ARC Book Review | The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 4:30 AM

Format: e-ARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 20, 2014

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn't going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him...

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what's really worth fighting for.

My Thoughts

Lainey Mitchell has the perfect life, she’s a star soccer player, has the perfect boyfriend and great friends. She has her whole senior year mapped out, until her perfect boyfriend, Jason, breaks up with her at her job, in front of everyone. But instead of breaking down, Lainey and her best friend Bianca hatch a plan to win Jason back before school starts back so that Lainey can have the senior year that she’s envisioned.

After scouring the internet for ideas on how to win back your ex doesn’t prove useful, Bianca comes up with something a little different. She gets the idea to use a book on their summer reading list, The Art of War as a guide, after all love is a battlefield, right?

The first thing on Lainey’s list is to find a guy to pretend date in order to make Jason jealous. Enter Micah, Micah works as a cook at her dad’s coffee shop and since his girlfriend just broke up with him recently, Lainey feels that they can benefit each other. They make a deal to fake date in order to make their exes jealous but once they get to know each other, will they be able to say goodbye if their plan works?

I thought Lainey was a really great character and she was super easy to relate to. I really feel like she grows quite a bit in the course of this book, at the beginning she came off as a tad bit shallow and it irked me that she only saw herself as ‘Jason’s Girlfriend’. I get that she had been with him for 2 ½ years and it’s hard to let that go, I mean, I’ve been to the point to where I didn’t want to give up on someone and have tried to win them back before, but unfortunately we usually come to realize that everything happens for a reason and what’s in the past is usually left in the past. Or at least that was my experience. But it killed me that she didn’t see that Jason was a selfish asshat and that she could do so much better.

However, I really liked Micah, he was funny, sweet and I loved that he was different and he wasn’t afraid to be who he was. He was the totally opposite of douchebag Jason. Yeah, he has the whole bad boy appearance going on with the tattoos and eyebrow piercing but underneath he was a really great person. Jason on the other hand, has the whole good guy jock appearance but once we learned a little more about him, I didn’t think he was that great of a person. 

I adored the relationship between Lainey and Bianca and I think it’s one of the best BFF friendships that I have come across in a YA book. I do wish we got more Bianca time though, it seemed like she kind of faded out a little bit toward the middle of the book. But, Lainey’s other friend, Kendall, I absolutely loathed her. She’s the type of person who thinks that she is god’s gift to humanity and that she can do and say anything she wants, no matter who it hurts in the process. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to punch her in the face.

Overall, The Art of Lainey is a fun and entertaining read and the pacing makes it a quick read. While there were a few times that I did want to shake Lainey and get her to see what kind of person Jason actually was and that she could do so much better, I really enjoyed her journey and I feel like she grew so much as a person by the end of this book.


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