{Review} BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER by Isabel Bandeira

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

  I ROCKED FORWARD, BALANCING my book on my knees and tried to ignore the yelling and chatter around me. The edge of the cafeteria bench dug into my legs, practically cutting off my circulation, but I barely noticed.
  Em elbowed me, leaning over to hiss in my ear, "Seriously, Feebs, put that down. You look like a freak."
  "Uh-huh. Just one more page...it's getting good." I flipped the page.

(pg. 8, US e-book edition)

"You can't learn everything from books. But you can just suck it up, join the new millennium, and ask him out already."


If you like books about, well, books, BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is exactly what you've been waiting for! The main character, Phoebe, is easy to relate to because she loooooves books. She'll line up hours before a book signing to meet her favorite author--in costume, of course. She'll go to school dances dressed to the nines in a replica of her favorite dressf rom a novel. She gets excited when a book she's been anticipating hits the shelf a few days early. She has book boyfriends.

She is all of us.

Phoebe is so into books that when she discovers her friend Dev might have a crush on her--one she might return--she freaks out because she doesn't know how to flirt or be cool around boys. At all. She decides to take note from her favorite book characters who got the guy and use their nuances whenever she's around Dev. The results are hilarious and embarrassing, but also give her the confidence she needs to begin navigating the world of dating.

Recently, someone asked me for a book similar to FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER was my #1 suggestion. Both books insert segments of novel at the beginning of each chapter, though FANGIRL uses fanfiction and BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER uses "real life" teen novels. With both books, I admit that I wound up skimming the segments after a while because I just wanted to get to the story!!! BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER also gives me pangs that remind me of when I read OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord. I wanted Matt Finch to exist, to go onto iTunes and buy his song "Human" immediately. It wasn't fair that it wasn't real. Likewise, while I skimmed most of Phoebe's book inserts, I read all of the ones for GOLDEN. It would be awesome if Isabel Bandeira was planning to write the book for real and introduce us all to Maeve and Aedan. More CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell where it's a full, realized novel, less LOCKED IN, the novella from FAMOUS IN LOVE by Rebecca Serle that disappointed me to read, because it was too short and fast with too little depth. As crazy out there as GOLDEN seemed (I mean,  leprechauns, really?), I would soooo read it if it existed after reading those passages. I could totally ship the main couple and get behind a girl who kicks butt as much as Maeve!

I really like the fact that Phoebe interacted so much with her friends, too. We need more friendships in YA!! Girls are often catty or they forget their friends the moment a boy appears and they start dating. I love that this didn't happen to Phoebe and her friends!! I especially thought it was great that some of her friend could have been cookie cutter stereotypes, but weren't. I think a lot of teens will see themselves in Phoebe and her friends. I've already told a book lover in marching band to read it!!!

And can we just take two seconds to talk about Phoebe's dad??? Parents who read!!!!! And pass that extreme love down to their kids. YEEEESSSSS. Great parenting, Dad!!!!!!

The only issue I had was a small one that probably won't annoy anyone else. Phoebe and Dev help out as counselors at a special camp for kids moving up to middle school to get the kids bonding. It was weird to me that everyone got pulled out of school to do this, especially so close to summer vacation. Especially since the high school kids were chosen to be in charge of various activities, but instead of doing the same thing (archery) with each group, Phoebe (and, of course, Dev), traveled to each area with their campers. It just felt very summer camp to me. I still enjoyed it, but the oddness of the timing, etc. pulled me from the story a bit.

Overall, I thought BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER was really cute and fun, and it will definitely appeal to all of my fellow bookworms!!!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: PG13 ( some foul words, including an F-bomb, sexual innuendo in the books Phoebe is reading )
Violence: --
Other:  --

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I could take it or leave it, TBH. It doesn't jump out at me on the shelf. I'm not a huge fan of when books have muted pictures hiding behind the colors, and most of your focus is colors. But I know a lot of other people who really like this cover, so it's definitely a me thing!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Isabel Bandeira
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Received: For Review

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?