Proof of Boyfriend:
Gia Montgomery is eager to introduce her friends to her boyfriend Bradley. Lately their friendship has been strained with newcomer Jules insinuating that Bradley doesn't exist. So when Bradley dumps her in the parking lot there's a lot more at stake than a date-less prom. That's how the boy waiting for his sister becomes Gia's date and a fill-in Bradley. After prom it should all be over, but Gia can't get the fill-in out of her mind. The Fill-In Boyfriend is everything I've come to except from a Kasie West contemporary. The dialog is snappy and the romance sweet. I also really enjoyed all the extra depth in this one: toxic friends, strained family relationships, perfectionism. Every new Kasie West novel reminds me how much I love her books.
Mailed Love Letters:
When Lara Jean is ready to done with a crush she writes a letter to that boy, seals it up, and puts it in a hat box under her bed. Then one day her hat box is missing. The letters were sent. Now Lara Jean has to face her past crushes all in one messy go. The worst, is her sister's ex, Josh. To convince him that she's over him, she gets Peter Kavinsky to pretend to be her fake boyfriend. Jenny Han's book manages to be light and serious all at once, and I loved it. To All the Boys I've Loved Before is about how a family changes as its members grow older. It's also about the problems that occur when you like someone you shouldn't, even though you try really hard not to. It's about navigating that tricky world of first crushes. It also handles a multicultural family with aplomb. And Lara Jean really grows on you. I loved her by the end.
One of the Guys is a cute YA romance. Lisa Aldin's debut novel stars Toni Valentine, the only girl in a gang of four. Their plans for senior year go south when a prank lands Toni at Winston Academy for Girls. While struggling to fit in, Toni and her new friend Emma Elizabeth hatch the scheme Rent-a-Gent. They rent Toni's guy friends as fake dates to the girls at Winston. And the parade of fake boyfriends makes for some funny situations. The tricky growing pains of what happens after high school are handled nicely. As are the negotiations between girl friends, guy friends, and more more than friends. I loved all the scenes between Toni and Ollie. They make a good team. One of the Guys is out February 10, 2015. Review copy from NetGalley.
Lainey Mitchell's summer is set to be great. Until her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years breaks up with her. At her parent's coffee shop. In front of everyone! Lainey and her best friend Bianci employ Sun Tzu's tactics from The Art of War to win Jason back. First item on the list, make Jason jealous. To do so, Lainey persuades her coworker Micah to be her pretend boyfriend. I liked Lainey. She is a complete character with flaws, strengths, and insecurities. She makes mistakes. I like that she is an athlete. Lainey's friendship with Bee feels real as well. Micah is equally fabulous and is certainly more than meets the eye. What I loved most about Paula Stokes's The Art of Lainey is that Lainey gets a chance to discover herself.
From Commitment to Casual:
When Alyssa Reed discovers that the reason she hasn't had many dates in high school is because the boys classified her as a "Commitment," she decides it's time change their minds and get herself recast as a "Casual." After realizing the obligatory makeover isn't going to cut it, Aly gets the help of her best friend Brandon Taylor who helps her sell the new "Casual" Aly by being her fake boyfriend. Of course, things get really complicated really quickly. I love stories about that tricky line between friends and more-than-friends. That kind of romance really works for me, so there was a lot about The Fine Art of Pretending that I quite enjoyed.Books like this one by Rachel Harris are pure fluff and sometimes that is exactly what you want.
All reviews by JoLee.