Thursday 2 April 2020

Review: Pretending by Holly Bourne

Care warnings for rape, sexual violence and PTSD

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.
If only April could be more like Gretel.
Gretel is exactly what men want - she's a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
The problem is, Gretel isn't real. And April is now claiming to be her.
As soon as April starts 'being' 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?

Review: Where do I even begin with reviewing this amazing book? How do I do this wonderful piece of fiction justice? This book is so much more than entertainment, this is the book we all needed to read, a book so many of us can identify with, I feel seen and I feel heard and I feel like so many of the things in my head have finally and honestly been put down on paper for all to read. 

This book centres around April who is just such a wonderful character to spend time with, April isn't always likable and doesn't always make the best choices but she is real and she is flawed just like us and she is just so easy to relate to, to empathise with and ultimately we will all be championing her to get through this. 

April has been through a lot, like so many of us and so definitively exercise care if you are triggered by rape, sexual violence or abuse of any kind. This book does deal with some tough subjects but by dealing with those subjects through character April and through this fictional world that she lives in and the fiction world she revolves around somehow there is less of an 'edge'. Rape becomes not a statistic but something that real people deal with all the time and something that not enough people bring to light or talk about what happens when life carries on. I don't know how Holly Bourne managed it but she has woven so much trauma and so much truth into this piece of fiction so that we can all read and relate and recognise. 

For all that this book deals with trauma and sexual violence, there is also heart and humour throughout the pages. This writer just says it like it is, what we're all thinking and she did make me laugh as well as exclaim 'me too' so many times throughout this book. At one point April ponders 'Living Life and being an adult is terrible. Why does nobody tell you how terrible it is?' And there are other moments too where April ponders how to be the perfect date and  what mean really mean when they say on their dating profile that they are looking for a 'partner in crime'. Those moments are just hilarious but definitely fall under the 'if you didn't laugh you would cry' category. 

For a book that has been marketed as a romcom, some people might not expect the depth and the raw emotion that this book contains. It touched my soul and is beautifully written and everybody need to read it now. With phrases like 'leaves slug trails of guilt glistening through my blood' how could you not?

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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