Title: The Natural History of Us
Author: Rachel Harris
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: eARC for review
Release Date: April 5, 2016
One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who's forever owned his heart.
Justin Carter has a secret. He's not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy...and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she'd ever forgive him.
Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she's done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she'll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.
For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate's given him a shot at redemption, he's determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton...well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.
Rachel's one of the first YA authors I got to interact online with - I adored both My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and The Fine Art of Pretending, and when I saw that Rachel has another YA set to be released this year, I knew that I had to get my hands on it!
The Natural History of Us is the companion book of The Fine Art of Pretending, and its male MC, Justin, had a pretty big role in the aforementioned book. While you can read The Natural History of Us as a stand-alone, I would recommend that you read The Fine Art of Pretending first. It will allow you to familiarize yourself with the world of these characters, and at the same time, it will give you the chance to know Justin better. Justin was one my favorite characters from The Fine Art of Pretending, and finding out that we would get to read his story made me thrilled beyond belief! Also, a second chance romance? SOLD.
Justin was introduced in The Fine Art of Pretending as your quintessential bigger-than-life jock - he's cool and confident, and he couldn't be bothered with serious relationships with girls. He does end up getting knocked down a peg or two when things don't exactly go his way with a girl, and that, I believe, sets up The Natural History of Us perfectly. Graduation is around the corner, and when Justin is partnered with Peyton - the only girl he has ever had a serious relationship with, and also the exact same girl whose heart he has irrevocably broken - he grabs the chance to set things right, and to try again with the one girl he has never forgotten.
Peyton, meanwhile, has steered cleared of Justin for the past three years. To say that she is not pleased at being partnered with Justin for this final assignment is an understatement. A lot has changed in Peyton since she and Justin broke up, and Justin quickly realizes that he needs gets to know her once more, just like he did during their freshman year. Through flashbacks of the times Peyton and Justin were together, we find out that Peyton previously suffered from a rare illness, and this is what makes her willing to always take life by the horns. Some time after Peyton and Justin's break up, however, Peyton suffers from a riding accident, and as a result, she's a bit more apprehensive, and even a little scared. She now lets fear dictate what she should do, as opposed to who she was before. Justin gets to know this new Peyton, and at the same time, he does what he can to support her.
I'm not saying that the way Justin treated Peyton in the past was not horrible and callous, because it was. However, I have seen that Justin has matured and changed for the better. As I mentioned earlier, this was spurred in part by what happened between him and Aly in The Fine Art of Pretending, and I can't blame him for wanting Peyton back again in his life. Also, it is so apparent from the beginning that Justin and Peyton bring out the best in each other - when the people in Peyton's life hold her back, Justin believes in her and her capabilities. Peyton also never sees Justin just as some cocky jock, she knows and realized that there is more to him that meets the eye. Their interactions never failed to make me smile while reading the book, and I was rooting for them to work through their issues - which they did - and to give what they clearly still have between them another shot.
All in all, The Natural History of Us was just the light read I was looking for. While it was a sweet and fun read, it also had just the right amount of angst and depth to keep me on the edge of my seat. The book was also told in dual timelines and dual POVs to flesh out the story more, and while I would agree that these aspects made the book it was, the were still moments wherein I had trouble keeping track of what timeline I was in. Nevertheless, what I learned about Peyton and Justin I loved, and I finished The Natural History of Us with one big smile on my face.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
a Rafflecopter giveaway