The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Published: May 20th, 2014 (HarperTeen)
Source: ARC via Edelweiss
Buy the book: Bookdepository
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?
I think Debby has been subtly, uh, recommending The Art of Lainey for at least six months when I decided to give in. While I wasn't even halfway through I realised she was right: this is my kind of book. It's banterfluffy contemporary goodness, bound to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know that's how I felt when I finished it. I even went out and emailed Paula about how much this book punched me right in the heart, something I never do (but after reading her wonderful response, I will definitely do this more often!).
It's the ultimate banterfluff plot: two people who pretty much only know of eachothers excistence decide to "fake date" eachother to get back with their exes. Lainey and Micah rarely talk to eachother at work, but decide to team up for this plan. Only, after some dates and a lot of banter it appears this is not just a deal to get back their old relationships. It feels like more than that, but they had set up specific rules against that. So now what?
So now all the banter turns into banterfluff and ahhhhh I was fangirling. The chemistry between Micah and Lainey is spot on and pretty much perfect. There were two particular scenes that made my heart ache, and omg it hurt so much but I enjoyed all of it. Sure, at the beginning of the book Lainey is very very very clingy to her ex-boyfriend. We as readers of course see that he's the ultimate a-hole, but hey, who are we? I loved seeing how she transitioned from spoiled clingy brat into a fun character with plenty to say. She really grew as a character, as did all the other characters. They really get closer and I loved their interaction. Another thing I absolutely loved about The Art of Lainey was that every single character was realistic. They weren't perfect, they felt real. Their talk was real, the way they behaved was real. They all had their own quirks and flaws and it was fantastic.
But again, what stands out is the chemistry. Gods, it was so perfect I am unable to even. It was like the tension between Lainey and Micah came sizzling off the pages, that was how good it was. From the moment of their deal to the very end it was a rollercoaster of feels and honestly, I cannot wait to jump back on this ride. Stokes knows how to write. She GETS it. She knows how to get the feels across, make you swoon and make your heart break in all the right ways. For me, this is exactly what I'm looking for in contemporary books.
If you like contemporaries, and more specifically if you enjoy BANTERFLUFF, this is a must-read!