[REVIEW] Pretenders

Series: Pretenders #1
Lisi Harrison
young adult, contemporary, realistic fiction, romance, drama
October 1, 2013

My picture is on page eighteen of Noble High's Phoenix yearbook. I am one of the PHOENIX FIVE. You nominated me. You thought I was one of the most outstanding students in our freshman class. You were wrong. 
Still, I accepted my award. I acted special. But I couldn't help wondering what it was like to be that way for real. So I broke into Ms. Silver's safe in the faculty lounge and stole all five of our journals. I'm not exposing them out of jealousy or anger. I'm doing this because I am tired of the lies. The bar is too high, and cheating is the only way to reach it. Instagrams are filtered, Facebook profiles are embellished, photos are shopped, Manti T'eo's girlfriend was a fake...is anything real anymore? 
I found the answer in our journals. These are 100 percent real and 100 percent unedited. The proof is in the pages. 
We're all pretenders.

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If you focus on success, you’ll have stress. But if you pursue excellence, success will be guaranteed. – Deepak Chopra

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I hate bad endings because they’re freaking difficult to forget and I want them off my mind, but what I hate more than bad endings are cliffhanger-y endings that never give proper closing to a book. And yes, I really just need to get that out of my system because this book just did that – ending in the story’s climax and leaving me free of answers. But we’ll get to that a little later. I’d like to start this review properly~

I wrote a review on Pretenders a few months back and it’s on my goodreads reviews. I picked this book up because I’m a Lisi Harrison fan and this came out when I am starting to go back to reading which was October 2013.

Just like the Clique series which I talked about a few days back, Pretenders also has its good amount of humor which is what I really love about this book. It’s not like Massie’s comeback lines; Pretenders has its own fancy antics in an almost natural way. The funny thing is that reading through Pretenders made me look back at my own journal writings which go waaaay back in highschool (me at 13). It’s naturally funny in such a way that the characters of Pretenders write in their journals about their crushes, rants relating to their friends, family issues, confidence issues, and other very basic things like that.

“Oh,” I said, like I don’t really care. But on the inside my cells were popping like kernels in a microwave. Blake was single. He didn’t like Lily!

Pretenders is more like a character-driven story so enjoying it really depends on how much you get into the characters and the way the write their thoughts. The thing about how the characters are written is that they seem to try so hard to be in character at the beginning of the book. It’s like they have to write this way so that they will have a character (okay, I seriously don’t know if I’m getting my point cross here).

I wanted to cry: Octavia doesn’t need the lead like I do. She never felt alone at her own birthday party or needed applause to feel seen. Or wanted to be someone else so desperately she’s willing to make a career out of it. But I have! I do!

These characters at times seem to like so much attention. They look more like they are trying their freaking best to look sympathetic in a lot of times like how much Vanessa needs top grades and awards, how friendless Sheridan really is, how ‘cool’ Jagger is with all his jailed parents background, how desperate Duffy has become, and how Lily seems to be stuck on unrequited love (crush or stalking). I don’t feel sorry for them. I just amuse myself at how frantic they get over the things they do.

The fancy thing about Pretenders is that it’s really beautiful. Not written in a beautiful way but more like it’s pretty to look at with all the different journaling styles and such. It has quite a lovely presentation.

I think the way to enjoy Pretenders is by not taking it too seriously. It’s the same thoughts I had for the Clique only the the Clique had the upper hand for having proper endings per book. Pretenders is very enjoyable to read in such a way that you don’t think so much, you just relax, get a bit annoyed and laugh at the characters’ decisions. That’s just about it.

My real problem with Pretenders, as I mentioned earlier, is the ending. Pretenders started a bit slow with the characters being whiny talking about their oh-so fabulous yet faulty lives (but some are just plain fabulous). Then things started not going their way. Panic and desperation rises in them. While they are starting to go into more trouble, the book abruptly ends. To make it more clear, climax = ending = not good.

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Pretenders is certainly not a book for everyone. I think every Lisi Harisson books are. It’s a book about whiny kids trying to fit in. It’s full of funny desperate moments and amusing unrequited loves. And also because of these things, I find this fun to reread. But certainly not if you want something substantial.

hilarious. full of whiny kids trying to look cool. 

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