Alright, it's official. I love Cora Carmack's novels. They're such cute, fun, sexy reads, with just enough real life issues to keep them from being entirely fluffy. With Losing It, Carmack tackled virginity and deciding what to do in the real world. In Faking It, Carmack continues to focus on real life issues suffered by "new adults" everywhere: embracing yourself and deciding between money and passion.
The obvious interpretation of the title is that Max and Cade are faking a relationship in a classic romantic comedy gambit. Obviously, their feelings turn out to be something real beneath the ruse and all of that. That's not the crux of the book, and not the essence of what the title's referring to, though. In fact, both Max and Cade are faking so much more, and, no, I'm not talking about orgasms here.
Both leads are pretending to be okay with their lives as they are. Cade's pretending that he's over Bliss, and that he's not upset by her relationship with Garrick. He's pretending that he's happy in grad school, and not drowning in debt. If he pretends hard enough, his life really will be perfect, right? Max, on the other hand, fakes fearlessness to mask her emotions. She also fakes her personality around her family, pretending to be the perfect daughter, the one that died.
Honestly, no one can mess someone up like their parents, am I right? Max's parents put a lot of pressure on her, and express their disappointment at her died hair and dreams of being a musician. They help her pay her bills and loans (left over from her two years of college before she dropped out), but they hold that aid over her head. Could they ever really accept Max's tattoos and piercings or her bad boy boyfriends? Though she's a badass elsewhere, in front of her parents, she reverts back to the scared little girl, unable to talk back or step out of line.
Cade and Max are a case of opposites attracting in a lot of respects. He's all prep and she's a rock girl. Though there relationship does proceed on a much faster timeline than I prefer, they do have chemistry and it sizzles. Actually, as a couple, I like them much better than I did Bliss and Garrick. Their bond just comes off as more real, with more confronting of the other person's baggage and acceptance thereof. They're really making one another better and stronger. Also, Carmack reverses the traditional romance tropes, with Cade being the sweeter, more emotional one in the relationship, the one most desirous of a lasting connection. I wish Carmack didn't go quite as heavily for the happily ever after again at the end, but, still, Faking It was an awesome read for me.
The interesting change from Losing It is in the narrative style. Losing It was written entirely in Bliss' first person perspective, but Faking It alternates between Cade and Max. Though initially skeptical of this decision, Carmack does a nice job with it. I never had any difficulty discerning which POV I was reading at any given time. Plus, this really highlights how much edgier Max is compared to Cade, which I like. She's got emotions, but he's definitely the more emotional of the two, which is great to see this way.
The Final Verdict:
Carmack's sophomore novel proves that she's not a one hit wonder. If you enjoyed Losing It, Faking It is a must read, even if you were on the fence about whether you wanted Cade's story. Now to wait impatiently for book three about Bliss' college roommate, Kelsey.