The Art of Pretend de Lauren Kuhl

de Lauren Kuhl - Género: English
libro gratis The Art of Pretend


Lauren Kuhl Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises ULC, Year: 2024 ISBN: 9780369748393

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Art is a lie that makes us realize truth. —Pablo Picasso

sweetbitter x saltburn (minus the murder and grave humping lol)

this was an intriguing read. while the plot follows a secret budding romance between the protagonist ren and her best friend's older brother, archer, the themes are very much centered on wealth, power, class, and the effects of all of the above on intrapersonal relationships.

Etta was my best friend, but in getting involved with her brother, I would be too close to her equal. She wouldn’t that.

ren is quiet, timid, and self-depracating; she follows her best friend etta, admiring her boldness but knows she doesn't fit into etta's upper society world. while etta is away, she flounders on where they stand as friends; ren feels guilty for the secret tryst that develops between her and archer, but at the same time recognizes the power trips and callousness etta holds over her, comparing it to the dealings with her boss natalie.

I felt very alone, very ordinary, and I might never amount to anything. Did all people feel this way? you might never be enough?

reading this reminded me so much of the instability and insecurity of being in your 20s, especially in a big city; the constant feelings of identity crisis coupled with the panic of what am i doing with my life / will i ever be able to do what i truly want to do? there's a sympathy i can extend to ren, etta, and archer in regards to that tumultuousness.

“But art is a risk. And risk is inherent to anything you truly care about.”

i enjoyed the writing itself as well. while there is some fun designer or luxury namedropping and descriptions to indulge in, kuhl focuses more on the subtle microtells between characters and complex dynamics. these characters felt very real to me. i think of the scene when ren's mother plum approaches ren to investigate the celine sunglasses. it's one of kuhl's many examples of the unspoken rules of behavior in upper class society; subtle confrontation, quiet luxury but extreme possessiveness over their belongings, the quiet smirks of response to faux pas while offering a patronizing grace. reminders that while you might be hanging around, you'll never belong.

Etta was being thoughtful, but her actions felt rooted in something else. Something control.

How money was power, and power was the only currency that would ever really matter.

toxic relationships are certainly centered: ren's parental relationships, her examination of etta and archer's relationships to their aloof parents, ren's respective dynamic to etta and archer each contrasted to her work husband jeff. but there is also some reflection on the struggles as an artist; how to balance art and actually making a living, how capitalizing on art affects the process and satisfaction, the legitimacy of the identity of an artist. this is of course compounded by things money, nepotism, and imposter syndrome.

if you prefer your reads focused on imperfect dynamics with plenty of reflection juxtaposed to a backdrop of the glamor of the new york city elite, you'll enjoy this.

After all, pretending is an art and all art comes at a price.

arc read

sounds dark academia-adjacent and intriguing!2024-shelf arc-read contemporary ...more53 s16 comments Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill655 600

Have I got a great debut alert for you!!! Pub day is tomorrow July 9th!! Thank you soo much @htp_hive @htpbooks @graydonhousebooks for this gorgeous gifted copy!! Look
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