Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey #1
Published May 20, 2014 by Harper Teen
Paperback, 384 pages
Borrowed from library

After three years of dating, Jason breaks up with Lainey. Totally unexpected without even giving an explanation. Just told her they needed a break in front of all her friends at the coffee shop where she works. Lainey is in shock. She and Jason were going strong for so long, they were inseperable. And so, so good together. Unable to cope with the breakup, Lainey devises a plan to win back from reading The Art of War. It's a ten step plan involving spying and a new fake boyfriend to make Jason jealous and drive him back to Lainey. But will it work? Or will everything fall to shambles?

Writing this now, it's just occurred to me how long it's been since I've written a proper review. So excuse me if I'm a little rusty at this, I think I've forgotten how a little. Time to exercise my reviewing muscle again!

So The Art of Lainey. What a fun book. I read it in three hours today. I started it during Ceramics class, read some more during English and then on the subway on my commute home and then walking from the subway back home. Which should be a testament to how much I enjoyed this book because god knows how horrible reading while walking is for your eyes and usually I try to be very careful about not harming them before than I already do by wasting hours away on my laptop and phone but I just COULD NOT put this book down. And then once I got home, I read like a crazy woman and finished it in two hours. And now, I'm writing a review. Writing a review immediately after finishing the book for the first time in ages. This is a really strange feeling but here we go...

To Paula Stokes: thank you for including AUTHENTIC sounding text messages.
I know this is such a random thing to point out but I just have to say it! Because honestly I have such a problem when books include text messages and everything's abbreviated so obnoxiously like evry1 or l8r or c u @ skool tmrw. And okay, maybe it was a creative decision so that people understood clearly that this was dialogue set outside of the actual setting in the book and that it was a text message or an IM message but that doesn't make it any less annoying. Because I'm pretty sure that for the most part, we don't text or message like that! Or at least me and everyone I know don't. Interspersing those numbers in those words takes longer than typing out the actual words themselves and with autocorrect these days, who even needs to type accurately? But Paula, YOUR TEXTS WERE SPOT ON. As far as I saw, there weren't any L8Rs or SKOOLs or EVRY1s (which if I'm being totally honest was part of the reason why TTYL did not work for me). So thank you for that.

I don't know why I'm getting so worked up on such a tiny thing but yeah... just thought I would put it out there exactly how I feel about the portrayal of text messages in books. 

There was too much Lainey for me.
Is that weird to say when she's the main character? But I just felt there was an overload of Lainey. Like even though there were other characters, everything was ALL ABOUT LAINEY. And I don't really know how to explain this because it isn't something I've felt before but it just didn't feel balanced for me. I was really interested in learning more about the other characters because they were so interesting but it was just Lainey 24/7. And maybe this fact particularly bugs me because I didn't like her very much? Like that's probably why I'm bringing this up but ugh I did not like Lainey

She was shallow and obnoxious and annoying and irritating. All she cares about in this book is popularity and her boyfriend Jason who was a total asshat anyway. His reason for breaking up with her? DID NOT BUY IT FOR ONE SECOND. Honestly what a load of shit. And her popular best friend Kendall? HORRIBLE HORRIBLE. 

And on top of that, Lainey was just so... full of herself. I don't want to read about someone who has zero confidence in themselves but there's a line between being self-confident and just arrogant. And it's okay to admit that you're popular or like really pretty and athletic but then there's also that point when it just becomes flaunting and it's obnoxious behaviour.

And there wasn't enough Art of War for me.
I guess the point of the book wasn't really to have a great focus on the Art of War but honestly it was so shoddily included, I would have just scrapped out the entire thing and just had it handed over straight. Like yes, you just got dumped by your boyfriend, now you want him back for god knows what reasons and this is how we're going to go about it: spy on him and his new girl for dirt to use against him and make him jealous. Like that's obvious enough right? You don't need to read the Art of War to get that. So honestly that part just did not do it for me. It would have been interesting if it were executed better.

As for Micah...
He wasn't insufferable. But he wasn't the best either. And it's not just because he's a bad boy. Which he literally is supposed to be. He's roughed up, been to juvie, does weed, has piercings and a mohawk and tattoos. Think of how many classic bad boy stereotypes you can come up with and chances are Micah fits into them. And honestly, he wasn't a bad guy. He was sweet, especially with his younger sister Trinity but he wasn't the nicest guy either. And maybe that's called keeping it real but when this guy is making gross and demeaning comments about you, I don't find that sexy. Maybe for some, it's flattering and maybe I just don't get it. But still, a step up from Jason.

And yet despite all this, The Art of Lainey gave me some serious flutters.
I flew through this book like crazy. And even though there were a lot of things that kinda irked me, it's undeniable that Paula Stokes has written a seriously addicting novel. I could NOT put it down. And at the end, even though Lainey isn't my favourite character ever, I still walked away feeling feels. And thinking that this book would be so much better as a movie. And that I would definitely watch the movie.

I actually quite enjoyed myself reading this book even though I did have a lot of negative things (like the lack of Art of War in this book and the fact that Lainey just wasn't a very likable character) to say, I guess. But honestly props to Paula Stokes for creating a seriously readable book that I just had to read it straight away. That doesn't happen often and when it does happen, I'm definitely keen to take it into consideration!

people looking for a quick romance to give you feels. If you liked On the Fence by Kasie West, you might like this book. There are probably other comparisons I could make but I'm out right now. Sorry.

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