WHY BE YOURSELF WHEN YOU CAN BE PERFECT?
**As featured on The High Low podcast**
‘MAGNIFICENT. Brutally honest and righteously angry but still HUGELY enjoyable and engaging. I bow down!’ Marian Keyes
‘A thoughtful, intelligent, urgent novel women need to read.’ Dolly Alderton
The highly-anticipated new novel from Holly Bourne, bestselling author of HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?
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.
If only April could be more like Gretel.
Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her.
As soon as April starts ‘being’ 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? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?
PRAISE FOR HOLLY BOURNE:
‘Honest and unflinching’ Stylist
‘Funny, touching and painfully true’ Grazia
‘Relatable for any woman navigating emotional time bombs’ Red
‘Bourne incinerates the lies we’re all capable of telling ourselves’ Emerald Street
‘Funny, real and heartbreaking’ Lucy Vine
‘Funny, sad, honest, insightful, up-to-the-minute’ Roisin Meaney
‘Smart, witty and perceptive. Razor-sharp on friendship, self-image and self-deception’ Lucy Diamond
Mordantly funny, flinchingly well-observed . . . a smart, zeitgeisty, and caustically funny read, it has characters you root for. More than that, however, Bourne holds a mirror up to contemporary aspiration, deftly probing the dissonant dualism between the shinier selves projected online and people's offline reality * Sunday Times * Funny, touching and searingly honest * Grazia * Relatable for any woman navigating emotional time bombs * Red * Injected with such reality it can't help but be hilarious * Times * The most perceptive book I have ever read about the female interior -- Dolly Alderton It is so good! It is so honest about being a woman and all the things that are expected of us . . . I enjoyed it very much. -- Marian Keyes Truly a f***ing good novel * Evening Standard * Praise for How Do You Like Me Now: An author highly attuned to the concerns of 20/30-something women, but writes so engagingly that her readership goes well beyond this demographic * The Bookseller * This book will make you laugh, cry, think and feel understood in less than 500 pages * Platinum-mag.co.uk * After Bourne's How Do You Like Me Now? became a bestseller, we predict great things * Red * I inhaled this in two greedy sittings because WOW. What a read - perceptive, unflinching, funny and raw, this story and its characters just leapt from the page. -- Holly Miller Holly's style is so clear and her pace so perfect, the Things We Don't Talk About Enough are presented in the most accessible way imaginable. That's an exceptional gift. I'm sure thousands of women will find comfort in April's story. I absolutely loved it -- Owen Nicholls, author of Love Unscripted A brilliant takedown of the rules and expectations of the dating game, with a spot-on analysis of the falseness and contradictions within. Insightful, relatable and excruciatingly honest, with a serious heart. -- Caroline Hulse, author of The Adults A novel about female fragility and female power and about the endless tightrope we all walk as women in the #metoo era. Honest, courageous and fiercely funny. A surefire hit. -- Katie Marsh I just read this in two sittings and I need to reiterate: I love Holly Bourne. Such unbelievably dark themes and brutal cynicism yet Pretending still has a joy and a lightness of touch that makes it easy to breeze through. -- Caroline O'Donoghue Smart, perceptive, funny and touching about modern life for modern women. -- Rowan Coleman An extraordinary book. Properly funny, effortless to read and yet it deals with real and visceral trauma in a way that is incredibly effective and true to life. It's feminist and angry and compassionate and hopeful. I would give this book to every woman in her 20s and 30s. -- Julie Cohen So relatable, powerful and thought-provoking. April is a rare and wonderful protagonist, I fell for her instantly, I loved her rage and vulnerability and I constantly rooted for her even when I knew she was doing the wrong thing. This is a vivid, contemporary exploration of the darkest side of relationships, anger and powerlessness, but it's filled with joy too. If we've all been suffering from Gone Girl Cool Girl syndrome, Holly has written the antidote -- Daisy Buchanan One of Holly Bourne's greatest gifts as a writer is her ability to cut to the emotional core of her chosen subject and nowhere is that shown with more deftness than in Pretending. Searingly honest, intense, and insightful, this is a profoundly moving novel, and to my mind, Bourne's best work to date I really, really enjoyed but also really, really admired this book -- Lucy Mangan I adore-love-worship this book. Every page brings another eye-wateringly relatable moment and I couldn't put it down. I was constantly laughing, crying, and nodding aggressively at every page. Holly Bourne is officially my favourite writer and this book is everything. What a painful, raw, important, hilarious, whip-smart triumph of a book. -- Beth O'Leary As with all of Holly's books, I was totally hooked from the first page. Her unique voice immediately invites you in and you can't look away. Gritty, funny and poignant The amazing thing about Holly's writing is how she's able to say not just what we're all thinking but what we're even too afraid to admit to ourselves. Her books should be mandatory reading for everyone. -- Lindsey Kelk I love this book! It made me cry and laugh and rage and fall completely in love with the characters and you MUST READ IT! It's beautifully written and completely engrossing but also a really important, timely book. Sheer brilliance. -- Lucy Foley Pretending is the most freeing, reassuring book on dating after #MeToo I've ever read. Perceptive. Hilarious. Reassuring. Brilliant. -- Laura Jane Williams 'Unsettling and hopeful, enlightening and entertaining. A thoughtful, intelligent, urgent novel women need to read' * Dolly Alderton * MAGNIFICENT. The whole sorry mess of gender and sexual politics wrapped up in a compelling story told by an ADORABLE heroine. I feel educated and empowered from reading it. Brutally honest and righteously angry but still HUGELY enjoyable and engaging. I BOW DOWN! -- Marian Keyes
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