Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Women’s Fiction
My Rating: 3 out of 5
In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.
He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.
April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.
Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings
The first thing to say is Holly Bourne tackles some fairly heavy and emotional subjects in Pretending. We are introduced to April, who very clearly is suffering trauma from a past relationship. She struggles to find any good guys, therefore proclaiming that she hates men! However, as the story develops, we start to understand more and more why April feels this way. April has been through some very dark times.
She comes to the conclusion that men don’t want April; they want a girl who is hard to get. Carefree and open to everything and up for anything. What they want is a Gretel. April decides that the only way she will meet a decent guy is to be a Gretel! She sets herself up a profile with all the qualities of Gretel, and it’s not long before she starts chatting with Joshua. He can’t get enough of her, and April feels the same. But can she keep Joshua and just be herself – not Gretel?
Pretending is a rollercoaster of emotions, as we follow April’s journey towards recovery from past trauma in her life. Holly Bourne is not afraid to tackle very dark subjects head on, and the impact that these things can have on someone’s life. It’s not the usual type of book I would read and enjoy, and at times, I found parts of the story uncomfortable. However, it is very important that these subject areas are discussed, and Holly does that really well.