Format: Uncorrected arc
Author: Lauren Layne
Review by: Onnica
Basic story: Stephanie Kendrick won a coveted place on a film screenwriting course at NYU. Her decision to stick around in New York instead of dealing with her dad in North Carolina, wasn’t taken lightly. Forced to share the same space with her cheating ex and the girl he cheated on her with, home is definitely a place she doesn’t want to be. Dressed head-to-toe in black, sporting many piercings and generally keeping the world at bay, Stephanie isn’t prepared to be paired up in class with the preppy, blond Ethan Price. He’s charming to a fault, but Stephanie thinks she has his number. Slumming it for the summer instead of sailing some yacht in the Hamptons – he’s vapid and lacking in substance.
Ethan Price has lots of expectations put upon him by his family. He’s taking the summer out to think things through and get away from his cheating ex, his best friend and his domineering mother. Bumping into Stephanie Kendrick only reinforces his insecurities about himself not mixing with people outside his social circle. She’s a scowling mess but underneath all of the eye gunk there is something about her that fascinates him. Working together on a film script the pair decide to go with a Pygmalion theme – life begins to imitate art when Ethan propositions Stephanie to be his fake girlfriend for the summer to get his mother off his back and to save face at social gatherings. Stephanie is doubtful, but there is a free room in it for her – so she doesn’t have to stay with her ex. A few weeks posing as someone she used to be – cake walk…
Why you should read this: Lauren Layne has a great ‘voice’ – she’s able to re-spin a story as old as time and make it into something shiny and new. She references all the past takes on Pygmalion (from My Fair Lady to Pretty Woman) and manages to interweave the plot into a modern-day love story and people from very different worlds. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters – Ethan and Stephanie had depth and both had issues underneath the surface.
What you might hate: There is the inevitable boy loses girl for a bit and that may frustrate you – you need to go with it. Stephanie can be prickly and stubborn but fortunately not all the time – she’s a likeable character and so is Ethan. Does it get a bit cheesy at times? Yes. Will it make you feel good? Yes.
Rating: For a valiant attempt to update a very formulaic story, I give this 3/5. You’ll swoon and laugh and maybe even tear up at certain points. It’s a fun, light read that will make you care about the characters and laugh right along with them.