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Perceptive. Hilarious. Reassuring. Brilliant.’ Laura Jane Williams

The highly-anticipated new novel from Holly Bourne, bestselling author of HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?

He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel.

Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.

The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her.

As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua.

Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?


‘So honest about being a woman and all the things that are expected of us’ Marian Keyes

‘Honest and unflinching’ Stylist

Funny, touching and painfully true’

‘Relatable for any woman navigating emotional time bombs’ Red

‘Bourne incinerates the lies we’re all capable of telling ourselves’ Emerald Street

‘Funny, real and heartbreaking’ Lucy Vine

‘Funny, sad, honest, insightful, up-to-the-minute’ Roisin Meaney

‘Smart, witty and perceptive. Razor-sharp on friendship, self-image and self-deception’ Lucy Diamond
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Romance / Adult & Contemporary Romance

On Sale: 2nd April 2020

Price: £19.99

ISBN-13: 9781473668164


Funny, touching and searingly honest
Mordantly funny, flinchingly well-observed . . . a smart, zeitgeisty, and caustically funny read, it has characters you root for. More than that, however, Bourne holds a mirror up to contemporary aspiration, deftly probing the dissonant dualism between the shinier selves projected online and people's offline reality
Sunday Times
Praise for How Do You Like Me Now:
Relatable for any woman navigating emotional time bombs
The most perceptive book I have ever read about the female interior
Dolly Alderton
Truly a f***ing good novel
Evening Standard
Pretending is the most freeing, reassuring book on dating after #MeToo I've ever read. Perceptive. Hilarious. Reassuring. Brilliant.
Laura Jane Williams
A brilliant takedown of the rules and expectations of the dating game, with a spot-on analysis of the falseness and contradictions within. Insightful, relatable and excruciatingly honest, with a serious heart.
Caroline Hulse, author of <i>The Adults
I inhaled this in two greedy sittings because WOW. What a read - perceptive, unflinching, funny and raw, this story and its characters just leapt from the page.
Holly Miller
I love this book! It made me cry and laugh and rage and fall completely in love with the characters and you MUST READ IT! It's beautifully written and completely engrossing but also a really important, timely book. Sheer brilliance.
Lucy Foley
Injected with such reality it can't help but be hilarious
It is so good! It is so honest about being a woman and all the things that are expected of us . . . I enjoyed it very much.
Marian Keyes
So relatable, powerful and thought-provoking. April is a rare and wonderful protagonist, I fell for her instantly, I loved her rage and vulnerability and I constantly rooted for her even when I knew she was doing the wrong thing. This is a vivid, contemporary exploration of the darkest side of relationships, anger and powerlessness, but it's filled with joy too. If we've all been suffering from Gone Girl Cool Girl syndrome, Holly has written the antidote
Daisy Buchanan
The amazing thing about Holly's writing is how she's able to say not just what we're all thinking but what we're even too afraid to admit to ourselves. Her books should be mandatory reading for everyone.
Lindsey Kelk
I really, really enjoyed but also really, really admired this book
Lucy Mangan
What a painful, raw, important, hilarious, whip-smart triumph of a book.
Beth O'Leary
I just read this in two sittings and I need to reiterate: I love Holly Bourne. Such unbelievably dark themes and brutal cynicism yet Pretending still has a joy and a lightness of touch that makes it easy to breeze through.
Caroline O’Donoghue
Smart, perceptive, funny and touching about modern life for modern women.
Rowan Coleman
MAGNIFICENT. The whole sorry mess of gender and sexual politics wrapped up in a compelling story told by an ADORABLE heroine. I feel educated and empowered from reading it. Brutally honest and righteously angry but still HUGELY enjoyable and engaging. I BOW DOWN!
Marian Keyes
After Bourne's How Do You Like Me Now? became a bestseller, we predict great things
A novel about female fragility and female power and about the endless tightrope we all walk as women in the #metoo era. Honest, courageous and fiercely funny. A surefire hit.
Katie Marsh
An extraordinary book. Properly funny, effortless to read and yet it deals with real and visceral trauma in a way that is incredibly effective and true to life. It's feminist and angry and compassionate and hopeful. I would give this book to every woman in her 20s and 30s.
Julie Cohen
This book will make you laugh, cry, think and feel understood in less than 500 pages
Holly's style is so clear and her pace so perfect, the Things We Don't Talk About Enough are presented in the most accessible way imaginable. That's an exceptional gift. I'm sure thousands of women will find comfort in April's story. I absolutely loved it
Owen Nicholls, author of <i>Love Unscripted
An author highly attuned to the concerns of 20/30-something women, but writes so engagingly that her readership goes well beyond this demographic
The Bookseller
I adore-love-worship this book. Every page brings another eye-wateringly relatable moment and I couldn't put it down. I was constantly laughing, crying, and nodding aggressively at every page. Holly Bourne is officially my favourite writer and this book is everything.
Lucy Vine
As with all of Holly's books, I was totally hooked from the first page. Her unique voice immediately invites you in and you can't look away. Gritty, funny and poignant
Emma Gannon
One of Holly Bourne's greatest gifts as a writer is her ability to cut to the emotional core of her chosen subject and nowhere is that shown with more deftness than in Pretending. Searingly honest, intense, and insightful, this is a profoundly moving novel, and to my mind, Bourne's best work to date
Louise O'Neill
'Unsettling and hopeful, enlightening and entertaining. A thoughtful, intelligent, urgent novel women need to read'
Dolly Alderton
Devastating, funny and insightful, Holly Bourne's Pretending is a read that will resonate
Thoughtful, smart and painfully true
Pretending is Holly Bourne at her best. It's a funny, romantic, feminist yet challenging, even triggering read but will also make many readers feel validated and seen. What an accomplishment for a novel
Sarra Manning
What looks like a lolzy rom-com is actually a punch-in-the-gut brilliant novel about consent and mental health. Don't let this one pass you by
Pretending is Holly Bourne at her best. It's a funny, feminist yet challenging read that will make many readers feel validated and seen
Thoughtful, smart and painfully true
Hugely entertaining rom-com for the post #MeToo generation
Daily Mail
A brilliant, hard-hitting, tell-all-your-girlfriends-to-read-it book
Fabulous Magazine
Bourne's novels are so witty, so stingingly acute on millennial pop culture, that you only notice by stealth their serious intent