Recently, I finished reading Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant and I must say I enjoyed it. I had this book on my bookshelf for over a year and the thing that made me hurry and read it was the fact that the author was coming out with another book and I just have to get her next book, One’s True Loves. I was drawn to the book’s cover when I was shopping at Target looking for a book for my classroom library. I saw it a few times at the store before I finally gave in and bought it.
I initially went into the book with the idea that it was going to be about a girl who was kind of a loser who gets her happily ever after but it was more than that. It follows a friends to lovers trope, which I love. Anyway, to get my honest thoughts on this book, read on!
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 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?
I actually enjoyed it. Tessa was starting to get on my nerves but at least she noticed the mistakes she’s been making so that made up for it lol. I was watching an interview with the author and she described her as “Messy” and I can surely say that yes I agree. She was messy af! She kept making so many stupid mistakes like lying to her parents, not seeing her dream guy right in front of her face, being a lousy friend! Thankfully she did get it together eventually but it was causing me so much anxiety reading it!
Tessa really had to learn to get out of her way. I get it though. When you feel like your writing isn’t good enough or when you deserve something that you actually worked hard for but you were too blind to see it because you compare yourself to others and put so much pressure to perform that you become paralyzed….yeah I know all about that.
Everyone needs a Sam! I’m so in love with him. I love how he paid attention to the little details about her and would encourage her. He stood up for her when she was racially profiled (which is a huge plus in my book!). He would bake her things and he was so awkward with her since the beginning. It honestly started making me a little sad (like I legit cried) because I wanted someone (or my crush….pok’eboy) would pay attention to me like that or make me treats and make me feel special.
He was so gentle with her and he was so cute when he was nerding out about his interests. He was also really humble. His mom was a celebrity chef but you wouldn’t have known it with their lifestyle and the way he carried himself. He was honestly my favorite character. Another character I liked was Lenore. Lenore reminds me so much of my friends! Especially when she told Tessa “You’ve got to learn the subtle art of not giving a f**k…”. Legit that is some advice that they give me on the regular so that made my heart smile.
What I loved was that she talked about race. She didn’t sweep it under the rug. Nico’s friends with their slick side comments and micro-aggressions were getting on my nerves. When she asked them to stop saying a certain word, they totally ignored her and was like aww well. How they tried to put her in a box because she was black was just aggravating and I found myself rolling my eyes at them. Like I said previously, she was racially profiled. The author did not shy away from race and I’m here for it.
I love how it deals with finding your voice, taking chances, and owning who you are. I really liked it.
I give this book 4/5 stars. I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to check out Elise Bryant’s newest book!
What romance book have you enjoyed lately? What are you currently reading?
Title: Happily Ever Afters
Author: Elise Bryant
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: YA Romance, Contemporary
Buy it here: Bookshop.org