Phoebe Martins is an avid reader who always has a book nearby. She is content escaping her mundane high school reality in the fantasies of her books–especially a swoony paranormal romance. She has a small, close-knit group of friends, band, archery, and knitting. She doesn’t necessarily want more than that.
Then her best friend Em tries to play matchmaker between Phoebe and dreamy fellow band geek and drama nerd Dev. Phoebe isn’t sure how to feel about Dev potentially liking her or how to navigate her own maybe-crush on him.
So she turns to the heroines in all of her favorite books, of course, for advice on how to overhaul her wardrobe, flirt, and generally be awesome.
But it turns out fictional romances don’t always translate well to reality. If Phoebe wants her own happy ending, she might have to figure out the answer herself in Bookishly Ever After (2016) by Isabel Bandeira.
Bookishly Ever After is the first book in Bandeira’s contemporary Ever After trilogy.
Bookishly Ever After is narrated by Phoebe and includes her “notes” on passages from her favorite novels complete with excerpts and Phoebe’s own underlining and commentary.
Phoebe is a realistic sixteen-year-old who is refreshingly content with her life, friends, and family at the start of the novel. Although Phoebe spends a lot of the story figuring out how to deal with Dev, she remains self-actualized and very aware that her own happiness and fulfillment comes first. She is bookish and fun without being overly precocious–in other words Phoebe sounds and acts her age which isn’t always as common as it should be.
Set over the course of several months in the school year, Phoebe and Dev have a slow courtship as they circle each other and as Phoebe tries to make sense of her own conflicted feelings. Fictional crushes were always enough for her before so the prospect of a real crush–not to mention actual dating–initially feels overwhelming.
Phoebe’s friends are all supportive and memorable with distinct personalities that Bandeira conveys expertly through brief descriptions and asides. Em initially comes across as overbearing but through Phoebe’s eyes readers soon understand the strength and importance of their friendship. It’s also great to see all of the characters have a variety of interests and refuse to be classified as any one thing.
Bookishly Ever After is a fun romance with authentic characters and delightful dialogue. This sweet story is sure to leave readers smiling. Recommended for bookish readers looking for a bubbly new contemporary.
Possible Pairings: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre, Nothing by Annie Barrows, A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Royals by Rachel Hawkins, Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks, Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis, What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad, Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roate, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, By The Book by Amanda Sellet, Recommended for You by Laura Silverman, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
You can also check out my interview with Isabel.
*A copy of this title was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2016*