Wednesday, 20 January 2016

ARC Book Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Published: January 2016

Series: Ever After #1

Pages: 350


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 favourite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favourite 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?


My Thoughts...


Bookishly Ever After was a wonderfully adorable read. The main character, Phoebe, is the most bookish I have ever encountered. Sure, she does some slightly-weird-for-me things (like dressing up as her favourite character every single time she has the chance), but she was definitely incredibly realistic and relatable for probably every bookworm out there. I loved how authentic she felt, and her goofiness and awkwardness in real life situations were borderline hilarious, at least for someone who definitely has lived through similar scenarios. I remember all too well trying to sneak a book at lunchtime especially since I still do it today when I was sixteen, and miserably failing most of the time, because real life always has a tendency to intrude in reading.

Phoebe's friends were awesome! I loved how this group of friends actually look out for each other, have one another's best interests at heart and actually show itThere was none of the drama and backstabbing I usually find in books set in high school, and that was definitely refreshing. I also liked how the author managed to introduce diverse characters without it feeling forced. There are LGBT characters, and Dev, Phoebe's love interest, is Indian, and they are all accepted for who they are, without it being too much of a deal. Like it should be. I was slightly disappointed by the fact that there were very few references to Indian culture and traditions other than Bollywood, but then again I hope these nuances in the characters' background will be better flashed out in the sequel.

Being a fluffy contemporary, most of the plot was actually very predictable, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. Phoebe and Dev are adorable characters, and I liked their banter throughout the book. The two of them are so clueless and clumsy that I spent most of the book with a silly smile on my face, and ended up even laughing out loud at some scenes. They also mature a lot throughout the book, especially Phoebe, as she tries to learn to deal with real life and accept herself for who she is. It sure is tempting to live vicariously through the toughest, most glamorous fictional characters, but it is only by learning to accept oneself and giving other people a chance to show how much they care that life can be lived to the fullest. And that is what Phoebe must learn to do.


"Well-meaning people are going to always try to butt into your life and make you fit their idea of what's best. Believe me, I know. But if you try to make everyone happy, you're going to end up miserable."

Bookishly Ever After delivers what it promises: a cute and funny contemporary romance that will have many, many bookworms see themselves reflected on these pages.

Rating: 4/5