Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes


Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Series: The Art of Lainey #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 20th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 376
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChapters !ndigo

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?


So here’s another contemporary YA book. There seems to be quite a few this year and that means my expectations for them get a little higher with each one I read, or rather I lose patients for the typical cliches. I was plum surprised to have this book turn out to be exactly my cup of tea!

Lainey’s perfect dream senior year is shattered when her boyfriend Jason dumps her (at work in front of all her co-workers no less). But she’s not going to take this lying down. When her friend Bianca suggest using the book, The Art of War, as manual to win back Jason, Lainey goes all out. All’s fair in love and war, right?

I love that Sun Tzu’s The Art of War plays such a huge part of the book. Stokes does a fantastic job of incorporating into the story, all the while providing us with a fun history lesson on The Art of War, too.

The Art of Lainey ended up being a perfect balance of all the things I love about adorable rom-com contemporary YA without it being overdone. Nothing makes me happier than sensible* teenagers reacting in a sensible manner. Here are a few of the things that I really enjoyed about this book:

[*I say sensible, but the fact is teenagers are not usually know for being super logical. What I mean is that I feel like Stokes gives us teenagers who react appropriately to the situation like real teenagers would based on our culture and understanding. There’s actual rational thinking and growth of the characters]

1.  Lainey. It’s always a good thing to like the titular character. She’s a bit crazy (well… I guess you can say more shallow) but never enough to truly get annoyed with her because in the end, she actually does at least attempt to think things through. It’s nice to see her growth throughout the book.

2. The friendship between Bianca and Lainey. This is a beautiful friendship. Everyone needs to have a friend like this in their life. Oh and the relationship between Lainey and her brother.

3. Micah. He looks like the bad boy (Mohawk, tattoos, piercings and all), but really, he does have that heart of gold. I know, it sounds really cliche, yet somehow he isn’t quite. I don’t even know Stokes does it.

4. Fake dates! It’s like the modern day Marriage-of-Convenience trope! They fall in love! What’s not to love?! Especially when there’s no insta-love!

5. And also, lack of love triangle!! Despite when you think about this story line (of borrowing Boy 2 to make Boy 1 jealous, but developing feeling for Boy 2, which is just asking for a love triangle) you never really see it. Hallelujah!

Overall, The Art of Lainey was such a cute and breezy read. Stokes gave us almost-cliched tropes, yet she does something wonderful to them to give it a fresh feel. It’s a pinch of romance, a dash of family and friendship, a smidgen of self-discovery and a whole lotta fun. It definitely left a big smile on my face. So if you like YA contemporaries, or cute romance with cute boys, or a little self-discovery, or good writing, or any of the above, definitely pick up The Art of Lainey.

{Thanks to Harper Teen & Edelweiss for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Paula Stokes

Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.

When she's not working (rare), she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She's petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant's trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.


Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes”

  1. Ah! Wasn’t this one so adorable?!? You’re so right that she’s able to take cliches and execute them in a fresh way that makes you understand why they became popular tools! 😀 Great review Cyn!

    1. YES! Very true, they’re popular for a reason, right! It was definitely a pleasant and fresh surprise with this book!
      Thanks (:

  2. Sounds like everyone is loving this cute, light contemporary and I am really loving the sound of it! I will have to pick it up when I get the chance. Lovely review Cyn!

    1. I hope you enjoy it! It’s definitely perfect for when you need cute and fluffy contemporaries (:

  3. Yep I want to read this. The cover just makes me smile every time I see it and your list, has me adding it for sure!

    1. Yay, I hope you enjoy it!!

  4. This really does sound great. I have seen it around a bit lately and the reviews that I have read are positive. I am going to add it to my TBR, finally. Thanks for your review.

    1. It’s a really nice quick and adorable read (: Definitely worth checking it! Hope you enjoy it!!

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