The Natural History of Us

Rachel Harris
The Natural History of Us
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Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date
April 2016
Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Romance

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.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Apr 03, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
161 people found the following review helpful
After enjoying the first book, The Fine Art of Pretending, so much, I look forward eagerly to the next book, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US, which features Justin Carter, the friend of the hero in the first book. While the story was well written with a heroine you want to root for, the book didn't meet up to my expectations.

Peyton and Justin had a past, but that was three years ago. Peyton just wanted graduation day to get here so she could put the past behind her and start her new life, but before she could do that, she had to get through one last class project together with Justin...

First, I love Peyton. She's a lovely heroine, so brave that she didn't let her disability stop her from anything she wanted to do. The first chapter was done real well, where we see Peyton getting some news that caused her to be afraid. I was immediately captivated and wondered what the news meant to her. That she and Justin, with whom she has a past, were paired together to work on the project was a great source of potential conflict and angst. I rubbed my hands in glee and sat back to enjoy the story.

However, I didn't like Justin. I thought he was arrogant and too sure of himself in winning over Peyton. While confidence is sexy in a guy (and girl, too!), I'd have loved to see more scenes where Justin was vulnerable and where he isn't at all sure that he'd win Peyton, that he could lose her. Such a scenario would certainly give his arrogance the much needed shake up. And I hate that he smirks so often, even back in the past.

Also, while we see alternative chapters in Justin's and Peyton's first person point of view, we have these not only in the present, but also in their past. I thought it disturbs the momentum. While I was getting ready to care about Peyton, for example, and get invested in what's happening to her in the present, I'm ripped back to the past, and whatever investment I made in her was wiped out and became zero again. Rinse and repeat. Thus, while the story elements are all here, I find that I can't really get into the story.

My overall rating is 3.5 stars. Just because this book didn't resonate with me doesn't mean it won't with you. If you like the first book, you might want to pick this up, especially if you're the type who likes to revisit previous characters, as both Brandon and Ally do have cameo roles here.
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