ARC Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris


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synOne 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.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Spencer Hill Press

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for a sweet, swoony romance. 
  • You want a little mystery with flashbacks to the start of the romance.
  • Alternating POVs make you giddy.

PROS:

  • Peyton and Justin’s chemistry is playful and dizzying. It draws you in and always leaves you smiling. When they open up to each other, it’s beautiful and will fill you with so much joy. That getting to know someone, to truly know them in their soul, is on full display. The bittersweet process of learning and falling in love is written so well, the magic bounces off the pages. 
  • Justin is a classic case of why you need to look beyond the surface. It seems like he has everything. He’s the star of his baseball team, popular with the girls, and has a trust fund. It looks like charmed life. Underneath, all he wants to do is be noticed by his father. Justin feels like he’s never enough. Despite his outer bravado, he lacks confidence and is scared to open his heart up. Deep, sensitive, flirtatious, oh so charming, Justin will make you have all the feels. 
  • Peyton is a burst of light. She’s cheery, bright, full of energy, she has a real thirst for life. Peyton of the past is much different than Peyton now. She’s scared, hurt, and her light has dimmed, but the girl she once was is just slumbering. When Justin comes back into her life, it’s like she finally wakes up from her painful past and sees that happiness is possible, that strength is more than physical, and that the heart has the greatest capacity to heal. 
  • Family is everything. Peyton’s family is loud, quirky, full of laughter. They’re enchanting and inviting. You’ll want to become a part of their world. The love is fierce and protective.

CONS:

  • Secondary characters were kind of bland and cliché. They didn’t add anything to the story. Characters that I would have loved to get to know better, like Peyton’s best friend, were in and out of the story with only a glimpse into their personalities. I wanted to see that friendship, to know that her best friend had been there for her at the worst of times, instead of seeing that bond, I was told about it. 
  • Story elements that should have had a strong presence were simmering in the background until suddenly they were there. When they do surface, it is briefly and you wonder why they were even included. There was a lot going on. Between Peyton’s GBS, the rodeo, Justin’s family issues, the dating drama, and it didn’t mesh together well. The focus wandered. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Happy reading, 

Jordan

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