Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 20, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."Lainey is hoping this summer will be her best one yet, but things take a turn for the worse when her boyfriend, Jason, breaks up with her out of the blue at her parents' coffee shop. She is beside herself, because she has no clue why he has done it, so her best friend, Bianca, refer to the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is assigned summer reading. They realize that in order to get him back or "win" this battle, they must take some pages straight from Tzu's playbook. Also, Lainey realizes that she needs a fake boyfriend in order to do this. Who better than her co-worker and resident bad boy, Micah, to play that role? Micah wants to make his ex-girlfriend jealous as well, so they make plans to show up where their exes may be. But what happens when Lainey actually starts to have feelings for Micah, a person who she swears isn't her type? The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (a.k.a. Fiona Paul) is a summertime novel that reads like a favorite romantic comedy.
Lainey is a breath of fresh air in the young adult contemporary genre. She is very dedicated to soccer and getting a scholarship to college. Yes, she wants to get her boyfriend back, but she also has her own life: a job outside of school, a best friend, a promising future in soccer, and a stable family who supports her. Even though Lainey lacked some depth at times, I enjoyed her overall in The Art of Lainey.
Her fake relationship with tattooed Micah is no doubt predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I wasn't the biggest fan of Jason (he dumped her in public!?!), so I was rooting for him from the get-go. I didn't even want Lainey to work so hard to get back with Jason from the start, but it was pure summertime fluff and fun reading about Micah and Lainey's shenanigans. The Art of Lainey is partially a story of opposites attract and also figuring out what you want. Lainey initially thought she wanted Jason back, but as she starts to implement strategies from The Art of War and spends more time with Micah, she has some an epiphany about what she truly wants. I'm sure you can guess what that is.
The Art of Lainey reminds me of the romantic comedies I would rent as a teenager and there's nothing better than that sort of story in the summertime. If you are looking for a sweet young adult novel, check out The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes this summer.