If you’ve ever read anything by Lisi Harrison, you probably know how well Lisi does comedy. Her seemingly dramatic series aren’t meant to depress; they entertain even the most uptight of adolescents. I should know. After all, I was one of those uptight adolescents. I remember picking up The Clique thinking that I’d hate it later. I was wrong. After I read The Clique on that fated day, Lisi Harrison was forever thought of as a snarky, amazing literary genius. However, even that cannot erase Pretenders from my head. Sorry, Lisi.
What Lisi Harrison supposedly masters is the social food chain of adolescents. Pretenders, however, reads more like a wannabe 90210 or Pretty Little Liars. The day before sophomore year starts, an email is sent to the entire class. Whoever sent the email has attached proof that the five best in the class aren’t really the best. They’re frauds. And Pretenders is the proof. Too bad that this book seems more pretend than real.
The biggest difference between Pretenders and Lisi Harrison’s other novels? The characters. Whereas Massie, Alicia, Dylan, and Claire of The Clique could be related to, the characters of Pretenders cannot. Pretenders‘ characters are selfish, materialistic, and one-dimensional. They seem to be the same version of each other, just with a few hobbies changed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Sheridan, Vanessa, Lily, Duffy, or Jagger. And unlike most YA characters, these five didn’t develop at all. It’s already bad enough being stuck reading about bratty teens (like me, haha); imagine reading about them for nearly three hundred pages.
I will admit that it was refreshing to read Lisi’s writing again. I absolutely adore her snark and wit, no matter how much I despise the characters. There’s a reason why she worked at MTV and penned a bestselling series. Not only can she master teenage jargon and be on top of current news, she also isn’t afraid to use her wit on anyone. That’s the sign of a great author.
However, with this praise being given, I can’t ignore the glaring faults of Pretenders. It’s not just with the characters or the unbelievably cliched plot. It’s with the end of the book. If you’ve read any review on Goodreads, chances are that the review will mention the ending of Pretenders. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m not surprised at all. To be honest, it’s not even an ending. Imagine watching a YouTube video but stopping right as things get interesting. Imagine being told news about your favorite actress but being cut off right in the middle. Imagine not knowing the most important question on your math test.
That feeling? That’s Pretenders in a nutshell. And in lieu of that ending, I’ll end this review without fully concluding it.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Publisher: Poppy (October 1st, 2013)
Length: 293 pages (Paperback)
Series: Pretenders #1