Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (ARC)

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
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?
 Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author as a contest winner. This did not affect my review in any way, and I am in no way being compensated for this review.

"If you love sweet, funny, real contemporary romances, this is the book for you."

You've probably already heard about the awesome-ness that is The Art of Lainey. And for good reason too. If you love sweet, funny, real contemporary romances, this is the book for you. It would probably be a quick read for me, if school hadn't gotten in the way. There's just so much that I love about the book, and I really recommend this book.

The first aspect of the book that struck me was the fact that it connects real life to The Art of War. I mean, how awesome is that? The inclusion of The Art of War tied hand-in-hand with the book, and it enhanced the book in every way. It turned a story that might not necessarily be unique to being incredibly fresh and new. I loved the spin, and I especially love how it was also used to highlight Lainey's change.

Speaking of Lainey and her change, for a large portion of the first half of the book, I could barely connect to Lainey at all. I sort of felt bad for her, but at the same time, she was almost the epitome of the popular girls I don't like. But one of my favorite aspects of The Art of Lainey was her change throughout the book. She learned so much, and she became a better person. She learns who she really is, who she really trusts, what she cares about, and she learns to see the world and other people in such a different light. She went through such a journey, and after getting past the beginning (I knew she was going to change, so it wasn't a huge deal), I just felt every emotion for this girl.

Other characters were also really amazing and well-written. Of course, there's Micah, whom everyone talks about when they talk about this book. I love Micah too. We're told he's a bad boy, but honestly, he doesn't come off as the traditional bad boy you find in books, which made me love him even more. He's funny, caring, and just so genuine. He's the kind of boyfriend I would want--although I hate that he smokes. DON'T SMOKE, GUYS.

But another character I really loved was Bianca, aka Bee. As much as The Art of Lainey is about the romance, a large portion of it is also about the amazing friendship between Bee and Lainey. They really look out for one another, and they have such a solid friendship. They have small bumps along the way, but in the end, they're really close friends. Their friendship is beautiful and everything one could ever hope for in a relationship.

The other characters--Leo, Trinity, Amber, Jason, Kendall, Lainey's parents, etc--were equally well-written. I also really enjoyed Jason's character in that he's really well-written and complex. We get a glimpse into his side of the story, mainly a la Kendall, but I think it was important to see that, especially since it showed Lainey's character growth. Trinity is another one of my favorite characters because she's just so kind and pure. We don't learn a whole lot about Leo, but I like him too. He's also another fairly pure, sweet character, and I love that about him.

So the plot is fairly predictable, but as I'll explain in a future Fiction Friction, that was totally okay with me. I often find that it's more about how the story and the characters get to the predictable end point. I can't say I was always surprised, but there were little parts that I wasn't necessarily expecting or that I thought a character would act/react differently. I guess it's sort of like Sarah Dessen--you know what's going to happen in the end, but you still love the story because the rest of it is so unique. So yeah, I think I'd compare this book to Sarah Dessen's books. This is just as well written, if not better (I haven't read Dessen's books in a while). The characters are so great and complex. The romance is to die for (you'll understand this reference/joke when you read the book ;)). The friendship is beautiful. And so much more. I just love this book so much, and I highly recommend The Art of Lainey if you're looking for a fun, quick, cute summer read.
The Art of Lainey: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Paula Stokes: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


  1. I've been keen to read this one. Good review! Glad you like it. :)

    1. Thanks! :) I hope you'll enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

  2. I have heard so many good things about this book! Need to read it!!

    1. Yes! It's so great! (if you couldn't already tell from my review hahaha)


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