The Natural History of Us

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The Natural History of Us

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.

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Goodreads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

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.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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