By: Celine | May 27, 2014 | (24) Comments

Discussion Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Discussion Review by Melanie and Celine

*This review is spoiler-free*

Melanie: How awesome and adorable was The Art of Lainey? I. LOVED. Every. Bit. (Well majority of it, anyway.)

Celine: It was SUPER awesome and adorable! It was just so fluffy and cute and MICAH. But more on that later.

Melanie: Eeep that name just makes me want to get up from my desk and do a mini fangirly dance 😛

Celine: (Micaaaaaahhhhhh!)

Melanie: Lainey was a brilliant protagonist. She was so fun and I liked how we got to see inside a popular girl’s head.

Celine: I’ll admit, I wasn’t too fond of Lainey at first. She seemed a bit too much… I didn’t really like her spray-tanned, overly dramatic personality at first. And of course the way she mooned over her ex, Jason, who clearly wasn’t the right person for her. But she got a great amount of character growth and I loved the way she turned out! I really grew to love her.

Melanie: Yes that’s true, however I think I clicked with her a little quicker than you. The spray tan did irk me because gosh, could you get any more phonier but it’s a pretty realistic portrayal of some teen girls these days.

Celine: I also loved Bianca, Lainey’s best friend. This friendship, guys. I loved it.

Melanie: BIANCA IS AMAZING. She’s one of my favourite best friend characters and she had her own life, if you know what I mean. Some books have a best friend who shows up whenever the MC calls on them–which is great–nevertheless here, Bianca has her own life and there’s one or two instances when Lainey asks if Bianca can come over but she can’t because she has her own family plans. Best friends are not toys. They have their own lives to deal with and I like how this book suggested that here.

Celine: Yes, it was made clear that Bianca had her own life. However, that didn’t mean she wasn’t there for Lainey. On the contrary. They could call each other in the middle of the night, they helped each other out… This friendship was just amazing.

Melanie: Agreed! They are so fun together. >.<

I guess in some ways this was also a coming of age story. Lainey always saw herself as Jason’s girlfriend and when she was dumped, she was completely and utterly lost. 

Celine: Yes, it took her a while to find out who Lainey was, exactly. Lainey always saw herself as Jason’s girlfriend or Bianca’s friend, but never as Lainey. The way she slowly grew into herself was great.

What did you think of the way The Art of War was incorporated?

Melanie: I thought it was very quirky and a fun idea! I loved how Lainey used it to help guide her, but not form who she was. What about you?

Celine: I have to admit I thought it was a tiny bit random. Can you imagine breaking up with your boyfriend and then having your friend say, “ooh, we could use this age-old book I just happened to have read”? Because I couldn’t. However, I did like the way it was incorporated into the story and how the girls used the tactics. 

Melanie: Yeh, it was a little weird and random hence I say it was quirky but it was a fun addition.

Celine: Though let’s be honest – I was reading more for a certain EXTREMELY SHIPPABLE romance than for The Art of War. *coughs*

Melanie: EHEHE. CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE ROMANCE NOW I WANNA TALK ABOUT LAINEY AND MICAAAAAAAAH

Celine: MICAAAAAAAAAH.

Melanie: *makes song about Micah*

Celine: *fangirls*

The romance. Oh my, it was SO shippable. Micah + Lainey = perfection. It was so slow burn and it used the fake dating trope, which I really love.

Melanie: Yes, I insta-shipped them from the second Micah was mentioned in this book. They are absolutely wonderful and perfect for each other and their chemistry was so REAL.

Celine: It’s just so obvious that they BELONG together. My ship. *hugs them both* *makes them kiss*

Melanie: SAH MANY SHIPPY FEELS.

Remember this?

Micah: *breaks cookie* oh whoops cookie broke can’t sell it now *gives to Lainey*
Me: ASDFGJKL; *flails*

Celine: YES THAT WAS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SCENES! They’re just so adorable and asdfjkl;

Melanie: I KNOOOOW RIGHT? ALL MICAH AND LAINEY SCENES WERE AMAZING.

Celine: Basically, if you love shippy feels and adorable romance, pick up The Art of Lainey NOW. Oh, and if you’re looking for a good friendship, of course.

~Thank you HarperTeen for sending us a review copy!~

4 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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24 Responses to Discussion Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

  1. “Shippy feels and adorable romance”?? I think I need this. 🙂 Contemporaries aren’t my favourite thing of ever BUT when I find a good one I love it to pieces. I’m curious about the Art of War aspect!
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Blog Party Day #3: We have a GIFing discussion and do our TagMy Profile

  2. I enjoyed your discussion review ladies, how awesome does this book sound? I just love the sound of it and how Art of War is incorporated into it and the shipping <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman Review: Hitler up close and personalMy Profile

  3. I love this review format, girls! It’s different, candid and definitely fun. I haven’t heard of this one before, but it sounds sweet, which is what I’ve been in the mood for lately. Lovely thoughts!

  4. Pili says:

    This was such a fun review/discussion!! =D
    I adored this book and despite feeling like shaking Lainey a pair of times, I liked her from the beginning, spray tan and all!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: The Truth Against The World by Sarah Jamila Stevenson!My Profile

  5. This is how Kate and I talk about books in real life! You made the book sound so good 😀 I do need to add this to my TBR because, Mel’s ‘happy dance’ is much needed in my life (meaning, I need to do that, too!). Lovely review, girls!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 172 : Looking for Alibrandi by Melina MarchettaMy Profile

  6. You two are adorable. <3

    I'm glad you enjoyed this! I'm just about to finish it myself, and I loved it too. 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Top Ten Characters We’d Want in Our FamilyMy Profile

  7. So glad you ladies loved this one. I haven’t read a bad review yet. I read it way back in Feb and loved it. Yes, it takes awhile to grow attached to Lainey, but she is great. Paula stokes is amazing, I met her and she is fab!
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Tell Me Something Tuesday #58: Read the Book or See the Movie?My Profile

  8. Love this joint review and I love the sound of this book! I must read it, STAT!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…The Minnow by Diana SweeneyMy Profile

  9. haha such a cute review! thanks for both your thoughts. Micah sounds amazing, and I love that the friendship in the book was realistic too. It’s great to show that the MC’s bestie has their own life too.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko TamakiMy Profile

  10. Whoops, I was reading the review thinking Micah was a girl – since I know a girl named Micah! Haha. This sounds like a really cute read. Incorporating The Art of War might be a bit random, but I usually forgive these things easily in books (I’m totally a softie). Great review, guys, I love these ones 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Loony’s Musings: what’s with the lack of diversity in YA speculative fiction?My Profile

  11. Megan says:

    This one sound so cute! I can’t wait to meet this Micah!
    Megan recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Dove ArisingMy Profile

  12. Zoe N. says:

    This one sounds absolutely adorable! Light and fluffy reads are always wonderful, so I’m definitely going to give this a try when I’m in the mood for something like that. 🙂

    I’m loving the sound of the emphasis on Bianca and Lainey’s friendship. It sounds like such a positive friendship, and we don’t get nearly enough of that in YA literature, so that’s definitely appealing!

    And yeah for a swoony romance! 😉

    Thanks for sharing Celine & Mel! Glad you both enjoyed it! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…SekretMy Profile

  13. I am so happy you both loved this. Every time I see this cover it makes me smile and I think summer. Sounds like it was perfectly fluffy and sweet 🙂
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness GiveawayMy Profile

  14. I really want to meet this Micah person soon! Everybody is gushing about how awesome he is and I want to feel what they’re feeling. I like what Kimba said, that this book gives you the feeling of summer. It definitely feels that way now, after reading this discussion ^^
    Faye D’Social Potato (@kawaiileena) recently posted…ARC Review: Hexed by Michelle KrysMy Profile

  15. LOL your review is hilarious! I like it <3 I wish I had a co-blogger since school is about to start I'm doomed! I will lose my ranking and follower waaah! :)) Anyways Glad you enjoyed Paula's new release, I'm super excited now! Thanks for sharing, loves!
    Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture recently posted…Bookish help: First time to review a book?My Profile

  16. Hahaha! Loved your chat, girls. I’m with Celine on not liking Lainey (although I kind of didn’t like her until the end…?) and on The Art of War being really random. I’m not sure about the romance though… (gah I am so nitpicky!) But the friendship! It was so lovely. <3
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret StohlMy Profile

  17. Henrietta says:

    I was a little disappointed with the part about The Art Of War but other than that, I liked the story. I wish we all have a best friend like Bianca! Thank for sharing your views.
    Henrietta recently posted…The Art Of Lainey – Paula StokesMy Profile

  18. I’m so glad you ladies enjoyed this! I loved it myself and the friendships, romance, and feminist values in this novel completely spoke to me. It reallyyyy worked, so I can’t wait to see what Stokes comes up with next! 🙂

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