Author: Rachel Harris
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: YA, romance
Release date: April 5th, 2016
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
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 is a sweet, fun, insta feel good read. Rachel Harris created a world with the magic of first love, the heartache of broken promises, the hope of a second chance and most importantly, learning to believe in yourself.
First of all, I have to talk about Justin. I’ve been a fan of Justin since The Fine Art of Pretending. He wasn’t the hero in that book, in fact was kind of made out to be the bad guy but I found myself cheering for him anyway- just with a different heroine. Harris showed glimpes of Justin’s good heart in that book, and it was confirmed in The Natural History of Us. He is a complex character, both hard and soft, vulnerable and guarded.
As far as Peyton goes, she has many layers as well. She is true to herself, but sometimes second guesses. She’s stubborn but gives in. The best thing about her is she doesn’t let anything define her or bring limitations. She beautiful and equally smart, which is something you don’t always get with a female lead. Her growth from the beginning of the book to the ending is just perfect. She is flawed, the biggest being trying to do what she thinks is right over what she wants to actually do.
The book is from both Peyton and Justin’s point of views. It also alternates between their freshmen year and present time, senior year. That might seem like it would make it confusing, but honestly, it wasn’t. I give major props to Harris’ writing style for that, and I can’t imagine how hard it was to right and keep everything straight in all that. It flows perfectly, and isn’t hard to get back into it when it switches from past to present. The growth of the character’s is even more evident this way.
Justin and Peyton are so darn cute. The way they are able to bring out the best in each other will bring a smile to your face. They both have obstacles to overcome, and they find some power to do it in each other. It’s romantic and pure and tugs on the heartstrings. The Natural History of Us is a classic tale of boys meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wants girl back. Even though the concept is nothing new, Harris puts her spectacular tough on it, giving it a true heart.
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“Hold out your hand.” At the expression on his face, I rolled my eyes. “Just do it.”
Cautiously, as if I was going to put out a cobra or something, he uncurled his fingers and lifted his palm. I dropped a small silver coin in the center. “For luck.”
Wonder warred with confusion in his gorgeous brown eyes and my heart melted.
“On this side there’s a horseshoe,” I said, my cheeks warming with a blush. “You know,
the universal symbol for luck… and a small reminder of me.”
I bit my lip, hoping he didn’t think that was too corny—or that it revealed too much.
I flipped the coin over, exposing the other side, and my fingers slid across his rough skin.
My breath caught. When I lifted my eyes, I found him watching me with so much intensity, so much heat, that an actual shiver rolled through me. Just like in my favorite books.
Huh. So that was what smoldering looked like. Good to know.
I swallowed hard and noticed him do the same, and nothing could hold back my smile.
Justin glanced down and laughed. “Kick some ass!” he read, skimming his fingernail over my initials.
“I figured…” I cleared my throat. “I thought you could hide it in your sock or something,” I said, unable to tell if he liked the gift or not. He just kept staring at it. “If it’s dumb, you don’t have to—”
He’d said it so quietly I almost wasn’t sure he’d spoken at all. But then he closed his
hand around the coin and raised his head. Time ceased to exist as Justin’s eyes trailed across my face. I held my breath waiting and a sweet smile crossed his face.
“Damn.” He shook his head softly. “You’ve done it now.”
“What?” I asked, hoping whatever it was that it was a good thing. “What did I do?”
Justin merely shook his head again and smiled. “Wait for me after the game.” Shifting his
gaze to the old concession stand, he took a step back and said, “Over there, okay?”
When I nodded, excitement lodging in my throat, making it impossible to speak, he
winked and then took off to join his teammates. As I watched his cute butt in those uniform pants run across the field, a giddy grin found my lips.
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