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5 stars for Just Play Pretend by @JenniferAShore #youngadult #yaromance #comingofage #bookreview

Title: Just Play Pretend

Author: Jennifer Ann Shore

Genre: Young Adult Romance, Coming of Age

Book Blurb:

My acting coach says I’m destined for greatness. My parents say they’re proud of me no matter what. The social media trolls say I’m nothing more than a failed child star.

Everyone says what they think, but no one knows who I really am or what I want.

Even me.

I’ve spent eighteen years of my life pretending to be other people, but when Cole Keller moves in next door, I get a major reality check. I don’t know if it’s his arrogance, our proximity this summer, or whatever he’s hiding, but I’m drawn to him.

I’m convinced stardom is in my past, but the more time I spend with Cole under the night sky, I wonder if it’s actually my present—and my future.

"Just Play Pretend" is a young adult romance and coming of age story by Jennifer Ann Shore, the bestselling author of "Perfect Little Flaws."

My Review:

An ex-child star discovers not only her spark but a second chance at her acting career, soothing late-night swims, and falling in love with the mysterious boy next door. Allie loves her late-night swims at the neighbors’ pool. It brings her a sense of peace amidst her life which is hanging in limbo. Her acting coach, parents, all say she’s ready to kick-start her acting career but she’s not sure. It’s a lot of pressure, especially from the media who thinks she’s a total failure. Maybe she is, but honestly, she doesn’t even know who she is or what she wants in life. That is until she meets Cole. He’s moved from New York to be her new next-door neighbor. He’s mysterious, speaks his mind, and she’s drawn to him like a moth to the flame. Their late-night talks while looking at the sky while she swims become their little secret. Over the summer, Allie learns to take risks, overcome her fears, and connect with Cole. What happens when the summer is over is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain… Allie’s feelings for Cole are the most real she’s ever felt and she’s not pretending.

Just Play Pretend is a young adult coming-of-age romance I thoroughly enjoyed. In classic Jennifer Ann Shore fashion, the characters are so well-drawn, I instantly connected with them. Allie is a wonderful character, and I enjoyed her journey throughout the book. I’ve never been a child star or a star of any kind, but her ‘failure’ is something readers can relate to. Cole is an aloof character to start but the more I read, the more I connected with him. The descriptive narration is brilliant with plenty of characters to interact with. The dialogue is spot-on with a realistic teen feel. My favorite scenes are the late-night swims/stargazing ones with Allie and Cole. There are a lot of life lessons in Just Play Pretend and it brought me back to my youth. If you’re looking for an addictive musical-themed young adult romance, pick up Just Play Pretend. Another gem by Jennifer Ann Shore. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

Buy it Now:

Author Biography:

Jennifer Ann Shore is the award-winning and bestselling author of several fiction books, including "Metallic Red," "The Stillness Before the Start," and "The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy."

In her decade of working in journalism, marketing, and book publishing, she has gained recognition for her work from companies such as Hearst and SIIA.

Be sure to visit her website ( and follow her on Twitter (@JenniferAShore), Instagram (@shorely), or your preferred social media channel to stay in touch.

Social Media Links:

Reviewed by: Mrs. N


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