Monday, April 13, 2015

|Review| The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Published May 20th 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: contemprary YA
Rating: A
Goodreads summary:
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?
Round of applause for Paula Stokes for writing a real teenage girl in all her judgmental glory! I'm here to read about Laineys. Yes please.

So I was the idiot who waited 7 months to read Lainey even though I've been waiting for it for ions and when all the great reviews started trickling in, I become even more excited. So I put it off, of course. Typical me problem. But what matters is that I got to it within a year (miracle, see Typical me problems again) and I'm here to share what I LOVED about it!

+Lainey: she's 17 years old and she can be judgmental and make stupid comments which is perfectly fine and perfectly on point! People don't pop out of the womb aware of what's harmful and what's not. Lainey has her group of friends and her soccer team and this very narrow view of the world which is why she's judgmental to outsider stuff. However, the summer her boyfriend breaks up with her and she gets to meet Micah is when she gets out of her bubble and embraces how everyone is different. I LOVED seeing this character growth.
“If you asked me whether I was the type of person who liked trying new things or preferred sticking with what was familiar, I would have told you I was the second girl. The if –it-aint-broke-don’t-fix-it girl. I also would have told you plays were lame. It suddenly occurs to me that I don’t seem to know very much about…me. It’s a weird feeling, like maybe a stranger is inhabiting my body. Or maybe a stranger was, and I kicked her out.”
+Senior year: the books takes place over the summer before senior year and Stokes captures the uncertainty of what's to come at the end of high school SO WELL. Wariness of change, figuring out who you are outside of a long term boyfriend and a group of friends. These are things that seniors definitely deal with and it took me back to just two summers ago when I was graduating.

+Micah: SWOON TOWN. Can I just leave it there? Micah was for sure top ten YA book boyfriends material. Mohawk. Tattoos. Eyebrow piercing! He was actually kind of a bad boy but he wasn't a caricature one. I liked that he didn't let Lainey get away with her shit but their relationship was still fun and just my favorite in YA to read about.

The Art of Lainey is such a ME book, it's ridiculous. Challenging heroine, swoony guy, realistic high school setting AND soccer. I couldn't ask for more. I'll definitely be rereading this and picking up Paula Stokes' future books.

Recommended for fans of: realistic AND fun contemporary YA & fake boyfriend trope. 
Rating: [A] is one for the all the contemporary fans!
“Not sure how you can get them to him without looking like a crazy stalker chick," Micah says."You think I'm a crazy stalker chick?"
"You're using an ancient war manual to try to win back your boyfriend. I think you're a girl who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants," he says. "Hey, at least you're committed.” 

“I go through memory after memory, looking for reassurance that nothing has changed, but it's like flipping through a book of stories I've outgrown. Everything has changed.”

“Standing up for yourself is about more than flinging barbed-wire insults around. Its about picking your battles, knowing when to fight, knowing exactly what and who is worth fighting for.” 

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