ARC Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Posted May 7, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on May 20, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn't someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn't going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him...

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what's really worth fighting for.

4.5 Stars

When I first saw The Art of Lainey pop up on Edelweiss, I thought it sounded good and cute, but I wasn’t immediately sold. I put it in the back of my head to check out later. THANKFULLY, the author kept me from making the grievous mistake of passing up on the chance to read this early. She emailed me, asking me to review it, saying that she thought I would like it based on books I had loved, like Meant to Be. Oh man. She’s good. She got me right then and there. And she was not wrong. I loved Meant to Be and I loved The Art of Lainey.

So The Art of Lainey is about a girl who gets dumped and wants to win back her boyfriend using tactics from The Art of War. Right away, I was struck with the refreshing tone of the novel. The writing style is fluid and entertaining. The main character, Lainey, is awesome. And I don’t use such words lightly. How often have we had main characters who are the shy, bookwormy types? The new girl, the loner outcast? Lainey is not that. In fact, she’s pretty popular. She actually doesn’t like reading. She’s good at sports, goes to parties, has many friends… But she still has her own issues to deal with. Seriously, it was so refreshing to have a main character like that in contemporary YA.

Not only is the main character a breath of fresh air, but the entire cast of characters was refreshingly realistic. They are honest. They have flaws and make mistakes. They grow. The relationships are beautiful – not just the romance, but the friendships and families as well. It just created this beautiful full picture that I could completely relate to.

But this is contemporary romance, guys, so you know what’s up. The Art of War is all about sneaky tactics, deceiving your enemy and making him weak. With the coaching of her awesome bff, Bianca, she comes up with a plan. She gets Micah, a rebellious-looking coworker, to pretend to be her boyfriend. Oh. Hell. Yes. Guys. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but “fake” relationships are one of my favorite romantic tropes in the world. So many shenanigans and teasing and pushing boundaries and stuff and then those feelings become REAL!?!


The two are freaking gold together. I absolutely adore Micah. He’s rough around the edges, and he has his own issues. He comes from a very different walk of life compared to Lainey, so when they start hanging out, people are concerned. However, they just have so much fun together, and along the way, Lainey starts discovering parts of her she never even really knew. This is how I like my relationships guys. Relationships are all about having fun, being yourself, and making each other grow, be happy, and be confident. And then the chemistry! The tension! SWOONING. SWOON ALERT.


I was majorly invested in this romance, to the point where I was reading it on the train and the hour and a half just FLEW by. This book is damn addictive. I had to FORCE myself to look up every once in a while to make sure I hadn’t passed my stop. I haven’t had that with a book in forever. I was ignorant of the whole world. Nothing existed except me and this book, and we were meant to be together, because it was making me so damn happy.

Summing Up:

You guys know I love my fluffy books, and The Art of Lainey is right up there with the best of them. It was a refreshing voice bringing a super entertaining and romantic story. I swooned and flailed and giggled, and all my worries were left far behind me. Are you a fan of sheer happiness? You should read this book. So before I go off now to pre-order my copy (because yes this book will be re-read), I want to thank Paula forever for making sure I didn’t miss out on this absolute beauty. This book and I were meant to be (hey-o), and I can’t wait to check out your other books! 🙂

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

Fans of HAPPINESS (*cough* okay or fans of Lauren Morrill, Kody Keplinger, or Kasie West)

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15 responses to “ARC Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

  1. Well, yet another review that makes me sure that this was a good book to preorder and one contemporary that even my not-a-big-fan of contemporaries shouldn’t miss!
    Great review, if I wasn’t sold before, I’d be now with all the Hermione GIFs!

  2. Yay! I loved this book too! I actually have you to thank for me reading it, I saw it mentioned in one of your vlogs and it took me about an hour to realise that Paula Stokes was also Fiona Paul, the pseudonym she used to write The Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, which I had just finished and loved! So thank you for drawing this book to my attention! Srsly. It was so great.
    I’ve been waiting for your review and it was worth the wait! Great review 🙂 Loving the Emma Watson GIFs 🙂 xx

  3. I loved Meant to Be, and I love fluffy and fun books (swooning and flailing and giggling…yes) so I will definitely be reading this book. So glad you loved it! The fake relationship books that turn into something real…yes, those are my favorites. They usually get to know each other so well (so no insta-love). Great review!

  4. Great review, Debbie! I really hope I feel the same way. Fluffy contemporary romances have been my favorite thing this year, and I want to add this one to the list. Lainey and Micah definitely seem like my kinda ship. 🙂

    Plus, you say Kasie West and I’m sold.

  5. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary. But a girl that uses the Art of War to get a guy back? That’s perfection. Sun Tzu knew what he was doing 🙂
    Adding this to the “read asap” list.
    Also, fabulous review.

  6. Morgan

    YAY! I preordered this last week, I’ve been on a contemporary kick lately. LOVED Meant to Be and loved The Distance Between Us, so I really can’t wait for this now! It sounds really fun and swoony. I’m also glad to get a different sort of YA heroine, have to spread the love around. Not everyone loves books as much as the rest of us! 😉 Also amazing gifs, Emma Watson is adorable.

  7. Okay, so this looks adorable. I wasn’t sure if it was for me either, but your review has convinced me. Although, I have to say that I don’t think I come across a lot of books where the main character is actually shy. I mean, sometimes I read ones where they say she’s shy, but then she gets over it. And to me, that’s not really shy. Shyness isn’t something that just one day goes away. Well, it hasn’t for me, anyway.

    But I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list.

  8. I haven’t read anything by Morrill yet, or West’s contemporaries (which I’m assuming are the basis of your comparison, rather than Pivot Point). I’ve only read one book of Keplinger’s, but I wouldn’t necessary describe it as happy or feel-good. Still, though, I am intrigued by this one. And I do appreciate reading fluffy contemporaries every once in a while. As you alluded to here, they can be the perfect way to pass the time. 🙂

    • The Keplinger comparison was more because of the refreshing voice and swoonful romance, but then again, I do think they’re feel-good books. To each his own I guess.