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Happily Ever Afters

de Elise Bryant

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Es mostren totes 5
First, what a lovely cover! Writers often make their MC love books or writing and usually it falls flat, but Tessa was fine. It’s fun seeing how her romanticized daydreams turn into story ideas. Tessa’s a hopeful romantic with a mind filled with fluffy thoughts (and she’s an overthinker too).

Her mind is also filled with worries as she lives with anxiety and imposter syndrome. Tessa feels, sometimes, her life and what’s important to her has to take a back seat because of her brother, Miles. I enjoyed Tessa and Miles relationship and the overall family dynamics a lot. I thought the author did a great job showing Tessa’s feelings of frustration but love as well.

At times, Tessa’s narrative feels like “teaching” moments, but I’m sure that’s so a wider audience can understand. It’s just feels obvious if you already know. Poppy felt a little one note. I mean granted Tessa is trying to move in on Nico and Poppy gotta bad attitude, but it’s up to Nico and Poppy to define their situationship. She’s just nasty though this does get acknowledged at the end.

Overall, cute and light-hearted and familial love plays as big a role as teen romance. I liked the long-distance best friends so much. The ending is fitting. ( )
  DestDest | Jun 27, 2021 |
  joyblue | Mar 14, 2021 |
With the title and the synopsis I went into this expecting some romance, a genre I do like, I guess I just didn’t expect quite so much focus on romantic drama and that’s where this lost me a little bit.

Tessa’s never really shared her writing with anyone other than her best friend so it’s a giant leap for her when she attends art school and is expected to put her work out there for critique. The pressure leads to her experiencing writer’s block for the first time and since she writes romance, her best friend suggests real world experience to get her creativity back in gear. This prompts Tessa to pursue someone who looks like he stepped out of one of her stories, it also prompts her to ignore that the guy isn’t actually available.

I thought there was potential in telling a story from the point of view of a boyfriend-stealer since generally book heroines are on the other side of that equation, however, Tessa rarely acknowledged guilt over her actions, there wasn’t really any digging into the juicy emotional and moral complications so then all the reader is left with is being expected to cheer for the villain (Tessa) which is more than a little challenging even if the victim (Poppy) isn’t the world’s nicest person.

There was also another triangle in addition to the boyfriend-stealing triangle. I don’t have an issue with triangles when there’s a legitimate choice to be made, when both options are appealing and you could genuinely understand someone feeling torn, but here it seemed obvious early on who the better choice is for Tessa. I know I would have rather had less of one particular guy and more scenes of Tessa struggling with her writing, being mentored by her teacher, interacting with her Art Of The Novel classmates, confronting the stigma about the romance genre, etc.. More than either of these boys (even the one I liked her with) writing is Tessa’s passion and I would have loved further exploration of that in this book.

This review is sounding so negative but there were plenty of times I did enjoy Happily Ever Afters, the baking was where you really did see artistic passion, and I loved when Tessa first meets Lenore how awkward and real the circumstances were, and the scenes with Tessa’s family were among my very favorites in the book touching on race (Tessa’s mom is white, her dad is black) and disability (her brother) and showing genuine affection and involved parents. Those things assure that despite my issues with other parts of this book I wouldn’t hesitate to try more from this author. ( )
  SJGirl | Jan 18, 2021 |
16-year-old Tessa tells her story in first person. She and her family have recently moved to California. A big part of the story is her relationship with her 19-year-old brother with cerebral palsy. Her friend, Caroline, also play a big role in the book. She loves writing and aspires to be a romance author. What I most appreciated is Bryant’s ability to incorporate several issues confronting young people such as race, disabilities, and mental health. ( )
  brangwinn | Jan 5, 2021 |
Super cute and sweet YA romance with a love triangle!

Tessa’s in a new town starting a new school. It’s not easy being the new girl. Tessa’s always felt different both because of her race and because of her disabled brother. But when she starts at her new prestigious fine arts school, Tessa feels like a new imposter. She’s never shared pages of her novel with anyone other than her best friend Caroline before. She doesn’t know if she can find the courage to keep writing.

Tessa begins carpooling with Sam, the boy next door with a love of Hawaiian shirts and baking pastries. But the second Tessa lays eyes on Nico, one of the most popular boys in school, she has an instant crush. He looks just the love interest she’s writing in her current novel. When Nico finally notices she exists, Tessa has some choices to make about what she wants - both as a writer and in love.

The author’s writing moves from sweet and bubbly to decadent when she’s describing the yummy desserts Sam makes. I enjoyed how some of Tessa’s novel that she’s writing is incorporated into the story. I also loved how fiercely protective Tessa is of her brother. The author did a really good job of dealing with the issues of race that Tessa encountered at school and in life.

Thank you to the publisher for the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Asingrey | Dec 8, 2020 |
Es mostren totes 5
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