Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: Faking It by Cora Carmack

Faking It by Cora Carmack
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Page Count: 355
Genre: New Adult
Goodreads & Amazon

Cade has moved to Philadelphia for a fresh start full of opportunity after college, but so far his 'fresh start' has only included playing a homeless person in a commercial, and living in an apartment that makes actually being homeless seem more favorable. Enter Max. She's a tattooed singer, constantly living in the shadow of her uptight parents' expectations, and she really needs a new boyfriend, at least, a pretend boyfriend. When her parents drop into town for a surprise visit, there is no way that they can meet her boyfriend Mace, a punk drummer with neck tattoos and a bad attitude. So she grabs Cade in a cafe and begs him to be her new, pretend boyfriend. The two are a pair that hardly make sense together, but as they keep pretending for the sake of Max's parents perception of her, the more their relationship feels real and permanent.
**Might be some spoilerish stuff in here if you have not yet read Losing It**
One of his hands found my jaw and he lifted my head up enough to face him. "Your pain made you strong. It made you passionate and alive. It made us both who we are." A laugh pushed its way past the pain that lived in my lungs and escaped from my throat. "Golden Boy and Angry Girl."
Where Losing It was fun, awkward, and actually had some romantic tension, it's companion novel Faking It was insta-love to the maximum, corny dialogue, and cookie-cutter characters. Cade, the wild card love interest of Losing It, has followed Bliss and Garrick to Philadelphia to work out his own acting career, but finds himself miserable when he cannot find a decent acting job, and he realizes that he's not as over Bliss as he thought he was. It was nice for the cracks to begin to show in Cade's character, because in Losing It, he seemed like the perfect square, American boy trying to do right by the girl. He had a little more angst in this book, which was nice to see, even though most of his angst stemmed from moving across the country with his former love interest and the man she's hopelessly in love with…WHO THINKS THAT IS A GOOD IDEA? In this whole book though, Cade is the least stereotypical character. Because while he's handsome and clean cut on the outside, he's got some demons to face, guys, and he became more of a real person than he did in the first installment of this series of companion novels.
"If I'm reading between the Cade lines, I'd say you still want to be with her."
"I don't know, man. I do, and I don't. She's amazing, but she's got a whole baggage claim to herself, man. If I'm honest, she stands to screw me up way more than Bliss ever did."
"This is why I don't date girls."
When Max comes in, the stereotypes start ROLLING in. She's a singer by day and a go-go dancer by night, living on the funds her parents provide for her while she tries to carve out her living as a musician. She's covered in tattoos and has brightly dyed hair, and shocker! Her parents hate that, which is why she hides it from them as much as possible when they come to town so they don't strip away their parental support. Her real boyfriend, Mace, is a drummer, also tattooed, who uses drugs, drinks and has a negative IQ score. Then there are her parents, uptight, conservative, and always casting a cloud of high expectations over everything Max does. None of these characters seemed genuine to me. The dialogue from her parents, especially, was painfully generic and turned them into one-dimensional characters with no meat behind them. I get that they are hella rich and ultra-conservative, but that doesn't mean they have to be cardboard characters with no personality. Even the most boring person on earth has a quirk, and they didn't seem to have much of one at all. Then her boyfriend, Mace, is the stereotypical boy your parents tell you to stay away from. After Losing It being so fun and having a lot of different character types, I wished Carmack had pushed the characters in Faking It to be a little more adventurous, or at least an out-of-the-box type of conservative/bad boy.
My mother said, "What about you, Cade? What are you thankful for?" His eyes stayed fixed on mind. His hand brushed the side of my neck where my bird tattoos were hidden by my turtleneck sweater. He said, "I'm grateful that the past is the past, and the future is ours to make."
As I mentioned above, where Losing It had some romantic tension, Faking It had zero, and it all happened very quickly.
In the course of less than a day, Cade is hooked on Max. Within two days, or what seemed like two days, (spoiler!) Cade is convinced that what he thought was love with Bliss was not actually love at all, because what he has with Max is actually love. Yup, the girl who he has been best friends with for four years and who he spent the last half of Losing It being a sad puppy over was nothing compared to Max, who has given him an awakening on love in 48 hours. His realization of this irked me and completely made his storyline with Bliss exactly what I thought it was in the first book: pointless. It was disappointing to see him brush off a part of a storyline that was injected into these first two books over an instant love. It then becomes his life mission to prove to make Max realize that she is beautiful the way she is, and that she shouldn't be afraid to be who she is around her parents, even though he doesn't know what makes Max the way she is until near the end of the book, which made his love for her seem superficial and as cardboardy as her parents. His dialogue with her was unrealistic. He says a lot of things that I couldn't see his character, or anyone, actually saying out loud.

"I'll take my chances against your fickle heart if it means it's mine."
As corny as the romance was between Cade and Max, I was relieved to find that there was a reason behind why Max is the way she is, and why her parents treat her the way they do. It came a little late in the novel, but it was when things clicked into place a little bit for Max's family dynamic. I understood why her parents are conservative and protective, and I understood why Max pushes herself as far away from her family as possible. As can be made obvious from above, it would've been more fulfilling if their characters were treated differently, but the version of them that we got reflected the family secret.

Faking It was a disappointing follow-up to Losing It. The characters were more of caricatures than actual people, and the 'romance' between Max and Cade happened way too quickly compared to the drawn out, tension filled one between Bliss and Garrick in Losing It. Despite this, I did grow to like Cade more as a character, and Max's family demons that are released near the end made each character in their family make a little more sense to me. I was also not deterred from reading the third installment, Finding It, so stay tuned for that one!


  1. This is so disappointing! Sorry this book wasn't good. :(

    1. it was disappointing!! luckily, the third one is better :) I'll be reviewing that soon!

  2. Ohh! I remember not enjoying this one as much as Losing It, but still liking it! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the third one!!

    - Tabitha @ Tabitha's Book Blog