Rating: 2.5 / 5
I received HAPPILY EVER AFTERS by Elise Bryant in my YA Once Upon a Book Club box. This is another book I wasn’t familiar with, but being a romance, it seemed like an appropriate book to pick up during February!
HAPPILY EVER AFTERS centers on Tessa Johnson, a young woman who doesn’t see herself represented in the romance books she loves to read. She loves to write her own stories, but she’s hesitant to let anyone except her best friend read them. Tessa is excited to get into a creative writing program at a local magnet school, but the pressure really gets to her and she’s facing her first case of serious writers block.
On the personal front, Tessa and her best friend decide that a real life romance will give her inspiration to write again and they put Tessa on a mission to win the guy of her dreams. Unfortunately the guy of her dreams happens to have a girlfriend.
Sadly this book was not a good fit for me. The author weighs heavily into the HP fandom (we’re talking fanfiction, kids wearing costumes to school on a random weekday, etc.). Given that I’ve never been a part of that fandom and especially not given JKR’s public image and statements of late, I felt like this was very excessive. There is one passing thought in the main character’s mind about JKR being not so great even though HP still is, but it was pretty minor compared to all the HP love. Aside from that love triangles are just never going to be a favorite thing for me in reading and a girl going after a guy with a girlfriend, even if that girlfriend is depicted to be not so great, just kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Apart from that there were things to enjoy. I loved the friendships that Tessa developed over the space of the novel (including the friend who made treats I just wanted to pull from the page). Tessa brings up some serious subjects of Black representation that came through strongly. Tessa’s brother was disabled and the were some honest discussions about how people with disabilities are treated as well.
In the end this just wasn’t a good fit for me, but that’s okay! I love that this subscription has me picking up things that I wouldn’t necessarily have reached for otherwise. While that means not everything will be a favorite, I have found some surprise gems along the way. Even with a book I don’t entirely gel with I still get to open presents as I read and that’s always fun!
Interested in this subscription? Use my code DGREADS10 for 10% off your order!