Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: The Natural History of Us

Author Rachel Harris
Format e-ARC
Print Length 297 pages
Publisher Spencer Hill Press
Published 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 graduation 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.

My Opinion

The Natural History of Us is my new favorite YA contemporary! It is told in dual points of view in two different periods of time (present day and three years ago). The switch-a-roo was a bit much in the beginning but eventually I fell into the pattern. Who the characters are then are not who they are today.

Justin is the star catcher of the high school baseball team. Peyton, a former rodeo princess who had a medical set back. Three years ago they were secretly madly in love with each other. It was a secret due to number of factors, like her daddy being the head baseball coach. They ended up breaking up- Justin goes on to be a player, and Peyton the sweet girl next door type. Neither truly get over the other, both still hurting from a love gone wrong. Their FACs teacher pairs them for a final project- the progression of relationships (dating, wedding, honeymoon, starting a family). Peyton doesn’t want to be paired with Justin- he did break her heart. Justin is hopeful that this will allow him to win her back.

Justin is one of those characters that even when he is jerk you end up hoping he gets his happily ever after. From past to present Justin, you get to see his character growth. He hasn’t had the easiest home life, although you wouldn’t know that standing on the outside. It took him a long time to overcome the damage caused by his parents. He use to base his decisions on his upbringing, yet as a senior so close to graduation that he could taste it, he decided to base a decision or two on his heart. He is confident, when he makes a mistake he owns up to it. He tries really tries to do his best by Peyton.

Peyton, from the past, is self-assured. She embraced life and all that it has to hand her. Then the break-up happened. Justin was her first, her only love. When he broke her heart, she folded within herself. She becomes cautious, afraid even of hurting again. This dictates some of her decisions in the present. While it made me sad, I understand where she is coming from. I want her to get her spunk back, I want her to be daring again. Mostly I just wanted her to get back together with Justin.

The Natural History of Us is about young love, relationship mistakes and teenagers growing up. Sometimes it is hard to let go of your first love. Sometimes it is harder to stay with them. Mostly it is hardest to forgive them.

My Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote “You’re not my dream… you’re my everything.”

Other People

Carlos- Justin’s bestie
Lauren- mean gal
Cade- Peyton’s current boyfriend
Faith- Peyton’s bestie

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