I really enjoyed reading Bookishly Ever After, it was sooooo cute! Relatable, swoony, diverse, and the perfect book to start off 2016. Phoebe reminded me so much of my high school self, as I’m sure many other bookworms can relate. I didn’t read YA in high school (2000-2004, I’m ancient) but I did read a lot of Harry Potter and spy thrillers; I was quiet, somewhere in the middle of the social hierarchy, had a great group of friends (def crushed on one of them), and had a fantasy crush on a super hot guy one year older than me who didn’t know I existed. So yes, I relate :P
One cool thing about this book is that we got to read parts of Phoebe’s favorite books! She was using all the romance tropes and tips in her fantasy and paranormal books for dating advice, and honestly, I wanted to read those books too! I really appreciated that the author didn’t name drop current titles, which would make the book feel dated. Instead, she created original titles and excerpts with very familiar characters and storylines, so you definitely got the point. And Phoebe is a YA nut, I love it! I’ve had the feelings she experiences while reading and talking about books, and the scene waiting for her favorite author’s book signing was pitch perfect. I loved the way Bookishly Ever After embraced bookworm culture.
I also loved that Phoebe wasn’t just a bookworm though; she knits, she practices archery, she goes to dances, and she has close relationships with her friends and family. I loved her group of friends! They tended to be cliches on the outside but so much more once you got to know them. Grace is a popular blonde cheerleader with a girlfriend, Em is the dramatic but loyal theater geek, Alec is a quiet Jewish guy (and the character I feel like we got to know the least), and Dev is the Indian love interest with a flair for musical theater and good-natured teasing. It’s a well-rounded group! The background characters aren’t as notable; there are mean girls, vapid jocks, and run of the mill parents. Also you guys: the romance and flirting and omg-I-think-my-friend-has-a-crush-on-me-do-I-like-him-back was SO GREAT! Phoebe was awkward but not in a cringeworthy way and Dev was adorable. I loved their relationship when Phoebe actually let her guard down once in a while and acted like herself.
There *is* quite a bit of miscommunication which made me want to shake Phoebe because OH MY GOD GIRL, but you know how these books go. And the journey was flirty and cute as heck. We even get a really fun camp counselor sequence in the second half! It reminded me of working with 5th graders and talking Twilight and Harry Potter with them. Connecting with favorite books is great no matter the age of the reader.
Unfortunately, the formatting of the eArc almost made it unreadable- words were out of order and missing, it was irritating. However, I’m glad I kept reading and I’m happy that I preordered a finished copy. I also didn’t love the (totally believable) miscommunication and Phoebe was frustrating at times (sadly reminding me of myself as a teen haha), but I really loved the friendships, the romance, and the diversity of the characters themselves and their hobbies. Bookishly Ever After is a super cute fluffy contemporary that I definitely recommend for fans of The Art of Lainey, Meant to Be, and Anna and the French Kiss. It’s the first in a series of what I’m hoping are companion books. I’d love to get to know more about Alec and I’m sure Em will get her own book too!
Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
Series: Ever After #1
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Pub Date: January 19th 2016
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
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?