(1) Pretenders (book1)

Title: Pretenders (book1) by Lisi Harrison
Publisher: Poppy
304 pages
Genre: YA

I received an advanced e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Three girls, two guys, five secret journals.

The five most popular students at Noble High have secrets to hide; secrets they wrote down in their journals. Now one of their own exposes the private entries...

I am leaking these because I'm tired and I know you are too. The success bar is too high and pretending has become the only way to reach it. Instagrams are filtered, Facebook profiles are embellished, photos are shopped, reality TV is scripted, body parts get upgraded like software, and even professional athletes are cheating. The things we believe in aren't real.
We are pretenders.

Review: Written as journal entries, Pretenders tells the story of the five most popular students at Noble High. Each one has secrets that they don't want anyone to find out, each of them is pretending their lives are something they aren't.  Their english project is to fill a notebook with their personal stories. These journals are supposed to be under lock and key but someone has broken into the safe and is revealing the secrets.  Who is sharing them, why and what they hope to accomplish isn't revealed...yet.

This book ends on a huge cliff hanger.  I'm not sure I like that, I don't mind endings where you know there is more to come, I don't need the story tied up at the end with a nice bow but this literally leaves you hanging! Its like watching a movie and the main characters drive toward the edge of a cliff, then fade to black.  Do they live? Do they swerve? Do they die?

I can see how this story would appeal to middle schoolers, the characters are filled with drama that feels vaguely familiar of middle school. It also speaks to the need to fit in and the lengths people are willing to go to in order to fit in.  For a young pre-teen girl this is probably a page right out of her own diary. Lisi Harrison does a great job of getting into the heads of different types of teens.

I read an advanced e-version of this book and the footnotes didn't appear until the end of the book which was a bit of a drag, it would have been better if they had been at the bottom of the page or something - I'm hoping that the publisher fixes this quirk.