Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira Review: When reality becomes better than fiction

December 28, 2015 by Aila J. | ARC Reviews, Books

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira Review: When reality becomes better than fictionBookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
Series: Ever After
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on January 12, 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
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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?

This was hands-down the most adorable book I’ve read this year. Not going to lie, Spencer Hill has some amazing contemporaries out there, and Bookishly Ever After was no exception. What drew me to this book at first was the fact that the main character is a total bookworm and the love interest plays clarinet. (Both aspects of me!) Not to mention the cover is absolutely lovely, too. However, you’ll find that this book’s simple yet realistic plot will draw you in until you can’t stop flipping the pages to see how Phoebe’s situation will work out.

This is one of the few times where high school felt like high school. I’m often a complainer of high school settings that really don’t feel like what I myself experience in real life (in fact, I have a GR shelf labeled “so-this-is-high-school” to showcase those). But Isabel Bandeira really hit the nail on the head! Obviously different people have different experiences, but I could connect to Phoebe and her friends so hard, and I know many of my friends would, too. Their dialogue and the small things they do that shape their character is simply a delight to read, and I was never bored.

I really like how the diversity is there in the book, but it remains subtle. No flashy, “DEV IS ONE OF THE SIX INDIAN KIDS IN OUR SCHOOL” that we may see in YA fiction. It’s weaved seamlessly into the story, which definitely made me appreciate it more. The characters themselves are each unique and diverse. We see not only cheerleaders but also band members, drama students, and mathletes; a nice reprieve from the typical “nerd” that characters are commonly labeled. None of them adhere to stereotypes too, which is just so refreshing to see. I wouldn’t mind coming back to this world and getting to know them better.

Us readers can definitely relate to Phoebe. She’s the girl with her nose stuck in a book while walking down hallways (me), cosplaying favorite characters, and getting inspiration from said characters. We even get glimpses of the notes she takes on particular book characters that help guide her love life. Ahh, and the romance – young love at its finest! We go through the whole range of a teen’s emotions and romantic entanglements: infatuation, jealousy, crush-worthiness, rejection, misunderstandment, and more. It all plays out quite realistically (there’s really no melodrama) and definitely brings out readers’ memories of their own experience.

The love interest Dev is just darling. He may not be an immortal vampire, powerful wizard or boy stuck in the wrong time period, but I definitely would take him up as a boyfriend anytime! Dev’s understanding for Phoebe’s reading is the absolute cutest – he even took up reading several books because of her excitement! If that’s not true love, then I don’t know what is. His caring and charming attitude had me grinning so hard throughout the book.


Get ready, fellow bibliophiles, because here is a contemporary that you cannot miss, featuring one of our own. With a unique spread of characters amidst a realistic high school setting that you can just step into, Bookishly Ever After delivers a fun and charming tale of a bookworm searching for her own happy ending.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Thanks you Spencer Hill Contemporary for a review copy!

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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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36 responses to “Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira Review: When reality becomes better than fiction

  1. It’s so wonderful when you can see some parts of your life in a characters, and I had no idea that play clarinet. Often while reading books with high school settings I wonder how much truth in them in this aspect (since I’m a foreigner I don’t have such experience), I need to look at you GR shelf. Great review, Aila!
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  2. Aww Josie that's awesome! (In regards to the guy you know because woo wee you don't find many like them in the world.) It's so adorable, I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    • Hehe thanks so much! <3 I really hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. 🙂 (And I'm certain us bibliophiles will certainly connect to Phoebe)

  3. I recently finished this and I completely agree with you! This book is really adorable, and it truly felt like high school. I definitely could connect to Phoebe since I do most of the things she do xD And Dev is really sweet, I just hope that the boys at my school is more like him. Anyway, great review Aila!
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    • Hehe I'm so glad you think so Tiffany! Seriously, isn't Phoebe basically us bibliophiles? And Dev – omg if there WERE a boy like that in my school, I would've grabbed him already at this point bahaha.

    • Ahh I'm so sorry about that Cynthia! Luckily, it's coming out in just another week or so – I can't wait for you to get your hands on it! 😀

  4. keionda

    I SO wouldn't complain if I had a boyfriend like the one in this book! He seems to be swoony enough and the fact that he's not some paranormal guy is cool too even though pfft, those types of guys are hot as well! <3

    • Ahh I'm SO glad to have changed your perspective haha. 🙂 For me it was definitely not cringe-worthy, just filled with loads of adorable-ness, awkward moments, and a bibliophile I think we can all relate to.

    • Literally yes! Omg, I'm pretty sure loads of bibliophiles will connect to Phoebe. 🙂 DEV IS JUST AMAZING. Honestly, if I had a boy like that in my school I would've grabbed him ages ago. Also – title and cover are both amazing. Agree 110%.

  5. Well, if I was excited before, I'm definitely EXCITED AS HECK right now! I am ALL for realistic high school settings (since, you know, I am in high school) and characters. Dev sounds ADORABLE, and honestly, if there's anything I look for in a guy, it's that he understands my reading obsession. 😉 <3
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    • LITERALLY CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ THIS ONE. Dude, this high school setting was so on-point I just *clutches heart*. Sometimes it's hard, you know, for authors to pinpoint what kind of experiences their readers can relate to, but Bandeira hits the nail on the head. AND DEV YES if there was a guy like that at my school I would've grabbed him in a heartbeat. <3

    • I agree too. Like, how many books have I read where the author so BLATANTLY shoves a character's diversity in your face and checks off the list for "diverse character"? Um, no thank you. Luckily, this one was done very nicely and fit very well with the story. 🙂 My pleasure for sharing!

    • Hehe thanks! <3 Sorry you had issue though (I kind of overlooked the lengthiness of the book myself because I loved the characters so much.) I'm hoping all the bookworms will be able to relate to Phoebe and her antics!

  6. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books

    Great review Aila! 🙂 This book is pretty high on my tbr, I can't wait to get it after it releases! Plus an Indian male lead… I've rarely read any book with Indian characters, so yeah I'm pretty exited to read it being an Indian myself! 😀

    • Thanks Poulami 😀 I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ THIS ONE. Omg, if there was a boy like Dev at my school, I would've grabbed him ages ago. And ahhh I just hope you like this one as much as I did. 🙂

  7. Aila, this is your second contemporary review in a row! What is happening?! Haha, just kidding. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this fluffy and cute read and that it was realistic for you. High school contemporaries always seem a bit unrealistic to me because I think the school system is pretty different in Aus (probably why I enjoy Aus YA contemporaries so much). Dev sounds like a cutie and I can't wait to meet him!

    • WELLL, I guess I had to make up for the low rating review, didn't I? Lol 😛 Omg I never took that into consideration – it must be WEIRD to read about a whole different school system. I can definitely understand where you're coming from. BUT YES DEV IS THE CUTEST and I can't wait for you to meet him too! <3

    • HAHA YESSS to all the cute contemporaries! They're basically the only ones that I really actually ever like haha. CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS ONE!

  8. tanazmasaba

    Great review! I've been wanting to read this book for a looooong time. The plot sounds so interesting, but I was afraid it would be full of fluff and nonsensical characters. Good to know that isn't the case.

  9. This sounds like a super cute contemporary Aila that really brought out a spectrum of emotions! Sometimes we just need these fun, fluffy reads to sink our teeth into to relax and destress. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

    • Oh definitely Jeann, definitely. I find that those are the only contemporaries I can stand these days. (… whoops? haha) I'm pretty sure lots of bibliophiles will be able to relate to Phoebe in this one!

    • Heheee I actually like the title very much :)) But yes to all things with books! I'm pretty sure many bibliophiles will connect to the bookworm Phoebe. The school system IS quite American though, so it may be a little hard to connect to in that aspect? Haha.

  10. I recently read this one myself, but I didn't love it as much as you did. I did think it was really cute though, but some of the story got old real fast for me. I loved Dev though! Such a sweetheart. 🙂
    I'm glad this was a good read for you, Aila!
    Lovely review!
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    • Haha me too Nick, and I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did. The lengthiness of the book was kind of a turn-off, butttt I still loved it due to the characters' antics and general adorable-ness. And DEV YES OMG if there were a guy like that in my school, I would grab him in a heartbeat.

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