I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Fine Art of Pretending #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on 2014-09-30
Genres: Dating & Sex, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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.
Interview with Rachel Harris
1. How do you feel that the first story you wrote has finally published?
Thrilled. Excited. And terrified LOL
Seriously, every book I write means so much to me, and they all hold a unique place in my heart, but this one…it has a little extra magic, because it was the first one I wrote. Also, this was inspired by a conversation I had with my own guy friends in high school, and while Aly and I are different people, I think I pulled more from my own experiences with this story than any other. Having it out in the world, where other people can read it, is incredible, but because of that personal connection, I’m a bazillion times more nervous for this release, too!
2. What can readers expect from this new YA series?
This new series is completely contemporary, unlike the first two books in my Super Sweet series, which had a touch of magical realism via time travel. Like those first two books, though, this series will be companion novels. You meet the hero of book two in The Fine Art of Pretending, and the heroine’s name appears in there, too (tee hee), but each are complete stories. No cliffhangers here.
3.What was your inspiration for “The Fine Art of Pretending?”
I mentioned above that a conversation with my guy friends in high school inspired the general concept, but as this was my very first book, my inspiration also came from Twilight. I’d just fallen back in love with reading and books, and decided to give it a try—if it weren’t for Stephanie Mayer, I don’t know if I’d ever have taken the step to write a complete book.
4. Are any of your characters inspired by people in real life?
Aly is definitely the closest to who I was in high school, and her family is inspired by my own. We are all very close. Brandon is a touch of my imagination mixed with a hodge podge of every guy friend I had in high school. As for Gabi and Kara, Aly’s best friends, they were more inspired by the friends I wish I had in high school.
5. What is your favorite part of “The Fine Art of Pretending?”
Favorite part?? Gah, this is so hard! Hmm…if I had to pick a favorite, I think it would have to be Aly and Brandon’s pretend official date. I had a lot of fun with that.
6.What was the original title of “The Fine Art of Pretending?”
Second-Type of Girl was the original title of The Fine Art of Pretending, based on the fact that there were two types of girls, according to the male population of their high school. My publisher felt that was too confusing, which I understand. I also considered Operation Sex Appeal, based on Aly’s name for her makeover efforts, but thought that could be a tad misleading (he he).
7. Being a mom that homeschools how do you find time to fit everything in and make sure your writing takes a front seat too?
Well, most days I don’t really find time to fit in everything…it’s more a choice of what things will I get in today, and which ones will I save for tomorrow. It’s all a juggling game, and at any given time, I have two or three things in the air, going well—school, writing, promotion, housework, exercise, reading, sleep (lol). Other than that, it is all about scheduling.
8. Do your girls help with your stories at all?
Oh yes. They have TONS of ideas for future stories, or twists I could put on my books. Being almost nine and ten, their suggestions don’t often make the actual book, but they actually do end up giving me ideas for other things that do work well. And they are by far my biggest, most enthusiastic publicists 😉
9. How did you come up with the idea for your Flirt Squad? Being a member myself this has been an awesome group that we not only get to learn about the writing and publishing industry but have a lot of fun too. Did you ever think that the Flirt Squad would get this big?
Street teams are nothing new, but I knew that if I was going to do one, and do it well, then it had to be fun. It had to be positive. And it had to be a community where we all support and love on each other. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. I didn’t how big it would get, and I certainly didn’t expect the incredible friendships that I’ve developed there, but I am so very grateful!!
10. What is your favorite part about being an author?
The fans, in particular the street team we’re discussing. Going in there every day and laughing and sharing what’s going on in my crazy head that day, watching readers come together to give advice and cheer each other on in life…it’s a community, and it proves my point that bookish people are the best people.
11. Was there ever a different career you wanted to pursue?
When I was in high school and college, I fully intended to join the entertainment world as a producer or director. The summer before my senior year in college, I interned at Entertainment Tonight in NYC, and while I loved every moment of it, it also proved that it wasn’t the perfect fit that I thought it would be. I need a smaller city, and I enjoy being close to my family. But that summer, and the years hosting and producing my own television shows in college, definitely made for some incredible memories!
12. Do you have anything in the works right now?
I have TWO books in the works right now, the companion novel to The Fine Art of Pretending for YA, and a brand new adult romance series. I also have a spin-off series for the popular Love & Games series in the works. Lots of things coming, that’s for sure!!
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. Ally 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. Ally had a boyfriend but he dumped her for another girl. Now it is operation sex appeal and Ally’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 Ally and Brandon’s story. Brandon decides to help Ally with her operation sex appeal by pretending that they are hooking up casually. Brandon and Ally 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. Ally doesn’t realize she loves Brandon and Brandon doesn’t realize that he loves Ally. 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. Ally 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 Ally 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!
Rachel has a way about writing fun entertaining stories, but with good messages about gaining self-esteem and just being yourself which is exactly what she did with the Fine Art Of Pretending.
Ally is in her senior year of High School and Homecoming is just around the corner. Every year with the exception of one Ally has only had friend dates, and the one time she didn’t she had a boyfriend who shortly after dumped her, for another girl. So with the help of her best friend Kara and Gabi, Ally gets a makeover taking her tomboy image and trading it in for a new attractive girly image that she hoped will change guys minds about her.
I really liked Ally I think she was relatable to a lot of teenage girls. She grows a lot through the story which is something I like to see in characters, it gives you the ability to see different sides of them and relate to those sides. Ally experienced low self-esteem and trying to find her self-worth in whether a guy liked her or not which is something I see a lot in teen girls today. As the story goes on Ally discovers a new confidence in herself that didn’t come from the clothes or the fact that guys are taking up an interest in her but because she starts believing in herself and finds that’s what makes her attractive just being confident in her true self. Rachel did a great job showing this growth in Ally and proving that guys may pay some attention to girls in tight clothes and skimpy outfits but that’s not what makes someone attractive its ones inner courage, self-worth, and just simply being yourself.
Brandon, Ally’s best guy friend turned love interest was an interesting character. He was the funny, charming, and protective best friend any girl would want. One of his flaws was that he was very reserved and didn’t open up at all not really even with Ally so it would be nice to see some more from his character in the future. Brandon went through a lot in his life with his dad dying and his mom having to start working so much she was barely home, Brandon developed a fear of commitment. He never wanted to have a serious relationship, because he was afraid of losing the person he cared so much about, just like his mom did when his dad died. That’s why it was so hard for Brandon to tell Ally how he really felt about her.
Kara and Gabi have to be my two favorite characters in the whole book. They are hilarious, sarcastic, and just the best girl friends any girl would love to have. I personally related the most to Gabi and saw so much of myself in her attitude and the things she would say.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the amount of language in this book. There was by far more language in this book than any of her other YA books. The use of several f words was the most disappointing, especially in a book written for teens. I also think some of the make out scenes were a little much for being a book for teens, even if it is contemporary YA.
I still love Rachel, I hope to be able to read more from her in the future and really enjoy her fun stories, goof ball characters, and her little sayings such as “Holy Cannoli!”.
I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger teens.
I give it 3.5 stars