Review: Faking It (ARC)

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 

Author: Portia Macintosh

The perfect house, the perfect husband and the perfect life… or is she just faking it?

Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Ella. Growing up as the ‘less successful’ identical twin to her ‘perfectly successful’ sister, Emma, has left her feeling isolated, inadequate and let’s face it.. a little bitter.

When Emma unexpectedly reaches out to Ella in a time of need, Ella suddenly finds herself with the opportunity to fill in for her sister and experience how the other half live.

But as Ella navigates the world of gossiping mothers, rebellious teens and trying to play the model housewife (not to mention avoiding the temptation of attractive men at the school gates…) will she discover that all is not always as it seems on the other side?

How would you fare if you were to take over your sibling’s life for a short time? This story sets out to explore just that when one twin requests the other to take over her life so no one, including her own children, suspect that she is gone. It is a hilarious concept that ignited my curiosity to read this story and it was an enjoyable ride from start to finish. There are parts that are ridiculous with moments that are very relatable and they are weaved together to make an entertaining tale. Faking It has definitely increased my interest in reading more by Portia Macintosh!

Ella Cooper is not off to a great start for her day when her flat has partially burned and she is now dealing with the aftermath with the fire department. She shows up at work late again and ends up in trouble with her boss, as this is not her first offense. She tries to save her job, but is unsuccessful. She now finds herself without a job and without a home all soon before her 35th birthday. She is at a crossroads at what to do next when she receives a call from her twin sister Emma who has a favor to ask of Ella. Emma states that she going away for six weeks, but she cannot let those around her know about it as she has an image to keep up and she requests Ella to take over her life and masquerade as her. As Ella wants to help her sister, she agrees and for the next six weeks, she must play the part of her seemingly perfect sister, which is the complete opposite of hot mess Ella.

Of course things go wrong as Ella tries to navigate taking care of two kids (one younger and one teenager) while balancing suburban life and taking care of a house and husband. It is a laugh-out-loud type situation and I love how she tries, and sometimes fails, to portray her sister despite her best efforts. If I ever had to pose as my sister and take over for her for even a day, I would probably fail worse than Ella would and I am not even as opposite as the characters compared to my own sibling. The cone situation as she drops Henry off at school actually made me laugh aloud as I felt the second-hand embarrassment as I read it. I love that she put a lot of effort into trying to continue the pretense even when she has found out, early on, by Henry’s friend’s uncle, Marco.

The friendship between Marco and Ella was very enjoyable as it was nice to see her have an ally as she is pretending to be someone else for a good cause. The banter between them was very entertaining as they help each other out along the way. I love how Marco is there to support Ella and she in turn helps him out where she can without blowing her cover. Both of them together create a dynamic duo that try their best to better the community around them and they both grow as individuals as well. Neither Marco nor Ella are the biological parents of the children in this story, but that does not stop them from trying their best to assist where they can. Although we see Emma’s household with her husband and children, it would have been nice to have a few sections dedicated to learning more about Marco’s brother and his household. They are mentioned throughout the story, but it would have been nice just to hear a little more about the inner workings. We learn some as Henry and Marco speak about it to Ella, but it would’ve been nice to include more – I take it is a good sign for my enjoyment level as I wanted the story to be even longer with extra details.

Overall, it is a very fun read. The concept is out of the box as it is a very unlikely situation, even if someone did want to attempt it with his or her sibling. There is some realism in the story as Ella tries her best in the situation for the love of her sister, but there are times where she cannot help acting like herself.  The main message of learning more about yourself and self-acceptance was fantastic and unexpected, as I did not expect much substance in this type of story. It was nice how Ella took the opportunity before her and turned it into a positive learning experience and she grew as a person by living the life of her sister. It was a fun concept, as Ella might not have grown in the same way if she never received the call to assist from Emma.

Portia MacIntosh has become an author on my radar and I hope that her other books have the same style as this one turned out to be such a surprise. This novel was an enjoyable read that is light-hearted while still maintaining substance. The twist at the end was unexpected and it was done well as it did not overshadow all of the previous events. Instead, it added to the story and helped wrap up the main pieces. A very positive and engaging story to read as an escapism from any and all negative going on around us! I would definitely re-read this story and I’ve now added the author’s other works to my TBR list!

**I give a special thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC to read and review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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