‘Bookishly Ever After’ by Isabel Bandeira – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

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?

My Review

“Life is really good,” I said, not even caring if I sounded incredibly goofy. “Like, burst-into-song, movie musical good.”

This book… AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!! I don’t think I’ve ever read a cuter book!! I just absolutely LOVED it!! happy wiggle

“Once upon a time, there was a geeky book nerd… This nerd also happened to be a knitter who taught knitting classes to pay for her yarn and book addictions. She was very happy crushing on cute guys who looked like book characters, until her best friend messed it all up! Her friend had to ruin her perfect bookish happiness by telling her that a non-book-boyfriend-y boy was the perfect love interest for her. And knitterly girl, after much protesting about her shyness, agreed to try to woo him” by “smiling, being nice, and even acting like her favourite romantically successful book characters…”

Ok so that quote pretty much sums up the whole plot of the story… and if you don’t think that it sounds like the cutest thing ever???????????????

Well……….. okay I can’t really think of any of those threat-like things but my feelings….. oh I’ll be hurt and upset with you…. deeply wounded even because HELLO????????????????? SHE’S A GIRL WHO’S CRAZY OBSESSED BY BOOKS AND ISN’T THAT WHAT ALL OF US READERS ARE??????????????????

So it’s a book about being bookish!!!

What is not to love???????

And as a complete bonus for me….she is also obsessed with knitting!! YAAAAAYYY!!!!! Knitting is my second favourite thing to do after reading!!!!!!!!!!!….oh I forgot about food didn’t I? ……….#awkward…. WELL I LOVE ALL THESE THINGS VERY, VERY MUCH….. I’m sorry I’m just too excited by this book!!!!!!!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

The WHOLE time I was reading I had this big ol’ goofy grin on my face. This book was like a great big steaming mug of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, your favourite squishy duvet, fluffy socks, cuddly puppies and tubs of ice cream all rolled into one sweet little book!!! *heart eyes*

This is the kind of book that I wanted Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fan Girl’ to be…. I guess I better put a health warning / caveat on that and point out that I’m neither a fan of fanfiction nor Harry Potter so I probably missed out on some of the giddiness that a lot of readers experienced with that book because of that…

So this was my giddy book!!!!

Ok let’s try to break this down…

Our main character, Phoebe Martins: She was sweet, funny, socially awkward, lacking in self-confidence… sometimes a little frustratingly so if I’m honest but overall I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally liked her!! I felt for her, her shyness, her awkwardness…she looked to her books for how to act in life because she was so clueless herself. She was such a lovely character. I could see parts of my younger self in her… she was just an adorably sweet main character.

“Nah, I just want to spend some quality girl time with my best friend.” I froze. I had friends and better friends, but no one in sixteen years had ever called me a best friend. It was weird and awesome at the same time. My cheeks stretched almost painfully into one of the biggest grins of my life. I paused awkwardly, unsure of what to say without sounding incredibly uncool, then, to cover up the pause, grabbed her arm and practically started dragging her towards the bookstore.

Our boy crush, Dev: Ahhhh such a cutie…I can’t even deal with how sweet he was!! …..I KNOW!!! I can hear myself….I don’t think I can properly critique this book AT ALL!!!….I’m sorry friends I LOVED IT TOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay then there was Em, Phoebe’s bestie:… guess what I LOVED HER TOO….oh I’m really beginning to sound unoriginal here!!! She reminds me of my bestie, she is the type of bestie that any girl (or guy) would be lucky to have…she and Phoebe had this really nice relationship where they were always there for each other but then had awesome banter and Em was sooo good at getting Phoebe out of her shell but then not changing who she was as a person…basically they each wanted what was best for the other and there’s was a truly loving friendship.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the two of you.” “Why do you have to do anything with us?” I asked… “Because you’re both so stinkingly talented and awesome and fun and I want the rest of the world to see that.”

Oh but Em’s BEST line had to have been this:

“you look like a fairy farted on you with all that glitter”

Besties say the NICEST things to each other!!!!!!

Okay the story… well maybe it was a little drawn out, maybe a little clichéd in places…like okay there were no surprises in this book plot-wise. You know this story before you get started…quirky girl likes boy who she doesn’t think likes her as she thinks he sees her only as a friend and this is complicated by another more conventionally pretty girl making moves on the boy quirky girl likes…you following me??? Yeah…stop me if you’ve never heard of it before… What makes this book different and special???….and me to go all ‘goo-goo ga-ga’ over it… are ALL the cute bookish things the character does. How books ARE her life!! It’s just filled with all these moments that makes us book lovers wanna shoot our hands up in the air and go ‘me too, ME TOO!!!’ high fives a book ….cos that’s not weird AT ALL….eeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!

I passed the book back to him, but not before catching that he was a dog-earer. It hurt my heart to see page abuse like that, but I’d deal.

So what I could have done without was all of this ‘book within a book’ stuff… A key part of the storyline was that Phoebe wrote down passages of her favourite books in a notebook and used these passages to help her how to act in her life…this was fine. Nicely done when it was a few quotes scattered throughout the main body of the novel …it was just that at the end of some chapters whole chunks of these books were written out and they felt disjointed from the rest of the story. Yeah so I could have done without that. Sorry! Eeeeek!!!

And one teeny tiny issue that I had too was this…. There was one character in the book who claimed that The Catcher in the Rye was his favourite book and it was therefore implied that he was a book snob for not reading contemporary YA…..

The Catcher in the Rye is MY favourite YA novel of all time bu buu buuut but I’m not a bookish snob…*WAILS* I read mostly literary classics as a teenager too. It was just what appealed to me…. WE ARE ALL ALLOWED TO HAVE OUR OWN FAVOURITES!!!…. It doesn’t make us snobs or any better or less better than anyone else *sniffs*…. (I know…I shouldn’t take these things to heart!!!!!!!!!)

Quotes and passages that I loved:

“ Will someone please tell me why no one in dystopian or apocalyptic novels has bad vision? I’m so blind without my contacts that, if we ever have a nuclear or zombie apocalypse, I’m screwed. I won’t even be able to get contact solution, and, if my glasses break, that will totally suck. If the world was ending and people were scrambling for their lives, you know there would be some people going ‘Guys? Guys? I can’t see where you are.’”

• “Really,” she said, “aren’t you the one who always says, ‘It’s never just a book?’” Her last few words were said in a perfect imitation of me.

• “I loved new books. The crisp pages, the smell, and the sense of potential as I carefully broke in the spine made getting them one of the best feelings in the world. Getting one at a book launch with the actual author—an even better feeling. Getting one at a book launch with the actual author when the author is a rock star flying around the country to release the third book in her four book series and has a crowd of fans sitting outside the bookstore and waiting for hours to meet her? Electric.”

• “Too bad real boyfriends aren’t as awesome as book boyfriends.”
“At least real boys don’t get brainwashed by the enemy and try to kill you?” I said, trying to play devil’s advocate.

• “Grace and Leia said they’ll meet us at the bookstore,” she dangled that last word over her shoulder with a grin. “You need some time away from that notebook and I need coffee, so we figured this would be a good compromise.” I had a to-be-read pile about as tall as me back home, but I’d never say no to a bookstore. “I like your compromise.”

So I…as you may have guessed by now, LOVED this book…I know it is not perfect, I can see the flaws…but I don’t care! Because it made my little girlish heart sing and put the biggest smile on my face… “and they all lived bookishly ever after.” *heart melts*

Four stars

“‘ Sometimes you need to leave everything you know to find yourself and to learn that life isn’t a solo,’” I had to stifle a giggle at the fact that I was quoting a line from a real poem quoted by a fictional character being quoted by another fictional character. Like book geekishness times three”


Read in February 2016

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