exploration of these themes. There are also references to attending church, but only as a social, not religious, space. Adults play minor but positive roles. Fans of light teen romance will find just what they're looking for in this confection.—Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781939392282
Publisher:
Spencer Hill Press
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

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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The Fine Art of Pretending 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
AshleyBodette More than 1 year ago
So, this is what I had to say when I first finished reading this: There are not enough words in the world to tell you how much I LOVE this story! I can't believe I have to wait until SEPTEMBER to help share this book with the world! But I promise all of you, it is WELL worth the wait! I will give you all an extended review once it's been released! And here it is! You all can FINALLY hold this book in your hands! I always love a Rachel Harris story, but this one is special. Aly and Brandon are probably my second-favorite couple from Rachel's books, and the secondary characters in this book are all very 3-dimensional. It's just plain good writing! :) Aly learns some lessons the hard way, and they are the kind of lessons that I *HOPE* girls who read this book will learn the easy way. In the beginning of the book, Aly thinks she needs to change how she looks, and in a way, who she is, in order to garner the attention of the male population at her school. And she's not even sure that she cares if it's just a 'short term' attention...like that of a 'casual' relationship. And that is really sad. BUT, I promise, in the long-run, she learns that, for her at least, a casual relationship is no relationship at all, (especially one based on someone you're not) AND the man of her dreams has been in a 'relationship' with her for years. :) I'm not going to give you the details, because I want you to experience it all first-hand. But it's a funny, swoon-worthy story, and you definitely should give it a read!
Sheri_B1975 More than 1 year ago
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book from InkSlinger PR for a blog tour in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway my review or my rating! I always go in to a book by Rachel Harris thinking that there is absolutely no way she can top the last one I read. I mean I loved that book! There's just no way! Yet every time I finish the newest one I'm left sitting here wondering to myself how the heck did she just do that again?! Now I know I say this every time I finish one of her books, and trust me it's true every single time I say it, but...The Fine Art of Pretending is her best work yet. This book is her baby, it's the one that means the most to her, and I could tell. You can see her heart on every single one of these pages. It's hard to pick that one thing that I loved most about this book because there are so many great elements to it, but honestly I'd have to say it's the message that it puts out there. Actually I feel like, really, there's two important ones, but first Aly's. Aly feels like she needs to change to make big things happen for her. To get a guy to look at her as more than just a friendship potentially. Enter Operation Sex Appeal. She trades in her baggy shirts and pants for short skirts and tight tops. She exchanges her ratty old tennis shoes for heels. Applies more make up, lets down her hair instead of throwing it up in a messy bun. Completely changed the outside. She was never really herself though or fully comfortable in her new skin so to speak. Even though all the attention was new and exciting at first it was never fully real. Because she wasn't being real. Even Brandon, sure he "noticed" her when she changed, but he still missed the old Aly. She grew so much in this book though from beginning of the book Aly, who is sweet and funny and you cannot help but love her, to the end of the book Aly. All change that was for the good. And I'm not just talking about her appearance. It's the whole disguise thing. You know how like when you're in disguise you feel more comfortable to let loose and put yourself out there. In her new look she was slower to second guess being more bold and putting herself out there. She was able to let the real Aly that's deep inside of her out. Stuff that had always been there but buried in self doubt. But with a bit of self confidence the real Aly really shines. And it wasn't until she said okay that's enough of this game I'm playing, because really it was just like a game, and she took the mask off and all the pretty, tight, short clothes and went back to relaxed and comfy, when she was truly herself with a dash more confidence that things in her life really started to happen. Be you. It's the confidence that's sexy. With Brandon, and just know that I am crushing hard on this guy! Just had to get that out there before I go on! Anyway, with Brandon we have this already really amazing guy. A guy who has been her best friend for a very long time and has always seen her and trusts her enough to see sides of him that nobody else does. He's basically perfect. But in everything he's seen up to now love may seem great but eventually people leave you. Whether it's walking away or in death and so he keeps people in rolls that will, in his mind, allow him to avoid pain if they ever leave. In his journey with this pretending they do he has to struggle to realize that people may leave but taking the risk and loving them and having them love you back, no matter how brief, is worth the pain and risk. Something else I think is important to take away from this book. Not only does Rachel Harris write you these amazing characters and this heartwarming, sweet and fun story but she's done something that isn't exactly easy and natural in a lot of young adult novels. She has flawlessly written these teenage characters, capturing their voice and making them so real and full of life. I've not seen it done better than with this book. Add to that these two really important messages to young people, and even old ones like me haha, that it's okay to be yourself and being true to you and confident brings out the sexy. You don't need to change for anyone. And take a chance on love. Sometimes it brings you pain, but it won't always. And it's always worth it. I can't wait to see what you bring us next Rachel. One thing I know for sure is it's going to be amazing!
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
Well folks, Rachel Harris has done it again! Are you ready to get your swoon on? Because Brandon Taylor is ready to bring it! I am a huge fan of Rachel's and I have loved every book she has written thus far! This book, though? Totally my favorite. The fake relationship and the best friends falling for one another are both favorite tropes of mine, so for Rachel to put them together in a young adult novel really set this one apart for me. I was devastated when I finished because I just wanted it to go on and on and on! This will definitely be one of those books I reread over and over again when I just need a big smile on my face and a flutter in my chest. Pacing: This was such a fast, easy, enjoyable read! Once I started there was no putting it down! Except to go to bed, as I started it on a work night. :( I was bummed, but glad because this is one of those books I just wanted to savor! Storyline: Rachel has done a great job with teen voice and setting. Finally a young adult book where we see the characters interacting in an actual young adult setting: school! I love that we got to see them at lunch, as well as after school- doing actual after school activities: working, sports practice, etc. Aly has always been a bit of a tomboy- she's great at sports and is just a guy's girl. She's friendly, sweet, and gets along with everyone. However, that has also placed her in the category of a Commitment. At Fairfield Academy, the boys have divided the girls into the Casuals and the Commitments. The Casuals are the girls guys date only once or twice- never anything serious or meaningful. The Commitments are the relationship girls- the ones you want to be with, spend time with, and see yourself having a long term thing with. Aly is tired of being a Commitment and wants to break out of that label. Her goal: have guys see her as a Casual instead of a Commitment and show up to Homecoming with someone that's not just a friend. Her eye is on Justin Carter, one of the most notorious playboys, who doesn't do relationships. The problem? She's not even a blip on Justin's radar. Her best friends Kara and Gabbi decide to help her with Operation Sex Appeal- which will give Aly a new, sexier image. Afraid that won't be enough, she enlists the help of her best friend Brandon, one of the hottest guys in the school who also only dates Casuals. What's a little fake relationship between friends to get the hottest guy in school to notice her? Ooh boy. It sounds all well and good, but what happens when the fake relationship starts to feel not so fake anymore? Aly once crushed on Brandon and made the mistake of telling him freshmen year. Brandon, however, has never been interested in relationships because he's seen all too well the fallout that comes after they end. Yet, the new Aly doesn't go unnoticed by him. Instead, he finds himself spending TOO much time thinking about her. Will their fake relationship destroy their true friendship? The pair realize that once you cross the line, it's not so easy to go back to the way things once were. Characters: I LOVED all the characters! Well, except Lauren. Aly. Oh, sweet, precious Aly. I just wanted Brandon to sing One Direction's 'You Don't Know You're Beautiful' to her every time she felt insecure or the need to change. I understand Aly's plight though. Having always been friend-zoned myself, it is extremely frustrating because you don't want to be the best gal pal forever. While the makeover was only a means to an end, it helped give Aly the self-confidence she needed to make others see her for more. THAT is what confused Brandon so much. He's not some shallow guy who only notices Aly now that she's wearing sexier clothing. It's the way she handles herself and how she's working to break out of her shell to be a girl that guys take notice of. Brandon is a great guy and I loved him to pieces. Aly has been his best friend forever and he is incredibly protective of her. He doesn't like that she is trying to get Justin's attention, because he knows Aly and he doesn't want her to get her heart broken. He vows to make sure that doesn't happen, but never in a million years did he think he'd be the one to hurt her so deeply. He is confused by his feelings and doesn't know how to handle them. His friendship with Aly is sacred and he couldn't handle losing her friendship. Justin Carter was so much more than meets the eye. I was pretty wary of him for awhile, because he is notorious for hooking up and as much as Aly wants to be one of those girls, I knew she couldn't. He isn't afraid to make it known to Aly that she's caught his interest. He definitely has confidence and isn't shy about checking her out, even while she's with Brandon. Kara and Gabbi, Aly's friends, were really great too. Kara is all for Operation Sex Appeal, but Gabbi was a bit more hesitant about it. When it comes out that Brandon and Aly are together, it's funny that no one acts the least bit surprised. Everyone BUT those two saw it coming. Kara is definitely the more outgoing one of the group. Gabbi, is a bit on the quieter side, but both are loyal friends to Aly. Brandon's friends Carlos and Drew are also great. Drew is in a committed relationship and Carlos is crushing on Gabbi, but she doesn't give him the time of day. I really love that Harris added such depth to her novel by having these secondary characters actually involved in the main characters lives. Too often we see novels where friends are so secondary we don't even give them a second thought, the focus is so on the MC's. Final Thoughts: I just can't. I want everyone to read this book so much because it's AMAZING. I loved it to pieces and like I said, it's my favorite of Harris's yet. I really could go on and on about everything I enjoyed, but that would spoil the book!
NJBookLover2011 More than 1 year ago
This is my fave YA contemporary out there! Love it!
amyrenae More than 1 year ago
It's impossible not to finish this book without a huge smile on your face! 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 tomboy, but she's tired of being seen as 'one of the guys'. 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. 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 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. 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!
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
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***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bottom line...... just awesome I love how Aly finds her true self and gets the perfect guy. If only I had that kind of luck (lol) This book is out of this world awesome, if your someone who likes books with entertainment, romance, and little white lies. This is the best book for you!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it all in one night . had me hooked from the beginning and brought tears and laughter along the way . a story of young love , makes me remember all the times with my boyfriend before he left for the army . touching story .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actual rating: 3.5 Stars! The Fine Art of Pretending was just adorable! While I really enjoyed it, The Fine Art of Pretending lacked the depth that I so desperately wished for.  Alyssa Reed, on the outside, seems to have her life together. She's a volleyball star, has three amazing best friends, and loves to bake. But she gets this idea in her head that she's not good enough for the boys at her school, so she enlists the help of her friends, Kara and Gabi, to kick-start Operation Sex Appeal. Why? Well, I read a review that made me stop and think more deeply about this book: the reviewer talked about Aly's motivations, why she's decided that she needed to change her appearance to attract guys' attention. Basically Aly just wants to stop being that friend-zoned girl who can joke around with them but is never seen as sexy and attractive. I think her reasoning was realistic, albeit very misguided. Aly never needed to change who she was to get a boyfriend or make them see her as just a hookup. She just had to realize that she was good enough as she is. It took her almost the whole book to realize that. And with Brandon's help and his utter adoration toward Aly, she's able to let go of her goals and understand that being a Commitment is not a bad thing. Boy, Rachel sure knows how to write swoony boys. Brandon is the epitome of a good guy--sweet, loyal, funny, and kindhearted. He always has Aly's best interests at heart, and all he wants is to convince her that she's perfect the way she is, that she's not a Casual. Brandon's been through a lot, and Aly helped him by just being her. He values her friendship, but when he starts having romantic feelings for her, he panics. He doesn't want love. He doesn't want a relationship. He doesn't want a Commitment. But he's seeing Aly in a different light, and through a dared kiss, he's forced to admit that he's long past friendship. Their friendship was wonderful, I think I may have loved it more than their jump into romance. Which didn't feel like a jump so as much as a foot race. It was very slow-burning and waiting for the two main characters to stop being so ridiculous and realize that they're perfect for each other. Everyone else had long before they were fake-dating. But they were pretty freaking adorable together. And the other characters were just as adorable! I loved Aly's two best friends, Kara and Gabi. They are both hilariously different from one another, which balances the dynamic trio. And I adored that they had Aly's back, through everything, even if they didn't agree with her tactics. I also loved Brandon's friends. Carlos, who was funny and sweet and just an all-around great guy (I'm crossing my fingers he gets his own book). Drew, who is levelheaded, perceptive, and understanding. But, I gotta tell ya, Justin Carter was my favorite. Honestly, he had me swooning just a *wee* bit more than Brandon! This heartbreaker is more than his status and good looks, and I can't wait to find out more about him. The whole concept was different, though I thought it was detrimental to young girls' way of thinking. Basically, there are two types of girls at this school: Casuals (ones who only want hookups) and Commitments (ones who are boyfriend material), which were coined by Brandon and his friends. The premise of the book was centered on the fact that Aly wants a makeover so guys see her as a Casual. It killed me that she believed she wasn't good enough just as she was, a sweet and funny girl who would make some guy incredibly lucky. I know it's realistic because so many girls are insecure about their looks and who they are, especially in middle and high school (I know I was). But I also think it sends the wrong kind of message. However, I loved that Aly found her way through the craziness that is high school and boys and drama and still stayed true to herself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
valercrazy More than 1 year ago
Two words: THE. SWOONS. I'm a swooner, I'm not gonna lie, and Rachel Harris understands/writes books for people like me! (Well, this book at least, I didn't like her My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series.) From the fifth chapter, I was already hardcore invested in this "friendship" (even though they both wanted more and were just too dumb to admit it) and I LOVED how these characters grow and struggle with feelings that they didn't expect. It was basically all kinds of right. The Fine Art of Pretending is written in dual POVs and it added so much to the story; typically I am fine with just one perspective but since this is a friends turned more story (HALLELUJAH), we needed to see how the actions affected both parties. I am a firm believer that men and women can be friends but Aly and Brandon are AMAZING together and I love them. Aly liked Brandon in the past but was nicely rejected and has since pushed all of her feelings in the corner; as the book progresses, she finds that her feelings might have never left. Brandon, on the other hand, loves and respects Aly so much which is why he can only be her friend; since his father died, he believes that friendships are the only things that last, love only screws everything up and he can't lose Aly. They come from completely different places and it's quite the... swoony ride with these two. Speaking of the journey, THESE TWO GROW SO MUCH. It just amazes me how they each grew individually but also so much together. To get to the plot, I was frustrated by Aly on many occasions; she just kept going deeper and deeper away from who she is but I understand that this is a story written about teenagers and it was authentic in that sense. She couldn't see what Brandon was actually telling her and she decided the need to be "dateable" or "lovable" consumed her thoughts, well until thoughts of Brandon took over. :) Even though she annoyed me a lot, I loved when realization dawned on her; she finally understood that the guys actually respected her and that being a Commitment meant so much more than the fleeting attention of a horny male.  Wrap-up: I thought that it taught a good lesson about self-discovery and loving yourself. I loved it. Great, quick read. 
Sophia-Rose1 More than 1 year ago
I stopped reading at 15% and I want to make it perfectly clear that this is one of those 'it’s me and not you' situations or at least I’ll take the hit for finding the heroine too immature. I am a hit or miss YA reader and I thought this sounded really cute when I picked it up. After I started reading, I discovered that I really felt too old for this story. I might come back for it later when I'm in a different frame of mind because there were lots of elements that totally had me smiling. Aly needs to feel sexy and wanted by boys who treat her as a friend was sort of adorably sad. However, her little plot of Operation Sexy and using her best guy friend and secret crush to score the school manwhore/pop guy just left me impatient with her. This is not the girl with physical flaws or quirks that get her labeled as weird. She’s a good student, star athlete and has plenty of friends and fun so I couldn’t really buy her 911 need. There’s not even an actual event in her life that sends her into this desperate state. She sells herself short and is on a mission to embrace the shallow fleeting things and it was just...sad. Brandon telling her that guys respected her, liked her and felt she was commitment material translated in her mind to ‘unwanted and boring’- again, sad for her, but wanted to swat her for listening with her insecurities and missing what is right under her nose. So yeah, probably going to be a really cute story in the Pygmalion or Ugly Duckling style and one I probably would have finished and possibly liked when I was younger. From what little I read, I think the writing is good, the characters are appealing and this would be a hit with many YA Contemporary Romance readers. My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LindaTownsend More than 1 year ago
It's the perfect book to lift the spirits of hopeless romantics everywhere! “If you want to recreate yourself in a new image, you must embrace your inner vixen.”  THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris is a sweet New Adult romance told in alternating hero/heroine POVs. I'm a huge fan of Rachel's wonderful romances and this is certainly another gem! Her books always me laugh - and her trademark humor is certainly evident herein. THE FINE ART OF PRETENDING is the story of seventeen-year-old Alyssa "Aly" Reed, our heroine, and Brandon Taylor, our hero and Aly's long-time best friend and now pretend boyfriend. At Fairfield Academy, the boys classify girls as either a casual or a commitment. Aly is tired of being passed over for dates because she's rated a commitment so she rebels against the system and decides to remake herself as a casual because that's what she believes guys want. LOL! Aly's project is humorously nicknamed "Project Hot To Trot" and "Operation Sex Appeal." Her end goal and the ultimate determinant of her project's success is to snag a perfect date at the prom with Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy's biggest hottie. What could possibly go wrong as two best friends navigate the perils of becoming more than friends? My full review has been posted to Reading Between The Wines Book Club. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if it's just me, but I feel Rachel Harris has a knack for creating heart-warming, feel good, and just down right adorable stories. Take this one for example.... It's not your typical boy meets girl, they fall in love, happily ever after kind of story. What I loved most is the slow burn....What do I mean by slow burn? You really see the build of the relationship between Aly and Brandon. I feel like this is important in any novel showcasing the building of a relationship especially when they're going from BFF'S for life to couple status. If it's too rushed it seems and feels forced. If it's drawn out too long, it (well I don't know about anyone else) but it loses the reader's attention. Harris though, she creates the perfect combination of not too much, but just enough. Throw in high school hottie, Justin Carter and you've got a semi sizzling sort of love triangle to spice things up. There's the right combination of want. Just a tidbit of angst. A plethora of swoon-worthy moments. And a plan called Operation Sex Appeal that turns out to be a success. If you're in the mood for a cute read that will make you feel warm and tingly all over, I'd recommend this!
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
The Fine Art of Pretending was one of those books I just knew I had to have as soon as I first heard about it. I love fake relationship stories and friends to MORE stories and it looked like this would have both. While I assumed I would probably be able to predict everything that would happen, it didn’t matter. I don’t care if a book is a bit predictable as long as I connect with the characters and enjoy the story… and as long as my beloved characters get a HEA when it’s all said and done. I loved Aly. I could relate to Aly. She’s like my spirit animal or something. Without sounding whiny or getting too personal, I’ve always been the best friend. I get along much better with guys than I do girls, so just trust me when I say I understand this gal. I totally get why she wanted to be seen as something other than a pal and the lengths she went to in order to achieve it. Brandon was a sweetheart. I was so afraid he would go to the place I didn’t want him to go in order to prove to himself he didn’t have feelings for Aly. Thankfully, he’s a better guy than that. (Hooray for breaking the stereotypes!) Aly’s popular, but not overly so. She has a bunch of friends, but few dates and no boyfriend. Her best friend, Brandon, is one of the hottest and most popular guys in school. They’ve known each other forever and they briefly tried to date once, but decided it would be weird. They’re better off as friends. As Brandon learns about Operation Sex Appeal, he reveals to Aly the reason she’s not been getting asked out is because she’s a Commitment and guys their age are looking for a Casual. Aly decides the best way to change that perception is to catch the eye of, and eventually hook up with, the only guy more popular than Brandon – Justin. Brandon agrees to pretend he’s hooking up with Aly to help her snag Justin’s attention and the real fun begins. Anyone who is paying attention knows that Aly and Brandon are meant to be. Their friends know it. Their families know it. They’re the only two who are too blind to see it. As they spend more time together during Operation Sex Appeal, things get strange between them. At first glance, they’re not behaving that much differently from what they usually do, but when you look closer there’s more touching and even *gasp* a KISS. (It was pretty damn swoony!) As their fake relationship begins to put a strain on their real friendship, you have to sop and wonder if their friendship wills survive this. Will they admit to their attraction? Will they screw everything up for good because they’re afraid to admit what they really want? You’ll have to read it to find out. The Fine Art of Pretending was a great young adult contemporary. I loved the characters. I got completely sucked into the story from the beginning and couldn’t even think of putting it down until I finished it. There was a whole lot of humor and heart, more than a bit of awkwardness and a lot of feels in this one. If I’m honest, the only thing that keeps me from giving The Fine Art of Pretending five stars is the lack of swoony kissing time. Don’t get me wrong, there were some really sweet and swoony first love kissy moments in the book, but I wanted more. Yes, I’m greedy like that. I wanted a bit more time of Aly and Brandon together. The great news is that this is the first book in a standalone series, so I’m counting on the fact that I’ll see more of these two in the coming books. I can’t wait! The Fine Art of Pretending is my first ever Rachel Harris book. I know. I’m ashamed. I plan to right this obvious wrong soon. Regardless, I’ll definitely be waiting on her next YA book because this one was nearly everything I could want in a book in this genre!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
Rachel Harris is the queen of everything flirty. I'm sure I've said that before, but it deserves to be said again. And this book definitely shows why. It was so cute, flirty, swoony, and probably my favorite Rachel Harris book so far. Aly is tired of being the just friends with guys. She wants to show everyone that she can be fun and sexy too, so with the help of her friends, launches Operation Sex Appeal. She gets a makeover, a whole new wardrobe, and changes basically everything about herself. For the final stage, she gets her best friend, Brandon, to fake "hookup" with her to make everyone else at school believe it. The end goal? Get Justin, the hottest guy in school to ask her to homecoming.  I love best friend-to-more romances. Not all the time, but if it's done well. And this one was definitely done well. Sure, it might seem predictable, but it was still written so well that it doesn't matter. I love the back story between the two friends and loved their easy going and fun friendship (at least, before the fake dating). There were definite times when I wanted to slap some sense into Aly, ha. She's so obsessed with making herself over and getting the date with Justin that she seems to ignoring what everyone else is trying to tell her. But where she's coming from is also completely understandable, especially as a high schooler. I'm sure every girl at some point has wanted to make themselves over, completely start new. And Aly actually does. But I also think the lessons she learns by the end, about who she is, and what she actually wants from life were so important and necessary.  And Brandon. Sa-woooon. Might he be one of my favorite book boyfriends yet? Yes, he might very well be. I loved how he was willing to fake it for Aly, but also how he wanted to show her why it was worth it for her to stay a Commitment and not lose herself to be a casual. (Uh, okay, I will say he didn't do a very good job, but still. He tried.) From helping his sister and mom and being the man of the house, to helping coach the girls' volleyball team, to always being there for Aly, he shows us that he's more than just his reputation of being a player. We get to see some deep sides of him, which was great. And of course, there were the moments when I just wanted to scream at the two of them to stop being so frustrating and just kiss already.  I loved the background characters too. Gabi and Carlos were probably my favorite. But they were definitely written realistically, making it really seem like high schoolers with friends being normal high schoolers. I also loved how the parents were involved and there, not nonexistent.  This was definitely such a great story. You will definitely get invested in the characters and the story. It was fluffy and sweet, and definitely so cute. Rachel Harris wins again.
xCynyx More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from the cover and the first page to the last sentence in it. I mean, just look at that pretty, adorable cover! You know you want to know what's inside and it doesn't disappoint.  Aly's character is great. She's fun, she's real in many ways and she's going through something that most peope go through in different ways in their lifes.  Aly has always being the cute friend. The girl all the boys in the school could hang out but never become more than friends. When senior year comes around, Aly maes a promise with herself, she will no longer be that girl, she wants to be the kind of girl boys go after and to accomplish that, she makes a total makeover, new sexy clothes, new attitude and a new pretend boyfriend.  Enter Brandon, popular, player and super hot, Brandon. And aly's best friend. When he finds out about Aly's crazy plan and her ultimate goal, get Justin, he decides there's no way that's happening and so he sets his mind in going along with Aly's idea and try to get her to see there's nothing wrong with the person she was before.  Rachel Harris has done a magnific job at telling this story in a way that kept i eal, emotional, funny and most of all relatable. I felt myself in Aly's shoes mre than once, because growing up mean finding yourself and sometimes we need to make our own mistakes in order to learn who we are.  In the book, is not only Aly who goes through this journey of self discovery, she sees her friends go through some of tehir own. And this is what makes the whole thing even better. With Aly's new look, some of her closest friends find some new perspectives of their own, and turns out that not everybody is how they look and more than one character surprises us.  The feelings in both, Brandon and Aly, go slowly, maybe because of denial, maybe because they were always there but with a different label. And watching them dealing with them and understanding them was a great experience.  More than anything, even when The Fine Art of Pretending is a lovely love story of best friends turn lovers (anybody else has a thing for this?), is more of journey of growing up, learning to be confortable with wh you are and how hard it can be to get to that point, but is always so worth it. Aly learns things about herself that maybe she would have learn eventually, but later in life and after many years of still not been ok with her own persona. While her plan was supperficial at the begining. she soons finds out that new clothes and make up is not enough to be the person she thinks she wants to be, and with that, she discovers that she can have a bit of an adventourus side, a wild one or maybe even a back bone to stand up for herself. This, this is what I loved the most about this book, Aly tells us that is ok to experiment a little, to make your own mistakes to get your happy ending or simple get a little closer to the person you can be.   
PiecesofWhimsy More than 1 year ago
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! 4.5/5 *I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review
Tween_2_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
First Impressions I've wanted to read all of Rachel's books for a long time now. The Fine Art of Pretending did not disappoint! The book was super fun. I was immediately sucked in to the story. I haven't read a lot of contemporary recently, but I've read a couple really good ones in the last couple weeks! If you're in the mood for a romantic comedy, this is definitely it! Characters Although the main characters are Aly and Brandon, I am in love with Justin. Aly is very fun, and it's cool to see a sporty yet nerdy main character. Brandon is tad to guy-ish for me, what with the pick-up truck and stuff, but I like him nonetheless. That said, Justin is so sweet. Right off the bat, Justin has been labeled as mean and a no-good person. As soon as I got to see more of Justin's character, I started to fall in love. I seriously like him and want to give him a big, fat hug. He just seems so sad. If you're also a Justin-lover, please let me know! Writing The writing in the book was okay. At times, it wasn't always the best quality, but it was fun. Plot I kinda wanted to stab the plot, simply because the characters just. Kept. Missing. The. Point. They kept not realizing that the other person actually liked the other, and thought that it would 'ruin their friendship'. Denying their love for each other was actually what was destroying it! World-Building I couldn't really see much of the world-building. Also, what school spends a week at a summer camp the week before school starts?!?! The world wasn't fully believable, but I'll roll with it.
csingh More than 1 year ago
I was entranced with this novel from the moment I read the blurb.  I've always loved stories where friends fall in love.  I knew it was going to be a book I enjoyed, but I didn't know how much. I wasn't expecting the course of love to be smooth, but this definitely had some bumps! This is my first book by Rachel Harris and I'm definitely impressed! I really liked Aly.  She realized she wasn't happy with something and went about changing it.  Of course she didn't realize it would have consequences, but when we think of things we always think of the rewards, not what could go wrong.  I like how Aly was willing to roll with the changes in her plan. I really liked Brandon too.  He was a great friend and support to Aly.  She also supported him in return too.  I love that he wanted the best for her and was willing to put his friendship on the line for her. The only part I didn't like was how hurt they both were over what was happening to their changing feelings. If only they'd talked to each other, they could've avoided all the unnecessary angst! I even felt bad for Justin and he's a total player! I read this book in a matter of hours, from start to end, and didn't put it down once.  I laughed, teared up, gripped my hair in frustration, and cheered on Aly and Brandon.  I love that both Aly and Brandon learned love was a risk worth taking for each other.  I'm so excited this is going to be a series!  I can't wait to see who Rachel Harris writes about next.
love2dazzle More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting forever for this book. "The Fine Art of Pretending" by Rachel Harris is fantastic. I love it. This book was so worth the wait. Aly is trying to give herself a makeover and become a casual girl rather than a commitment one. She wants to have some fun her senior year of high school and finally go on a casual date. Aly had a boyfriend but he dumped her for another girl. Now it is operation sex appeal and Aly's goal is to land Justin for the homecoming dance.  I can't emphasize enough how much I love Rachel Harris and her books. "The Fine Art of Pretending" is another fun book to read. I really enjoyed Aly and Brandon's story. Brandon decides to help Aly with her operation sex appeal by pretending that they are hooking up casually. Brandon and Aly go on a couple of dates and have a few kisses but then they have their official non-official breakup and this ends up destroying both of them. Aly doesn't realize she loves Brandon and Brandon doesn't realize that he loves Aly. What is going to happen to these friends? Will they truly fall for each other or will they still end up being best friends? Will they lose each other forever? This is definitely a high school generated novel. These kids are in their senior year of high school, so there is definitely some drama and some teenage feelings going on. I think this book is very relatable to teenagers. I really liked the storyline. I thought it was really light hearted and fun. This is definitely a quick read. I really liked the characters. Aly is someone I can completely relate too and it isn't just because we share a similar name. Aly is a nervous nelly and she worries about everything like me. Then she decides that she wants to make herself more attractive and try to become more confident. Honestly I feel like I have the same issues. I feel like I could be a whole lot more attractive than I am but I lack the confidence for it. Even as an adult I have that same issue. Confidence radiates plenty of sex appeal but it is owning that confidence that I have issues with sometimes too.  Brandon seems to be a bit of a playboy but as you get to know him, you find out that Brandon has a whole another side to him. Brandon doesn't want to have a relationship because he thinks that everything ends when it comes to relationships. When he realizes that he likes Aly for more than a friend, he wants to ignore his feelings because he doesn't want to screw up their friendship but because of the choices he makes, it ends up screwing up their friendship anyway. I think Brandon has sides to him that his friends don't see so I hope that maybe he will start being himself more as time goes on. It will be great if he opens up more.  The other characters were fantastic. I have to say that Brandon and Aly have some really good friends. They wanted to see the two of them together for the most part but they are all pretty caring towards the two of them. It seemed to be a great group of friends. I wish my friends at that age were like that.  "The Fine Art of Pretending" was fantastic. I was so excited to get my eARC. I will definitely be buying a few copies of "The Fine Art of Pretending" because I have to give copies to friends not to mention have my own. That right there should be able to tell you what I truly think about this book. Definitely get your own copy on Tuesday! 
KatsNook More than 1 year ago
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!!
DeereReaderGirl More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty sure that this is my all time favorite Rachel Harris book thus far.  I could definitely relate to Aly even though I had never been in her exact situation.  I finished this book in a day; I loved it that much.