Bookishly Ever After – Isabel Bandeira

Synopsis

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?

Review

This book wasn’t exactly what I signed up for. When I first read the blurb, I thought this book would be so undeniably me. I thought, like all the best video game books (e.g. Ready Player One), this one would reference all the best YA books out there. And then I’d get all the references and love every second of it. Instead, there’s a weird Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl-esque subplot that distracts and detracts from the story. It’s almost as though Bandeira is intentionally trying to create intriguing storylines in the hopes of this getting picked up for a spin-off or two. Perhaps we could then follow Alec on his journey? Or maybe Maeve and Aeden could have their own story! So many possibilities, but I didn’t resonate with any of them enough to want to keep reading.

The YA paranormal books here were almost a total mockery of the real thing. I’d understand if someone tried to scour YA contemporary books for inspiration, but paranormal books are way too out there.

Listen, I understand Phoebe at times. I know what it’s like to think a guy is into you, only to have someone else make moves and feel like you’re in a deadlock due to your passivity. I know what it’s like to feel shy and awkward. I know what it’s like to want to hide away in a book I adore. But I also feel like her depiction went too far into the deep end here. She can’t have people coddle her the way they do. Social skills are important to develop, and I wished some of those aspects (e.g. Grace’s makeover help, regular social activities with Cassie) were applauded rather than viewed as foreign, strange chores. A lot of the other characters felt very one dimensional. Em was relationship OBSESSED. Kris was made to be a totally terrible person, and I’m sure he’s got more to him.

Also, I didn’t like how camp was the catalyst for change. Seriously, camp?! In the middle of the year?! It was so out of place in this story. I maintain that camp stories should be their own entity, since camp is like a world of its own. You can’t just shove it in at the end of a book like this, because it’s the easiest way to shove Phoebe and Dev together! Ugh.

Related Reading

  • Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  • Don’t Ever Change – M. Beth Bloom
  • Like It Never Happened – Emily Adrian
  • Biggest Flirts – Jennifer Echols

Rating: 1/5

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