Ah, thwarted love. Can a class project fix the love story that should have been? In my class it probably would have just resulted in someone being murdered in the back corner of the room, but in fiction, all things are possible.
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.
The Natural History of Us seems pretty simple on the surface, but the use of dual narrators and alternating timelines makes for a much more complex and satisfying picture of a relationship than expected. This creates an intimate feel that insures that readers will find themselves quickly invested in the love story between Peyton and Justin, but also in the characters as individuals. Developing a relationship with this much detail means there wasn’t a lot of action outside of their encounters, but I didn’t feel the story suffered for it. I was pleased that there was drama, but it was not over-the-top. It felt like a believable romance, and I think YA readers always respond well to realism. I did think the prose felt awkward for the first few chapters. Peyton’s narrative voice seemed to wobble and her reactions felt off, but she soon found her pace and I didn’t notice it for long. This is the second in a series, but I read it as a standalone and had no trouble following the story. Overall, I think this is a book my high school readers will enjoy, particularly those who enjoy contemporary YA romance writers like Miranda Kenneally. I’m adding it to my classroom library wish list. Language and some scenes of sensuality make this most appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.