Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
The Art of Lainey is not the kind of book I’d usually pick up. I thought it’d be a lot more superficial than it was. So I was presently surprised when, even though it started out as I feared it would, it didn’t end that way.
Lainey has a wonderful life. She’s got a pretty flexible job at her family’s coffee place, she’s popular at school, and she’s got the best boyfriend in Jason. So when he dumps her in the middle of the coffee shop, in front of everyone she works with and the customers, she feels like everything has been ruined. She doesn’t know how to be Lainey. She only knows how to be Jason’s girlfriend. She and her best friend Bianca decide to adapt the lessons in The Art of War to get Jason back. But as the summer progresses, Lainey learns more about herself.
At first, Lainey bothered me. A lot. It’s hard for me to identify with someone who places his or her worth on someone else. Lainey can’t see her life being as good without Jason as it was with him. She feels her social status depends on the people she’s friends with and not who she is. But then she starts to change. She begins to see that she’s not worthless without Jason. She can be important on her own. She has friends and she’s good at soccer. She has things in life that make her happy. She also starts to realize that Jason might not be the best person for her, but finds that Micah, a boy she works with, might be the person she needs in her life.
Micah is a good character. He’s sweet, but honest. He’s hardworking and unique. He pushes Lainey to figure out who she is, not who she’s dependent on. He’s a good contrast for her.
Bianca is one of my favorite best friend characters. It’s clear she cares for Lainey and wants the best, but instead of telling her what she thinks, she makes Lainey figure it out herself. She’s there to support Lainey, but she’s not afraid to tell her when she thinks Lainey is selling herself short. She’s the kind of best friend everyone needs.
The Art of Lainey was better than I thought it’d be. Even though it started out rough for me, Lainey’s character growth saved the novel and made it enjoyable. I’m glad I picked it up. It’s a good summer read for those looking for a book that will end putting a smile on your face.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.