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Pretenders Hardcover – October 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Pretenders (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316222445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316222440
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-A motley crew of high-school freshmen have one thing in common-they are all pretending to be people they're not. Sheridan Spencer is a lonely drama queen who boosts her confidence by channeling celebrities. Andrew Duffy's dreams of making the basketball varsity team are shattered when his parents reveal their financial troubles. Lily Bader-Huffman wants to break free of her overbearing parents and get a social life. Vanessa Riley is an extreme overachiever whose parents are on the verge of divorce. And Jagger is the mysterious, emancipated loner with a big secret. As in a Garry Marshall film, their lives intersect. Vanessa crushes on Lily's gay best friend. Lily likes Duffy, but he seems to be getting cozy with Sheridan. Sheridan's best friend is ditching her for Jagger. Their first-person narratives are told through journal entries as credit for an English class. It is hinted at early on that the journals (supposedly under lock and key) will eventually get revealed to the whole school, just not in this first book. The novel ends on a cliff-hanger. Fans of Harrison's "Clique" books (Little, Brown) will love this book with its melodrama and chaste scandal. A fast-paced read with surprisingly compelling characters, Pretenders is a good recommendation for middle schoolers looking to read up, but who are not quite ready for, "Gossip Girl" (Little, Brown).-Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Fans of Harrison’s The Clique novels will not be disappointed by this series starter, which exposes the scandalous “truth” behind five high-school freshmen chosen to receive a special excellence award. The conceit is simple: this book is a compilation of these students’ journals, written as an English project that was to remain ungraded and unread, but was stolen and distributed to everyone as proof that “the things we believe in aren’t real.” What follows is a soapy drama that exposes the tumultuous, insecure core of many outwardly successful teens who lose themselves trying to be perfect, keep everyone happy, and have it all. While some subplots are less believable, readers should find at least one character to identify with, making it even more cringe worthy when they self-destruct. Though they represent types, Harrison’s treatment of the five resists simple dismissal, and their voices remain individual through their journaling styles. And which of the five students is the one who published the journals? Readers will be on the hook to figure it out in a sequel. Grades 9-12. --Krista Hutley

More About the Author

Lisi Harrison is the author of the Clique, Alphas, and Monster High series. She was senior director of Development at MTV and also served as head writer for MTV Productions. She is currently pretending to work on her next novel.
Lisi lives in Laguna Beach, California.

She posts a new blog every Wednesday at LisiHarrison.com

Customer Reviews

The characters are badly portrayed and the story is just weak.
Gabby Anne
I expected that it would be better than it is but whatever... If you have nothing to do for a weekend I guess this is a good book to read.
Stephanie Hubert
The only criticism I have of this book is that it ended and I have to wait half a year for the next one!
cupcake girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. McCreadie on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Consider yourself WARNED - this book is the first of a series and it just ends. Full stop, no closure for any of the characters. You will have to read the next book if you want to know how any of this works out.

I LOVED this book until it ended. Everything about it drew me in, and I turned pages like crazy. And then...it just ended. Every single character was left dangling with a full-stop cliff hanger. I've never been so furious. I don't mind books that are part of a series with an over-all arc, but I expect each individual book to have some form of closure at the end. This had none of it. Worst of all, there was no warning that this would be the case - that this was the first book in a series. If I had known that, I wouldn't have started it until the next book was available. I feel so used and frustrated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By StinaMadsMN on March 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
THE STORY:
It's the start of Freshman year. The year that defines who you are for the rest of high school. And the five students who become the Phoenix Five are the best of the best...or so everyone thinks. PRETENDERS shows us the truth.

I really liked how seamless each journal entry connected to the one before and the one after. I think this is the most drama-ridden book I've read in a very long time. But that drama is what makes PRETENDERS so great. There is so much high school hi jinx that it kept me wanting to know what could possibly happen next. And I can say that anything you can imagine happening to a high schooler, does and probably will happen in the future.

I know that many people didn't like how the book ended from reading previous reviews, but I thought that it ended in the perfect spot. The cliffhanger isn't huge or anything, but I still really want to know what's going to happen next. And that defines a good ending to a book in my opinion.

THE CAST:
The Phoenix Five include: Sheridan Spencer, Andrew Duffy, Lily Bader-Huffman, Vanessa Riley, and Jagger.

Sheridan Spencer is a "drama queen" who doesn't have very much confidence, so she acts as a famous celebrity and takes on their attributes. She is obsessed with acting to the point she starts losing her friends, and someone better than her shows up to take the spotlight.

Andrew Duffy wants to be on the Varsity basketball team more than anything, and gets himself into some trouble trying to make that happen.

Lily Bader-Huffman was home schooled until she convinced her parents to allow her to go to public school with her best friend. She has a kind of scary obsession with Andrew and well...I'll just leave it at that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vox libris TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When you’re in high school, don’t you hope that everyone else feels like as big of a pretender as you? Don’t you wish that those kids who seem so together and as if they have everything they want secretly believed they were unworthy or a fraud?

Sure you did.

And that’s why Pretenders is such a fun book to read.

Oh, it’s frustrating, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

This is the tale of five freshmen and how they plan to survive their first year of high school. Or at least pretend to do so.

Sheridan is so self-conscious and insecure that the only way she can cope with changing loyalties and apparent betrayals is to pretend to be different celebrities. She dresses like them (Anna Kournikova?) and assimilates their personalities into her own. The problem with this, of course, is that Sheridan can’t see what everyone else can: she has no idea who she really is.

Homeschooled Lily Bader-Huffman convinces her parents to let her go to high school when her best (and gay) friend is sent. Lily’s parents agree, provided she maintains her A+ average. This wouldn’t be a problem, except Lily is besotted with Andrew Duffy, a basketball phenom destined to make varsity as a freshman. But Duffy has his own crosses to bear, and Lily’s appearance in his life registers nary a blip. It’s a good thing she has Vanessa Riley, a gorgeous Vanessa Williams-esque girl whose beauty is only exceeded by her brains. Vanessa’s family is falling apart, and she feels the only thing that can keep them together is her report card.

Finally, there is Jagger, the requisite Bad Boy. He is an emancipated minor living alone in the family home because his parents are in jail. He tells one character that he’s being pursued by a guy bent for vengeance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hambone on October 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
this is officially my favorite of all of Lisi Harrison's books. i flew through it and already can't wait for the next one. I also think that boys will like this book just as much as girls which is different from her old series "the clique"!! love love love!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chloe Tyner on September 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was sooooooooo good!!!!! I loved all The Clique references! I cannot wait for the rest of the book! LOVED IT!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I got Pretenders on Netgalley, having found out about it through an email. The concept intrigued me – the secret journals of five students were leaked, the book being a compilation of those journals. At Noble High School, all the freshmen were required to fill a journal of 250 pages for their English classes. The five journals included in the book come from the Phoenix Five – the five “most outstanding” freshmen, as elected by the school. I suppose at this point I should have figured out that Pretenders wasn’t going to cover the entire year, but foolishly I let myself believe that I would find out the fates of these characters. Imagine my surprise when the end of the book came just as everything was beginning to get interesting. Craziness starts happening and then there’s a page like, “Oh, you want to know what happens? TOO BAD BECAUSE THIS IS THE END OF THE BOOK. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.” Not cool. None of the characters have a full arc, there is no climax, and there is no resolution. Pretenders is half a book. Plain and simple.

Now that I have somewhat vented my frustration regarding the lack of whole book-ness, onto some analysis of the book.

The book follows five fairly clichéd character types: Sheridan the ditsy blonde, Duffy the jock, Jagger the mysterious bad boy, Lily the weirdo, and Vanessa the nerd. Despite how easy it is to pick out these archetypes, I found these characters rather charming. There was nothing especially deep about them, but they had charisma. There was something about them that kept me interested in their story – something relatable, I suppose. Between all the characters, Lisi Harrison was able to cover many challenges that a freshman in high school may be facing, so that was a plus.
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