Happily Ever Afters

Happily Ever Afters

Book - 2021
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Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She's rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she's a true leading lady is in her own writing--in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she's excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just...gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she's ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa's stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming. But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline's list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about--including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She's well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?
Publisher: New York, NY :, Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, 2021.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2021
ISBN: 9780062982834
Branch Call Number: TEEN FICTION Bryant Elise 01/2021
Characteristics: 378 pages ;,22 cm


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Feb 24, 2021

Tessa Johnson has just moved with her family into a new neighborhood and she is about to start in her new school, Chrysalis Academy for the arts, where she will be participating in their writing program. One of the first people she meets is a boy she calls Hawaiian Shirt because of his daily attire. Later, she finds that his name is Sam, he lives across the street, and he will be taking her to school because he is in his first year in the culinary arts division of Chrysalis Academy. Tessa is anxious as she approaches her first day of school, but she makes friends quickly and seems to be adjusting until she goes to her first novel writing class and finds that she can't write a word. This goes on for days and Tessa panics, so she calls on her best friend from her former neighborhood, who has a plan to help Tessa get out of her writing slump by getting her a love life.

Happily Ever Afters is a fairly predictable story but still shines due to the well developed characters and realistic emotions. Tessa goes about everything in the wrong way and we can see her make mistakes, but still root for her because her actions are understandable based on her thoughts and feelings. Her attachment to her disabled brother adds to the story because it is clear that she loves him even though, at times, he drives her nuts. Overall, this is a well thought out YA novel with recognizable themes and an enjoyable plot.

Jan 05, 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.

LPL_MaryW Dec 19, 2020

Tessa’s family just moved across state, and she’s so excited to start at her new school, Chrysalis Academy. A Black biracial hopeless romantic, she never saw herself represented in the novels she loved, so she’s been writing them herself since forever, with best friend Caroline as her only reader. But as soon as she starts her writing program at Chrysalis, Tessa gets major writer’s block. Caroline’s idea—Tessa needs to fall in love for real to get her groove back! Will it be smoldering Nico or sweet-as-sugar Sam? Between combating microaggressions and genre stigma and caring for her wonderful and disabled brother, Tessa becomes the heroine of her own story.


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