November 30, 2020

Pretending Blog Tour: Review



Pretending: A Novel
Author: Holly Bourne
Release Date: November 17, 2020
Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD
416 pages


In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.

He said he was looking for a 'partner in crime' which everyone knows is shorthand for 'a woman who isn't real'.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal - yet she can't seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she's found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.

Gretel is perfect - beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She's a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.

When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun - especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

I don't read much "chick lit" because it's not my type of writing, but I'm so incredibly glad that I agreed to give this one a shot. This book is so many different things - funny, sad, heartbreaking, hopeful, and honest. It's a rallying cry for all women but not in the usual way. I can't really describe it the way it deserves. It's one of those books that you really love but can never seem to relay how amazing it truly is to other people.
I loved the entire book and everything that it consisted of - the characters, the plot, the writing style, and everything in between. There were a couple of aspects that really hit home for me though. The first was the main character, April. I swear I've never felt so connected to a person before - real or fictional. From the beginning sentences, I felt like I'd known her forever and she was speaking directly to me from the pages. I honestly can't describe how connected I felt to her. Her thoughts and feelings were spot on and her sense of humor had me laughing out loud even when I was reading alone in the bookstore. Her personality - flaws and all - fit perfectly with mine. I completely understood her on every level imaginable. My heart broke for her during the hard times in the story and I was on her side the whole way through. She was a complex character who was wholly realistic. She had so many great qualities, but she was so flawed at the same time. Not just with bad habits, but with real emotional trauma and mental health issues. The scars from the bad things that had been done to her. I was right in there with her because I've dealt with incredibly similar circumstances. Her inner thoughts have been - and still are - my own thoughts. I honestly can't put into words how much April meant to me as a main character. She became so much more than that, and that's something that I've never experienced before.
The other part of the book goes hand-in-hand with April's character. It was the author's writing style. If you read my reviews, you know that I always prefer the first person point of view because it lets the reader connect with the narrator on a much deeper level. The author used the first person POV for this book and I think it was the perfect fit. If it had been done in a different style, I don't think I would've had this connection to April and to the story itself. I'm so grateful and happy that the author chose to write this from April's perspective. Like I said, it was like I was inside her head (which we basically are throughout the story) but since I had such a personal connection with her, I felt like she was reading my mind and my feelings. I'm going to try to stop talking about April because I'll just ramble on forever. The writing was creative and so incredibly personal. I don't know how else to describe it. It's so frustrating that I can't put into words how I feel about this book and all the various parts of it. I guess if you've ever had that kind of reaction to a book or character, you get it. If not, I probably sound like a raving lunatic who keeps repeating herself. 
I'll just finish with this: This was a truly moving, incredibly raw and honest look at a woman who has been through a lot in life and has the scars to show for it. It speaks about mental illness and trauma in a realistic way that I honestly haven't come across before. I suffer from mental illness and that was a huge part of why I connected with April so much. Everything was real and true to me because I have been there or am there myself right now. But this isn't just a book about a woman who can't seem to find the right guy or a story about dealing with mental health issues. It's a rallying cry for all women. To actually think about the things she says with honesty and see how right she is. For seeing how everything can seem so important but vapid at the same time. Basically, what I'm trying to say is READ THIS BOOK. If you like women's fiction, chick lit, romance, contemporary fiction - then you'll definitely want to pick this up. If you don't normally like these genres, give it a try anyway. You might just find a hidden gem within it's pages.

Holly Bourne is a bestselling UK-based YA and Adult Fiction author and is an Ambassador for Women’s Aid. In 2019, she was an Author of the Day at the London Book Fair, and was named by Elle Magazine’s weekly podcast as one of “Six Female Authors Changing the Conversation in 2019”. Pretending is her US debut.

Buy Links:

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Author Website:

Twitter: @holly_bourneYA

Instagram: @hollybourneya

Facebook: @Holly.BourneYA




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