The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #2
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
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One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who's forever owned his heart.
Justin Carter has a secret. He's not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy...and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she'd ever forgive him.
Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she's done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she'll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.
For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate's given him a shot at redemption, he's determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton...well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.
When I read The Fine Art of Pretending a few years ago, I was very interested in seeing if Justin ever got the girl that he was hung up on. I didn’t like Justin for Aly as much as I liked Brandon but thought he was a memorable character. I wanted this book so I was stoked to finally get it.
Freshman year at Fairmont Academy introduces Justin Carter to Peyton Williams. They were drawn to each other from the very first time they set eyes on each other and Justin was very much attracted to the new girl. With each passing day, they find themselves getting closer and closer and Peyton being Justin’s new coach’s daughter doesn’t stop them from hooking up. Of course, they keep things on the down low but the feelings that crop up between the two of them are very much real.
Their relationship really takes off and when things get really complicated, Justin blames himself and the way that he was raised so he makes a decision that affects him, Peyton and their relationship. Now, it’s senior year (three years later) and they’re about to graduate and leave Fairmont Academy behind for good. Peyton is counting down the days but Justin…he’s running out of time. His feelings for Peyton have never gone away and because of that, he wants his girl back. When a class project puts them together as partners, Justin has found his way in to win back Peyton’s love. He’s got just a few weeks to make things right, to explain what really went down Freshman year and hopes that it’s enough to fix what he broke.
Oh man this was a cute YA romance. I really came to love the hell out of Justin and every time he messed things up with Peyton, I wanted to give him a quick kick to the ass. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break but I knew that Peyton still returned his feelings for her so I was excited to keep reading, to see them get it right after all this time.
Peyton was a great character. She was strong and she was smart and even when I thought she stayed with Cade too long, I liked her. I liked that she was young and trying to figure things out. I liked that she tried to keep things between her and Justin friendly, to not get caught up in the old romance between them and then I also liked that she couldn’t help the way she felt for him. I loved when Justin told her that they were inevitable and all those years later, it was still true.
Justin was everything that I hoped he would become. I loved seeing the guy that wasn’t all that beat up when his relationship with Aly didn’t work out. I loved that there was so much more to Justin than everyone knew. There was a depth to him that warmed my heart and charmed the socks right off of me. His story really lived up to the hype that I was building around it in my head.
The romance between Peyton and Justin was cute, it was fun and I wanted to cuddle this book close. I enjoyed the ride and was completely satisfied when the book ended. If I had a gripe with this book, it would probably be how long Peyton stayed with Cade, knowing how she felt about Justin but I chalked that up to her being young. Still, this was a fun book of two characters finding love again after heartbreak and I’m glad that I read this book.
Grade: 4 out of 5