Thursday, March 25, 2021

Review: Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.

When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just...gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.

But as Tessa checks off each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all? 

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 5th 2021 
by Balzer + Bray
3.5/5 stars

The blurb for Happily Ever Afters is what drew me to preorder it. I love reading books with a bookish theme.

For 16 year old Tessa writing has always been a big part of her life, after a move and new school writers block has put a stop to her muse showing up.  What follows is a story filled with anxiety, teenage drama and discovering who your friends truly are.

I loved the writing, the author put me right in the scenes, even though some were cringe-worthy.  I also liked the treatment of a disabled character, and the stress disability places on a family--authentic vibes there.  The ways secondary characters interact with the bi-racial main character also brings to light the different kinds of prejudices people live with. 

Ultimately Happily Ever Afters is about relationships, honesty and acceptance.  While I didn't love it, it was an entertaining read.

This book is part of my 2021 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

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