Bookishly Ever After
Author: Isabel Banderia
Series: Ever After, #1
Publication Date: January 12th, 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Summary: 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?
Bookishly Ever After is a very cute romance about a girl named Phoebe who loves to read. Phoebe is socially awkward (and as a socially awkward bookworm, I can relate to her!), and while her friends don’t really understand her, they love her just the same.
“‘It’s okay, we like the book-y world you live in. Makes the rest of our lives look a lot more normal.'”
So while the rest of her friends are busy scoping out boys (and girls), Phoebe is content to live in her own little world, picking up the newest releases in her fantasy series and reading as much as she can. If having her nose in a book doesn’t make her weird enough to her classmates, she also likes to knit, and constantly walks around with knitting needles and yarn. She doesn’t particularly care what anyone thinks about her weirdness, except for her long time crush, Kris, who doesn’t even seem to know that she exists.
When Phoebe’s friends continuously tell her that she should forget about Kris and move on to someone new, they start trying to set her up with their friend Dev, who is also in the band and is kind of cute. Phoebe isn’t interested at first, settling for just being friends with Dev, but after some time, she decides to wonder if she wants to be more than friends with Dev after all. So Phoebe does what she always does when she isn’t sure how to handle something – she turns to the characters in her favorite books and sees how they handle the situations, and then tries to act more like them – whether it be independent, assertive, or flirty. She begins keeping a notebook in which she pastes her favorite scenes from her books, underlining and keeping notes on things that she can do to get attention from Dev or improve her flirtation skills and personality.
The whole idea behind this book was simply adorable, and I loved that the main character was a bit socially awkward and a total bookworm. This is pretty much how I was in high school, (okay, I didn’t actually turn to the characters in my favorite books to channel their personalities or anything, but you get the idea) and it was pretty neat reading about a character like Phoebe. I’m so tired of seeing all of these characters in YA novels who simply want to portray this bad-girl image (drugs, alcohol, and sleeping with everyone), so it was a breath of fresh air to pick up this book and have a main character like Phoebe.
Dev was a cute romantic interest for her, and I found myself hoping the two of them would get together, because they seemed so perfect for each other. After a while I did kind of get a little irritated with the whole “he likes me!” “Oh, he doesn’t like me?” “he likes me!” thing over and over again, but all in all, the characters were well written and make the story pretty enjoyable. The only character I found myself disliking was Kris, but in this case, that’s supposed to be the point, so we spend our time hoping for Dev and Phoebe to end up together. It’s a sweet little romance, and it’s full of humor and is a true delight for bookworms everywhere.
The only real issue I had with Bookishly Ever After was how young it felt. While I love YA novels, this one felt like it was better suited for the younger age group of the YA audience. However, this isn’t something that ruins the reading experience in this case, I just wanted to point that out.
While this book was well written and enjoyable, it’s very light and fluffy – purely a fun read, and sometimes it’s what you really need (especially if you’ve been reading a lot of deeper novels). When I picked this one up, I was thrilled that it was all romance and cuteness, and if that’s what you’re looking for, I would definitely recommend you give this one a go.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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 & Olson. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.