Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
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.
4 Drink Me Potions
The Fine Art of Pretending feels like a guilty pleasure, equivalent to indulging in chocolate for a day. The storyline is predictable and it’s not hard to figure out major things that would happen with the main characters.
However, it’s the “how” that always makes me want to read faster. And that’s what happened here. Brandon and Aly have been best friends for 3 years, ever since Brandon turned down Aly when she admitted she had a crush on him. Granted, they were really digging the friend zone at the beginning of the book, but it was obvious that Aly may still unconsciously harbor more feelings than that.
I read this book in a heartbeat (or I wanted to, at least). It was definitely entertaining with the amount of drama their fake relationship caused. The only problem I mainly had was Brandon’s ignorance of his own feelings. I felt it took way too long for him to even admit that he could possibly care for Aly as more than a friend. Yes, he was definitely very physically attracted to her (which I initially found disturbing as it would seem he could only like her when she was all dolled up), but he kept denying any feelings. When he finally admitted it to himself, I was all but ready to pump the air with a giant “YES”. Only to fall back and realize he didn’t want to tell her ’cause of course, he just wants to stay friends.
‘Cause all relationships eventually end. Sure, they do. But so do friendships.
But no, Brandon’s very comfortable in dating fast & furious style.
Yep. That really bothered me. It could’ve done better without the tremendous dragging it took for Brandon to finally understand that he wanted a relationship with Aly. And how that happens was also very anti-climatic. After all the buildup of not wanting one at all for so long, it was like a light bulb just went on suddenly and he decided, “yes, I need a relationship with her now. Let me go find her”. That could’ve happened eons ago, in my opinion. This revelation was terribly slow.
Other than that, I found the romance entertaining enough. Their reactions to finding out that they loved each other were hilarious as it was so obvious to everyone but them. I really wished there was more time to see them acting as a couple as that was what kept me reading. It’s a shame it had to end.
Two other minor problems were probably the lack of family interactions and Aly’s intense need to become a Casual. She’s definitely not built for hookups, but I guess there wouldn’t be a story if she wasn’t so darn stubborn on being noticed by guys. Heck, I’m glad Brandon finally understood he loved her for more than just her new makeover.
As for family, there’s so much talk about how important family is to both of them, yet there were rarely any conversations between family members. For example, Aly’s mom was catering the food for the senior class’s camping trip, yet I swear only Brandon was ever shown to have a conversation with her. I assumed Aly’s mom was staying over somewhere at that camp too during the trip’s duration, but I don’t recall Aly having ever talked to her. Weird, right?
Anyway, just minor grievances. In the great scheme of things, it was still a lovely read. A guilty pleasure, as I said before. Predictable, cute and romantic, with tons of drama (that could’ve been resolved a little faster, but whatever).
The Fine Art of Pretending is one of those cute, romantic books you just wanna curl up with in bed to read all night long. Aly is a fun character, set and determined to be different, but I’m glad she finally grows up and develops into a character that’s confident in who she is no matter if she’s not quite Casual material. Or rather, maybe she just finds she has a bit of both Casual & Commitment traits.
Brandon sounds like a true guy in his POV of the story. It’s nice to see what he’s thinking, although sometimes it seems he just lusts for Aly and not loves her for who she is. He also develops, which I’m glad as he’s dead set against relationships. He’s loveable and protective of Aly and I just want to smack him for making them both miserable. Of course, that’s where the drama lies in so who am I to say that he can’t do that? I just wish he didn’t drag on for so long.
All in all, this is one guilty pleasure to dive into. Predictable, yet there may be a token or two of wise character insight and growth that translates into anyone’s life. A definite read to give a shot for.