The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Art_of_Lainey_Paula_StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes, published in May 2014 by Harper Teen.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: purchased.

Genre: contemporary YA romance.

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? (Goodreads)

* * *

My rating: 3.5/5

I don’t usually read YA contemporaries. I’ve got nothing against them, I just really like fantasy so my choices tend to veer in that direction. With the exception of The Fault in Our Stars and Ketchup Clouds (which I worked on as a translator), I don’t think I’ve read a single one in the last couple of years. I chose to order The Art of Lainey, however, because I read so many favourable reviews on the blogs that I like, and felt like reading a cute story.

In this regard, The Art of Lainey did not disappoint. It’s a fun, upbeat story about high school romance and popularity. Lainey’s been dumped by her beloved boyfriend, apparently for no reason, and decides, like a fighter that she is, to get him back.

The story is fast-paced, the dialogue fun and bantery and the supporting characters (Lainey’s best friend, especially) are well rounded. I also liked Micah, the boy Lainey asks to help her in her mad scheme of fake dates and jealousy. He’s got his own agenda, so he isn’t some poor, lovesick fool that Lainey uses for her own purposes.

But I had a problem with this book, and as much as I liked the story and everything, there’s one thing I just can’t get past: I didn’t really like Lainey! *hides under covers*

It’s not even the fact that we – as people (let’s pretend she’s real for a moment) – have nothing in common. She’s a soccer player (it’s called football, people, football), a popular (mean) girl, really cute, doesn’t read, is almost universally adored (or so she thinks) and is actually really rude to people she thinks are below her notice. Well, I guess that last part is what bothered me.

I’m sorry, but being popular and beautiful doesn’t make it ok if you’re being a b*tch. There. I said it. And I know we can argue that she changes, that she sees what she’s been doing wrong all this time and all that, but does she ever say she’s sorry about how she’s behaved? Nope, not really.

So. You might love this book. I know that. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, the relationships develop in a natural, not-at-all-instantaneous manner, but I think you’d have to at least like Lainey to love this story. So I didn’t love it, but I liked it. I’m not sorry I’ve read it, but I won’t go shouting about it from the rooftops (I don’t even know if I can get to the roof of my appartment building…).

* * *

Have you read The Art of Lainey? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Can you like a book if you dislike the main character? 

  • I wouldn’t like a person like that in a million years! Luckily, it was still a fun read despite the annoyance of Lainey. Nice review :)

  • I hate it when you just can’t connect with the main character. Really spoils the entire story :(
    I haven’t red this one yet, it’s been on my TBR for quite a while though. Hopefully will get round to it soon, and hopefully Lainey doesn’t ruin it for me! Haha :)

    • Kaja

      Yeah, it kind of kills the fun when you just don’t care what happens to the character… But you might experience it in a completely different way if you like the girl :)