Transformation Gone Wrong: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Author: Rachel Harris
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill
Publisher: Spencer Hill
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.
With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.
But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.
It's so hard to review this book because there's an endless issue about feminism, misogyny and slut-shaming involve. This is the kind of review that I avoid. But we're already here so let's hit the road. What drew me in the first place was the bestfriend-turned-lover troop in YA, but it really came out a terrible read. Teach the woman to love themselves and help them gain their confidence by supporting them in beautifying themselves. BUT NEVER ever tell them that their worth is based on the perception of the guys.
The main character's transformation: from the usual baggy pants and jersey shirts to wearing make-up, tank tops, skimpy short and skirts, but it's not for her own, but for the male population. Period. Now, we don't forget her bestfriend that started feeling intimate/romantic about her when she brought out the girly-ness in her. That's why the romance also didn't work on me. It really felt forced. The lack of deep, strong friendship connection here between Aly and Brandon made me wonder where all these love love love thing came from.
The main character is obsessed of having a guy to like her. She feverishly wants to be a CASUAL: oh you know, the let's mess up and make out and do god knows what for a few weeks because damn girl you're hot kind of girl. She transformed herself for the benefit of catching a guy's attention, and not just a guy but the most popular guy in their school. So she and her bestfriend decided to pretend they're a thing to make the POPULAR GUY jealous and see her as someone worth hooking up (I can not even count how many times this book mentioned the word hookup ugh). Aside from the fact that that was so messed up, Aly, the protagonist, was so whiny about everything that doesn't satisfy her. Brandon too was meh. He keeps on thinking the right thing, chastising Aly's choices because hell yeah his resolutions are more rational than Aly's, but where are the actions?? His voice didn't sound interesting and his POV seemed so similar with Aly's. There was no distinct voices from two different person.
I would have stop reading the book around 50% because the overall tone and plot was getting vacuous and nonsense but I love torturing myself so I continued.
The stereotype here was disgusting. Lauren is the 'slutty' one that takes away the hot guys and the usual no string attached hooker. She is meant to destroy the other girls' life because she's that hot and gorgeous. She's blatantly suggestive and gives you the stink eye with no qualm. She's always looked at as the unworthy teenager/girlfriend. STOP THE SLUT-SHAMING DAMN IT! Until the end of the book I still haven't figured out what's her purpose. And what the heck is this popularity hierarchy? Does this really exist?!?!?!
Justin is the most popular guy in school
Brandon is the second popular guy in school
Is there a freaking popularity poll in their school????
About the last 20 something pages of the book, the author finally got the hang of this misconception and tried to salvage the story. Atleast she tried. But the resolution was also cringe-worthy to me. Yadah, yadah, you realized how ridiculous what you've been doing CHECK! Good for you girl! But you continue to encourage yourself that you should be dressed this way, that way for people to like you and not because you're YOU.
The book failed to deliver its message. Clearly, the author wanted this book to be cute, funny and entertaining whilst imparting wisdom. But it bungled on delivering its message perspicaciously. There were cute moments and dialogues that entertained me. The book, for me, turned into a confusing, unsavory mess that made me want to pull my hair out. You really don't know what the author wants to say and claim about a woman's self-worth. In the end it was still entertaining on the least and cute at some moments due to the other characters banter but I don't highly recommend this. I wouldn't allow any young girls to read this at all. Even my 17 year old self will not like this on the least. Maybe it's just me and my views on self-worth, feminism, misogyny, and sexism.