FicCentral received a free copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours.
March 03, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
As the Governor’s daughter, Charlotte McClain is an expert in playing pretend. High society, the men her mother shoves in her direction and a Pre-Law major are all a part of her perfect pretense. But when she pretends to be a nobody during Spring Break, she meets someone who rocks her world.Mason Rowell knows heartbreak and Spring Break don’t mesh well, so he allows the mysterious Charlotte to seduce him. What should have been a fling, results in something deeper. After Spring Break has long since passed, he moves to Washington to pursue his graduate degree, but what he never expected to find living among the rich and pompous, was the girl who gave him the strength to change and the desire to start anew.
When the guy Charlotte can’t forget goes from a sensual memory to temptation in the flesh, her facade is put to the test. If she surrenders to his charms, she risks ruining her mother’s perfect career and master plan. Playing pretend is what Charlotte does best, but how long can she pretend she doesn't love the man who made her proud of her true self?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Charlotte’s entire life is a carefully constructed and tirelessly maintained façade. The right clothes, the right dates, the right education … It’s all required for playing the part of the governor’s perfect daughter. But when Spring Break comes along, she gets a taste of freedom, of life out from under the microscope, and of the delectable Mason, a bartender who doesn’t know who she is, doesn’t expect her to play a part, and doesn’t leave her thoughts long after their fling is over.
Mason isn’t quite sure what to make of the carefree girl spending her Spring Break in his hometown. She won’t tell him her last name or share any details about her life, but none of that matters when they’re making the most of every moment together. They both know it can’t last — vacation romances never do — but this is different, better, something altogether more than either of them expected to feel. And it’s easy to forget about his ex-girlfriend’s betrayal when Charlotte’s by his side.
They thought it was over when Spring Break ended. Charlotte returned to her sterile, scripted life, and Mason moved ahead with his college plans. But then he accepts a waiter gig at a catered party and comes face to face with the girl that got away. Her mother will never approve, the media will be all over them, but the spark that flared during Spring Break is about to burst into full flame.
For about 90% of the book, I thought the pacing was brilliant. While most authors rush to get their characters together, only to throw heaps of crazy drama at them, in Playing Pretend it wasn’t so easy — and that’s a good thing! Charlotte resisted, though we all knew she’d give in eventually, and it made for an anxious tension that led perfectly into sneaking around. So when the story came to a close with a rushed ending, wrapped up a little too easily, I wasn’t sure what to think. Don’t get me wrong — it was still a great read — but I wish the careful pace hadn’t been abandoned so suddenly.
While the plot line certainly points to a million cliches, Playing Pretend dodges the expected and takes a refreshingly simple — and in that sense realistic — approach. When Charlotte and Mason separated at the end of Spring Break, it was clear that something wonderful had awakened between them, but instead of pining and desperately plotting to find each other, they moved on with their lives — albeit with some wishful thinking about each other. It’s so true to how things like that play out in real life, and that’s what makes this story different — and better.
Sure, Charlotte’s rich, a bit famous in her part of the world, and should be the stereotypical rebellious princess. Instead, she does what so many young women do when trapped under a parent’s thumb — she lies and sneaks and covers but can’t bring herself to simply take a stand. It’s that great compromise that isn’t too uncommon in the face of young love… Sneak around with the boy for as long as possible, use friends and events and excuses galore to get away with it, and completely avoid the consequences for as long as possible — even though you know they’re coming.
And Mason… Aside from being hot as hell, he’s just a good, patient, incredibly understanding guy. He wishes things were different, that they could easily and publicly be together, but he gets it. He gets why Charlotte keeps him under wraps, and he doesn’t harp on her about it or give her some impossible ultimatum. It’s so nice to see a leading man who doesn’t resort to the selfish and rash behavior I’ve seen in so many other stories like this!
If you’re a sucker for the “classic” romance story lines but feel like they’re all the same, definitely check out Playing Pretend. It’s got the boyfriend Mom doesn’t approve of, the wannabe boyfriend society seems appropriate, and the girl who desperately just wants to live her life on her own terms, but it’s not just another retelling of the same old story!