Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️+
I finished Karla Sorensen’s Faked a couple of days ago, and the words for this review have been mulling around in my head. As I was shopping today, while I was reading another book, the words wanted to emerge, but they require me to offer up a general opinion about Faked without a lot of detail about this book. Even more, they want me to talk about my own experiences to illustrate why Faked is an essential kind of book. Why I will read all of Karla Sorensen’s books…
To best understand my review, I think we have to begin with a quote that hit my Twitter feed today: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you #read.” —James Baldwin— This quote IS the reason you, the reader, should read Karla Sorensen’s Faked, along with anything else she’s written. There is a relatability in her writing that acts as a mirror to your own experience. It’s the treasure you receive as you turn each page. It acts as a reminder that you aren’t alone, that the feelings and thoughts you felt at some point in your life weren’t your creation, that they were felt and thought by others. This is Sorensen’s superpower: an ability to articulate the human experience through a seamless, melodic style that grips your soul and makes romance important. That may sound heavy, but let me articulate this for you through my reading of Faked.
For one, this message of this book is foreshadowed in her blurb: “Every action has a consequence..” You think this relates solely to the twin swap (which isn’t a spoiler as it’s also in the blurb). But this isn’t the case. There are moments in Claire and Bauer’s pasts, experiences with others that have had a profound effect on their lives in the present. When those actions occurred, no one understood the gravity of those consequences, but, for Claire and Bauer, they were ingrained in their development. As such, these consequences influence Claire and Bauer’s coupling and create the tension of the story. Within the first couple of chapters of Faked, I found myself looking directly in the mirror of my own experience as Claire laid out her hurt. It’s no secret that Claire’s mother, Brooke, left her girls with their older brother, Logan. If that is new to you, go and download The Marriage Effect and read it immediately, It’s my favorite Washington Wolves book. Anyways, Brook’s neglect changes Claire’s life, and as we are privy to her life, Sorensen shows us its impact. It influences her choice of career and it affects her relationships with others. In this one moment in the book, the place where I felt my own life reflected back at me, Sorensen captured one of my truths. With her exquisite writing, it isn’t hard to do. However, in this moment, she very gently pushed on a bruise from my own experience and she connected me to Claire and Bauer’s story. She softened my soul and opened it to their romance, and I couldn’t put the book down after that. Through her careful plotting of their story, she articulates a message that people (not just parents — they are simply the culprits in this story) need to remember: our words and our actions can create meaning or trauma in a person’s life. I’m a teacher of writing, and I think about the words and actions I’ve taken with my students. I can change their perceptions of themselves easily, and that’s scary. In this story, Sorensen deftly illustrates this. And it’s the powerful reminder of Faked.
I’ve said this time and time again in my reviews of Sorensen’s works: we NEED more of this romance. We need to read a book such as Faked to remind us that our words and actions change others not just ourselves. We need a genre like romance to emphasize the sometimes negative qualities of humanity because we can wrap the difficulties of human nurture in a message of love. It’s a safer space to unpack trauma in a world where an intuitive and insightful heroine can see the impact of words on a “bad boy” hero, validate him, cover him in love and kindness, and pour peace into his life. When read stories like Faked, we can be reminded to be better people, to stop and think, and to love people through their hurts. If you love this depth of experience wrapped in a beautiful story about the resilience of the human spirit, then you should be reading Karla Sorensen’s Faked.
In love and romance,