Monday, 7 April 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Release date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 274
Source: Edelweiss

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.

The Art of Lainey is a fun, light contemporary infused with teen drama, humour, and of course romance. Though I did have issues with it, I really enjoyed the book on the whole. It's the kind of book that'll perk you up when you're down, or keep you engaged when you're bored.

Lainey Mitchell is popular, gorgeous, star of the soccer team and girlfriend of Jason Chase, her male equivalent. So when Jason breaks up with her out of the blue, she feels like her life has been turned upside down. Lainey needs him back; she needs the familiarity back. So she and her best friend Bianca come up with a plan, using The Art of War as a guide. Things start picking up when Lainey strikes a deal with resident rocker Micah so they can both get their exes back. But when dynamics start changing, Lainey is left wondering whether getting back with Jason is the best idea after all.

I had a real problem with Lainey throughout the first third of the book. She was stereotypical and really judgmental and I just didn't like her. Just because someone has tattoos and piercings she thinks they're freaks and complete weirdos. Micah calls her shallow at one point and I completely agree. I guess I took more offense at her attitude because I'm into similar kind of stuff Micah is. I love punk and hard rock. I think mohawks are cool. And I'd love to get tattoos when I head off to college. Maybe even a piercing or two. And being judged for who you are and what you like is really messed up. Also, that fact that she wants to get back with Jason because they're basically the same person and because she 'can't live without him' is fairly ridiculous. Okay I'm rambling a bit. But I really hated Lainey's attitude. She gets over it towards the middle of the book, thank goodness. She even starts liking some punk rock music, which is pretty surprising. I'm just glad there's character development there, or else I would've spent the entire book cursing at her in my head.

Micah, of course, I adored. I'm wishing so hard right now that he were real! Micah has a cool spiky mohawk, tattoos, and an eyebrow piercing. He's really into punk, rock and metal, and he's the kind of guy most 'normal' people would stay away from. Again, I take offense that people in this book *cough* Lainey *cough* think he's abnormal because of the way he dresses or the music he's into. Micah's also a bit of a contradiction - he's an awesome baker. He helps out in Lainey's dad's restaurant, and he's pretty damn good at it. Micah is funny, sweet, and insanely hot. I picture Andy Biersack from Black Veil Brides when I think of Micah, and that just makes him even more hot in my mind.

One other thing bothered me while reading, but that's just because this is an American novel - the fact that football is referred to as soccer throughout. I get pissed when my friends call it soccer, so reading it all over this book was pretty hard. Gosh, this is going to kill me when I go to university in the US this fall!

Lainey and Micah don't get along at all in the beginning, but as they go on their agreed 5 dates each to get their respective exes back, Lainey realizes she's having a good time with him, and she even begins to like him. Which is a problem, because he's still trying to get back with his ex-girlfriend, Amber. Things get very Shakespearean-comedy for a while, with everyone going after the wrong people and it's all a big jumble. That was definitely fun to read!

I know I haven't said much about the plot, but I want to keep it that way. Anyway, this book is more about the characters than anything else. How Lainey tries new things and rediscovers herself, and how Micah realizes there's more to the elusive popular mean-girl than he thought.

So though I had big issues with Lainey for a while, I liked the overall story and I absolutely loved Micah. I do also love that Lainey is an amazing football player. Yes, I have to call it football. I'm a huge fan of the sport, and it was awesome that there was a scene with a match going on. You don't see much of English football in YA novels, since most of them are by American authors. So this was a great change. I'd definitely recommend The Art of Lainey to any contemporary fans - you guys will eat this one right up!

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

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