ARC Review: Violet Venom’s Rules for Life by Lynn Messina

Violet Venom's Rules for LifeViolet Venom’s Rules for Life by Lynn Messina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sixteen-year-old Violet Venom isn’t an artist—she can barely draw a straight line—and yet somehow the swankiest art gallery in New York City is hosting an exhibition of her work.

It’s a mega disaster in the making, but it’s not her fault. Really. She would never have told people she was the artist behind her late grandmother’s paintings. That totally off-the-charts lie belongs to Grey Shepherd, a fellow intern who had been trying to embarrass the mean girls they worked with. Mission accomplished!

Violet knows she should correct the misunderstanding immediately, but it’s all just a little too much fun—being celebrated for her “talent,” scheming with Grey. Plus, imitating an art genius isn’t that tough of a gig. It’s just a lot of nodding silently at the right moment and spouting lists of artisits who have inspired you. With Grey’s help, she pulls that stuff off without a hitch. It’s kind of awesome, right?

Violet Venom’s Rules for Life is rom-com style book is about a teen who takes up an art gallery internship to spite her archnemesis and fellow intern Isabella, and ends up nearly pulling off an elaborate hoax. Violet’s only connection to art has been her grandmother who was an emerging artist in London before she had to emigrate due to the war, and now, she uses that to impress a fellow intern and crush, Grey. However, Grey and she lie to the other interns who were mean to her, and accidentally catch the interest of the gallery owner, leading down a road that makes the lie bigger.

The book’s vibe is more comedy than romance, and has Violet utterly uninterested in the posturing that some of her fellow interns and the gallery staff do to seem more important in the art world. Her narration is snarky and yet relatable when it comes to her facing off against her bully Isabella; this is an excellent opportunity for her to put down her nemesis and rub it in her face on a daily basis. As the book progresses and she has to keep her lie for longer, she and Grey become good friends and she feels he, too, deserves all that attention she is getting, since he is actually an artist and cares about all these things. However, she gets caught up in the fame and praise, and alienates him when he starts getting envious. The plot is generally predictable but it is fun to see how the rivalry between Violet and the two ‘bellas’ play out, as well as Violet’s scheme to. I won’t say how it ended, but it was a nice conclusion, and combined with the good writing and humor, it makes for an entertaining and quick read.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Potatoworks Press, via Netgalley.

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Releases on December 1, 2018

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