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Playing Pretend by Juliana Haygert

Playing Pretend

by Juliana Haygert

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Playing Pretend has not been so fun or real. This was a light, sexy dive into the rich and powerful world where being someone else was the way to survive the game being played. For Charlotte one carefree week of fun in the sun and in the arms of a very delicious stranger gave her a sense of who she wanted to truly be, but life has a way of taking you back down the road you don’t want to go. Back home and in her world Charlotte finds that being the real person was no longer acceptable and it was time to go back to playing pretend.

Mason was by all means a guy that knew how to have fun. Especially during Spring Break. But things take a change in a different direction after meeting Charlotte. She changes the course of his life and the meaning of it. Making the huge decision to move on and start anew, he never expected to find that woman that change everything for him.

Charlotte grows a lot in this one. She learns a valuable lesson of accepting one’s self and standing up for herself. She grows in strength and purpose. Mason was just Mason. He was sweet, strong, and understanding of Charlotte. This romance was darling.

I am not sure what the book was like before, but this time with the new content and the revised edit. I am going to say that I really enjoyed this story. Seeing how people deal with the pretend side of life opens my eyes to a new way of living or the way others live. ( )
  thebookjunkiereads | Jan 20, 2017 |

Charlotte's entire life is a carefully constructed and tirelessly maintained façade. The right clothes, the right dates, the right education ... It's all required for playing the part of the governor's perfect daughter. But when Spring Break comes along, she gets a taste of freedom, of life out from under the microscope, and of the delectable Mason, a bartender who doesn't know who she is, doesn't expect her to play a part, and doesn't leave her thoughts long after their fling is over.

Mason isn't quite sure what to make of the carefree girl spending her Spring Break in his hometown. She won't tell him her last name or share any details about her life, but none of that matters when they're making the most of every moment together. They both know it can't last -- vacation romances never do -- but this is different, better, something altogether more than either of them expected to feel. And it's easy to forget about his ex-girlfriend's betrayal when Charlotte's by his side.

They thought it was over when Spring Break ended. Charlotte returned to her sterile, scripted life, and Mason moved ahead with his college plans. But then he accepts a waiter gig at a catered party and comes face to face with the girl that got away. Her mother will never approve, the media will be all over them, but the spark that flared during Spring Break is about to burst into full flame.

For about 90% of the book, I thought the pacing was brilliant. While most authors rush to get their characters together, only to throw heaps of crazy drama at them, in Playing Pretend it wasn't so easy -- and that's a good thing! Charlotte resisted, though we all knew she'd give in eventually, and it made for an anxious tension that led perfectly into sneaking around. So when the story came to a close with a rushed ending, wrapped up a little too easily, I wasn't sure what to think. Don't get me wrong -- it was still a great read -- but I wish the careful pace hadn't been abandoned so suddenly.

While the plot line certainly points to a million cliches, Playing Pretend dodges the expected and takes a refreshingly simple -- and in that sense realistic -- approach. When Charlotte and Mason separated at the end of Spring Break, it was clear that something wonderful had awakened between them, but instead of pining and desperately plotting to find each other, they moved on with their lives -- albeit with some wishful thinking about each other. It's so true to how things like that play out in real life, and that's what makes this story different -- and better.

Sure, Charlotte's rich, a bit famous in her part of the world, and should be the stereotypical rebellious princess. Instead, she does what so many young women do when trapped under a parent's thumb -- she lies and sneaks and covers but can't bring herself to simply take a stand. It's that great compromise that isn't too uncommon in the face of young love... Sneak around with the boy for as long as possible, use friends and events and excuses galore to get away with it, and completely avoid the consequences for as long as possible -- even though you know they're coming.

And Mason... Aside from being hot as hell, he's just a good, patient, incredibly understanding guy. He wishes things were different, that they could easily and publicly be together, but he gets it. He gets why Charlotte keeps him under wraps, and he doesn't harp on her about it or give her some impossible ultimatum. It's so nice to see a leading man who doesn't resort to the selfish and rash behavior I've seen in so many other stories like this!

If you're a sucker for the "classic" romance story lines but feel like they're all the same, definitely check out Playing Pretend. It's got the boyfriend Mom doesn't approve of, the wannabe boyfriend society seems appropriate, and the girl who desperately just wants to live her life on her own terms, but it's not just another retelling of the same old story!

***FicCentral received this book from YA Bound Book Tours for free in exchange for an honest review. Even so, we're far too opinionated to let a freebie influence our thoughts or the contents of the reviews we post here. ( )
  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
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