The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Pages: 384
Source: eBook

Summary from Goodreads:
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?


The Art of Lainey definitely had its strengths. The incorporation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War as a guide for Lainey to win back her ex-boyfriend was a pretty brilliant premise. It was fun watching her apply ancient Chinese military strategy to her dating life, I must say. And I feel like I learned some battle strategy along the way. As for Micah, he was a pretty swoon-worthy fake boyfriend. Not only was he hot - I'll take a tattooed, mohawk-sporting, punk-loving male lead any day - but he was also really sweet and did some pretty cute things for Lainey. He was easily my favorite part of the story. I also really appreciated that Lainey was athletic, an attribute that I love seeing in female leads.

But one big thing kept me from really enjoying this book. That is, Jason was an ass, and it took entirely too long for Lainey to realize that.

Seriously, this put a damper on my entire reading experience. Every new thing that I learned about him, and the truth about how poorly he treated Lainey, only made me dislike him more. For Lainey to justify his actions and their relationship up until the very end, and be so very dependent on him, frustrated me beyond belief. I get that she was with him for a long time and wasn’t sure who she was without him. I wasn’t expecting her to get over him immediately. I expected there to be some growth and discovery. I just hoped that she would see the error in her ways much sooner than she did.

Because of her hang up on Jason, I couldn’t like Lainey as much as I think I otherwise would have. If I am being completely honest, I found her to be a little weak-minded. But most unfortunately, I couldn’t feel what was growing between her and Micah. This wasn’t a book overflowing with cutesy moments and lots of obvious feels. It was much more subtle and slow-burning than that. You needed to pay attention. But the fact that Lainey clung to Jason like white on rice, tainted every development that was made with Micah. Le sigh.

Bottom Line

While I did like The Art of Lainey, it didn't wow me as much as it did others. I guess how wow’ed you will be will depend on your tolerance for Lainey’s feelings toward Jason. Her excuses for him, and desperation to be in what appeared to me to be an unhealthy relationship, wore me out and hindered my overall reading experience. But otherwise, this book hit the mark.

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