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?
This is my first experience reading a book from Holly Bourne and overall I did find it to be an emotional and impactful read. The absolute win for this book was how April was written and the glimpses we got into her psyche and how she worked through things. Did she always take the right path or do the right thing? No, but who does. Since this is the first time I’ve read anything by Bourne I can’t speak to how alike it is to her other books, but the writing style was easy to get into and flowed really well in my opinion.
Be aware that there are definite trigger warnings for sexual assault, rape and doubting self worth. It is an emotional story and while there is definitely a lot of humor thrown in, I wouldn’t necessarily call it light hearted or a light read. It definitely is tackling a number of issues that can be triggering to people, or may be more on the emotional side for people, so know that going in.
Overall I did feel it was an important story to tell, if at times hard to confront, and did enjoy the reading experience. In the times we are in it is a good story for when you are wanting to examine things that are happening in current society, and how someone who is healing from assault (as well as other lifelong issues) can come back from that and continue to live their lives.
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.
SOCIAL LINKS | Author website | Twitter: @holly_bourneYA |
Instagram: @hollybourneya | Facebook: @Holly.BourneYA