Series: Ever After #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on 1/12/15
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?
First off, I have to say that I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I met Isabel Bandeira at BEA in 2014 – she was sweet and fun and dressed in quirky bright dresses, and I could just tell that her book was going to be adorable, just like her. I was right.
The book centers around Phoebe, who is a bookish introvert, much more comfortable living in her stories than in the real world. When she finds out that her friend Dev may have a crush on her, she has no idea how to respond. So she goes to her best source of relationship advice – her books. Phoebe decides that if she can pull off the actions (and sometimes, personalities) of her favorite bookish heroines, she’ll be able to finally get the guy. Of course, things don’t go quite that smoothly.
What I enjoyed:
- Bookish love! Phoebe lives with her nose stuck in a book. It was great fun to see her extreme fangirling (she dresses up as her favorite character a few times throughout the book). And her attempts at trying to solve her relationship woes by making notes about her favorite romantic book scenes were cute and sweet.
- Diversity. Not only did Phoebe have a friend who was gay (which was never made any sort of issue in the book – it just was), but Dev, the love interest, was Indian. It was SO refreshing to see a non-caucasian love interest. His race and religion were definitely highlighted throughout the book (my favorites were the Bollywood references), but again, they weren’t focal points of the story and didn’t cause conflict in any sort of way.
- Dev. Dev was exactly the type of boy who I would have been in love with when I was a teenager – cute and funny and even a little bit nerdy (in a theatre geek sort of way – I was one, so I’m allowed to say that). In short, he was adorable!!
- Too realistic? As I read this book, I kept thinking that Phoebe could have been me when I was that age. I was very shy, naive and immature when it came to boys and would never admit a crush, even when I was directly asked (I’m pretty sure I missed out on one or two dating opportunities that way – when a boy had his friend fishing for crush confessions and I would not give them up!). I was also incredibly bookish – you could pretty much always find me with a book in my hand – though I wasn’t as into romance at that age as Phoebe was. So, that’s great, right? Who doesn’t want to see themselves as a book character? But, here’s the problem – I’ve often thought about myself as a teenager and realized I wouldn’t have made a great main character in a book. Phoebe’s inability to take any sort of risks when it came to boys was sometimes terribly frustrating – this was the type of book where there was no actual conflict. The only thing keeping Dev and Phoebe apart was their absolute inability to admit that they were crushing on each other. This was okay at first, but it eventually got tiring. BUT, I can’t help but think that if I had read this book when I was a teenager, I would have SO related to Phoebe and I would have LOVED it! I would have felt a kinship with this poor girl and I would have adored seeing her eventually get to her happily ever after. I would have felt like there was hope for me! (There was, by the way – I ended up marrying the boy I started dating my senior year in high school.) So, because of that, I really feel like this book is perfect for the younger (or slightly more naive) YA set. It’s really perfect for them!
- Pacing was a bit slow. I think that this was mostly because of my last point about Phoebe’s personality and the lack of actual conflict, but I just wanted to mention it here because it was the one thing that held me back from completely loving the book.
So, overall, I thought that this book was an adorable, sweet read, and I highly recommend it to younger YA readers or anyone in the mood for a light, fluffy YA romance. I give it 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Isabel Bandeira grew up surrounded by trees and lakes in Southern New Jersey, right on the edge of the Pine Barrens. Her summers were always spent in Portugal, where the cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs only fed her fairy tale obsession. Between all those influences and her serious glitter addiction, it wasn’t a surprise when she started writing stories of her own.
In her free time between writing and her day job as a Mechanical Engineer who designs and develops medical devices, she reads, dances, figure skates, and knits.
Isabel lives in New Jersey with her little black cat, too many books, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olson, Inc.
BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.