We have a contemporary YA blog tour today with Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips. Enjoy.
Release Date: 06/30/15
When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High's resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:
1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.
Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?
Praise:"Edgy and honest, Faking Perfect is the real thing." - Huntley Fitzpatrick
"Poignant, edgy, and real, Faking Perfect is an honest look at the courage and strength it can often take simply to be yourself." - Julianna Scott, author of The Holders
ExcerptTyler finished his cigarette and dropped the butt into the half-empty can of 7-Up on my nightstand. As he did this, I heard a cough coming from upstairs and then footsteps plodding across the floor. My mother was walking from her bedroom, where she stayed up late every night watching the Game Show Network, to the kitchen, which was right above my room. Next, she would pour herself a glass of iced tea or white wine if there was any left over from the weekend, and then trudge back to her bedroom and shut the door. Family Feud, Press Your Luck, Match Game, Password, The Price is Right... she watched them all for hours on end, her expression never changing aside from a raised eyebrow now and again when a contestant was being particularly boneheaded. She gave me the same look sometimes.
“Okay, it’s time to go now,” I said, elbowing Tyler in the ribs. It freaked me out that he was beside me and not evacuating the house like it was on fire, which had been the case most other nights. Having him here while my mother was awake went way beyond my comfort zone. “I have a math test first period tomorrow. Come on.” I poked him again, and he finally started to get up.
“Oh yeah, I guess I do, too.” He looked down at me and smirked again. “Thanks for helping me study again. I never knew vectors and shit could be so interesting.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, even though we hadn’t studied at all. The last time we really studied together was back in late September, when I used our upcoming math quiz as an excuse to get him into my room for the first time. He needed a tutor, I needed an outlet. It was all very practical and casual. Clinical, almost. Devoid of emotion.
Lately, though, I could feel something changing, the way animals can sense when a storm is near. A subtle shift in the air between us. A possessive look burning into my back as I passed him in the hall at school. A touch so gentle it made my breath hitch. And now this, sticking around as long as he dared, not quite ready to leave.
This was bad. It seemed Tyler was on the verge of breaking the one rule I’d left unspoken. Do not get attached.
I needed to squash this problem immediately.
Rating: 4 of 5
Cover comment: I thought Lexi had strawberry blond curls. Whatever. It's a nice cover, not that reflective of the story in my opinion, but still nice.
Book source: Netgalley
In between the really cute and clean romances and the pure escapist ones, I like to grab an edgy contemporary and get immersed in something gritty and real. Faking Perfect is billed as such a read and from the synopsis, I figure this will be something along the lines of one of my favorite YA contemps, The Duff. It is and it isn't.
I'll start by saying some blurbs don't really reflect the story they're supposed to promote. I expected an intense relationship between Lexi and Tyler and didn't really see it. Their scenes were short and I expected more. They had chemistry and I wanted to see the dynamics, what made them connect so well. Instead, Lexi told us about some of their moments and I wanted to see them unfold. I liked the idea of Lexi and Tyler and the how and why they got together. Instead, I felt this was lightly touched upon. Again, Tyler did appear in some scenes but I wanted to see more of him. Now a book from his viewpoint would be one I'd like to read.
Lexi had to figure out the smart, popular kids weren't the group of friends she needed, including the hot guy Ben, and her character did develop over the duration of the story which delved into more of a journey of self-discovery (internal and external) and the shedding of the fake to become more whole. Lexi needed to figure out the truth about her friends and why she chose to be a part of their group. What she really has to do is start at the beginning with getting the truth about her parents, especially her dad.
Okay, I will admit I did become frustrated with Faking Perfect at times and I blame it on the synopsis. Despite that issue, I thought the book excelled at her character development. Lexi had a strong, distinct voice and I enjoyed a lot of her introspective moments and thoughts. Her candidness when she looked at her life and situations was touching and for this reason, the book scored high with me. When she was with her 'friends' she turned into someone fake, while with Nolan she was able to be herself, down to earth and not worried about what she said or did. What she saw in Ben besides his looks I'll never get. With the exception of Shauna (a pregnant girl with a sense of humor-liked her lots), Ben and his cousin were not likable. It was so refreshing to see the relationship between Nolan and Lexi as just pure friendship and nothing more.
In order to overcome her need to fake being the perfect student, friend and girlfriend, Lexi had to grow and a huge part of this development stemmed from her interactions with her mother and finding out about her father. I thought the scenes when she dealt with her dad were well done and I really felt her emotions from her rage to finally her acceptance. It was cool that she kept a snake for a pet too. The after prom party scene was good and yet I wanted more of Tyler with Lexi. All in all, despite wanting more of the dynamics of the couple featured in the blurb, I enjoyed Lexi's story in Faking Perfect. I guess, in a way, I too wanted this to be one of those perfect books. I'll blame that need on Lexi.
About the AuthorRebecca Phillips has been a fan of contemporary young adult fiction ever since she first discovered Judy Blume at the age of twelve. After a brief stint writing bad poetry as a teenager, she finally found her niche with realistic, coming‑of‑age YA. Her third novel, OUT OF NOWHERE, was a finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She's also the author of the best-selling JUST YOU series. Her next YA novel, FAKING PERFECT (Kensington), is set to be released on June 30, 2015.
Rebecca lives just outside the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband, two children, and one spoiled rotten cat. She absolutely loves living so close to the ocean. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she can be found vacuuming up cat hair, spending time with her family, watching reality TV, reading all different genres of books, or strolling around the bookstore with a vanilla latte in her hand.
Rebecca is represented by Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency.
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