Published by Spencer Hill Press on April 5th 2016
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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.
Waaaay back – two years ago, I think – I devoured Rachel Harris’s book The Fine Art of Pretending. It was SO good. And when I knew there was going to be a companion I was ridiculously excited, which means that The Natural History of Us has been on my radar for two very excitable years, as I waited for its release. I was curious whose story it was going to be, if we’d see Aly and Brendan again – I said in my The Fine Art of Pretending review that Carlos should get a story, but he’s happy, so I doubt we’ll get that. Instead we got the story of Justin Carter. I actually barely remembered him (oops) and he wasn’t even mentioned in my other review (oops) but he’s certainly made his mark now, and I absolutely LOVED Peyton.
Peyton Williams is AMAZING. I just need to get that out right off the bat, because what she overcomes is insane, and the way she does it, without feeling sorry for herself, without hibernating at home forevermore makes me want to stand up and applaud her. Her attitude after recovering from GBS was even more astounding – to make every day count, to do things she wouldn’t usually do, she had a story to tell and boy, did she tell it. And the dual storyline was amazing. To see what happened between Peyton and Justin three years prior was both awesome and awful, because you KNEW they were going to end up apart, and that Justin had done something terrible, but right up to that moment it was amazing, the kind of love you love reading about. Then you have the present day storyline, where Justin decides to win Peyton back.
In a way, I could understand why Justin did what he did. The way he’s grown up, the fact that Peyton was the first person ever to see his potential, and not just use him for whatever she could get, that can all be too much. Especially when you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Always waiting to be kicked to the curb, and it’s almost a self-defense mechanism that Justin had. Not that that makes it right, it’s just I could understand it and I really appreciated seeing the more grown up version of Justin, who decides to win Peyton back. Throw in a school project, and you’ve got a pretty awesome storyline to follow and it’s nice to see someone like Justin admit to his errors and try to fix things, it’s a rare occurrence.
Peyton and Justin were amazing, in both timelines. The whole book was so good I devoured it in one go. The Natural History of Us is just one of those books that gets you giddy, with characters you love, and root for, and to be back in that world was amazing. Seeing Aly and Brandon was amazing. I love authors who write in the same universe, the same location, school, etc, because there’s nothing more fun that revisiting old characters, and meeting new ones, and seeing the universe expand. I SO hope Rachel Harris is going to do more books in this series – I’m now after a book for Faith, please. And I still want a Carlos book because he’s SO MUCH FUN. Just please don’t make us wait two years, Rachel. PLEASE. This is superior Young Adult, I loved it.