William Morrow / June 4, 2013 / $13.99 print, $5.69 digital
Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.
Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
A few months ago I went to a panel on New Adult and found out about author Cora Carmack. For those of you who feel that New Adult isn’t for them because of the angsty factor, Carmack might be the answer for you. In Carmack’s first book, Losing It, Bliss and Garrick were a student and teacher who met under hilarious circumstances. During their courtship, we met Cade, a fellow student who was half in love with Bliss. As romances tend to go, Bliss and Garrick lived happily ever after but Cade did not. In Faking It, we get a chance to see a happily ever after for Cade (if filled with at least a little bit of angst while he deals with his feelings).
You would think I’d be used to it by now. That it wouldn’t feel like a rusty eggbeater to the heart every time I saw them together.
You would think I would stop subjecting myself to the torture of seeing the girl I loved with another guy.
You would be wrong on all counts.
Luckily Cade’s entire world is about to be thrown upside down by a whirlwind named Mackenzie “Don’t you dare ever call her that, Max” Miller. Carmack takes a different tact in her writing of Faking It as she flips back and forth between Cade and Max’s POVs and it adds a fuller picture of the love and lust that grows between Cade and Max, even as their courtship once again has odd beginnings.
Max’s family is very conservative, and after the death of her sister when she was a teen, Max has done everything possible to buck her family’s rules—bad boy boyfriend, dancing in a go-go club, tattoos and piercings. Whenever Max goes home for family holidays she dyes her hair a relatively “normal” color, covers up her tattoos, and this time, brings along a fake boyfriend in the form of Cade.
“My parents showed up in town uninvited, and they want to meet my boyfriend.”
She slid a little closer and tapped red-painted nails against the table.
“And how can I help?”
“Well, I’m supposed to introduce them to a nice, sweet boyfriend who I met at the library, which is not actually the boyfriend I have.” Her hand curled around my forearm that rested on the table, and I cursed all my winter layers because I wanted to feel her skin.
“And you think I’m nice and sweet?”
The deal is struck, and Cade agrees to help Max through Thanksgiving, but he does too good of a job (he is an actor after all) and Max’s parents invite him to Christmas and he must go—or they’ll cut her off. From this point, their relationship grows, but both have insecurities from their pasts that get in the way of things going perfectly.
What I loved about Carmack’s book is that once again she dumped New Adult on its head. Do you think New Adult is all angsty? Carmack is funny. You think New Adult is all about Good Girls and Bad Boys? Carmack gives you a bad girl who really is just learning to be comfortable in her own skin. Cade makes this one of the provisions in his relationship with Max.
“I’m sorry.” I seemed to say that to him a lot, more than to any other person in my life excerpt for Alex. “I know I said I would tell them…that I wouldn’t pretend anymore—“
“You’ve said a lot of things.”
I sucked in a breath, but my lungs still felt empty.
“I just don’t understand you.” His hands went to his hair, and he began to pace back and forth in front of the bed. “I thought you were fearless,” he said.
A noise ripped from my throat, and even I didn’t know if it was a laugh or sob.
“Well, you were wrong.”
The couple face down their demons together and learn that their pasts do not define them. If you haven’t been sure of New Adult until now, Cora Carmack might be the book that changes your mind about this subgenre.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Faking It by Cora Carmack before its June 4 release:
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.