Cover Image: Happily Ever Afters

Happily Ever Afters

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

When I started reading this book, I realized something: this is the closest representation I've ever gotten. She's biracial, loves writing, but is secretive about it, social interactions can be draining to her... It was so beautiful to see and I began in this book with a warm feeling!

This book is filled with romance tropes I secretly kinda love. It also deals with peer pressure and trying to fit in at a new school.
Sam was just too sweet. This donut baking boy DESERVE ALL THE LOVE! Another character that stole my heart was Lenore. I could clearly picture her in my head and I would love to read more about her. Maybe a Lenore or Sam standalone??? *grins*
This book also touches on microaggressions, which was very well written. It's a subtle form of racism that some people may not notice, but definitely happens.

"I felt less scared knowing I was going to a new place, that I would be starting over at Chrysalis, where people wouldn't know the difference and notice or, even worse, comment."

The quote above made me chuckle. This summer I chopped of a big chunk of hair. The reason why I did it during the summer holiday was because for the exact reason as Tessa's.

Tessa's brother is disabled and I can't review the book on the disability rep.

Now on to the critique.
I thought it was weird that the main character went after a guy who was taken. Even if they were on and off again, they were definitely on in the book and that's just weird.
It was definitely not a ship I could root for.

I would recommend 'Happily Ever Afters'. It is a lighthearted read with a realistic ending.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley/HarperCollins for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This book is a warm, comfortable hug. That's honestly the perfect way to describe it. You get out of it exactly what you expect... possibly, this is the why I was wanting a little more. It was VERY predictable. I guessed pretty much every step of the way throughout the entire book. Tessa as a character is incredibly flawed (which usually I love) but I wasn't particularly obsessed with how she doesn't care about going after someone else's boyfriend. I also didn't love how she treated the ultimate best character in the entire book, *clearly Sam* - honestly Sam, the GBF (guy best friend) character makes this entire book for me.

I DID love however Tessa's growth as a writer. She has a brother with disabilities, in which the author *nails* what it its like to be the sibling, so so well. I love the relationship she has with her parents, so loving and real. The internal monologue of a half Black, half white teen, going back and forth between a group of privileged white kids & a very diverse, empathetic group was fascinating. The setting, being in a performing arts high school (in which we have creative writers and bakers instead of the stereotypical actor) was SO FUN!!!
Was this review helpful?
From the beginning of Happily Ever Afters, Tessa and her family captivated me. A passionate writer, Tessa loves Meet Cutes and swooning. At the same time, the fear of sharing her work and concerns about the 'legitimacy' of her writing, haunt her. In order to get her inspiration back, she decides to find her own happily ever after. The characters are my favorite part of Happily Ever Afters. Detailed and quirky, you can feel the dreams beating in their caged fears and their vulnerabilities on the page. 

I figured I would love Tessa, but what I didn't realize is how much I'd love the other characters. A central piece of Tessa's family is her disabled brother with athetoid cerebral palsy. At time, she feels like she cannot be 'a burden' because she realizes how much extra care her brother needs. The way her friends treat her brother, as well as her feelings regarding other's opinions of him, is a topic explored throughout the book. Her family, presented with the new move, is trying to do the best they can. Even if they make mistakes, you can tell there's so much love and caring infused in the pages.
Was this review helpful?
I liked that this novel was not only a cute, entertaining read, but it also tackled some deeper worldly issues. I thought this book was so cute and I couldn't put it down.
Was this review helpful?
To say that I loved this book is an understatement! Elise delivers a heartwarming, beautiful story about a young Black girl finding her voice and falling in love at the same time. You will fall in love with these characters immediately and want more of them once you finish. As a  Black woman this is the type of story I’ve always dreamed of reading. If you loved to All The Boys I Loved Before and Jane The Virgin, you will love this!
Was this review helpful?
Tessa is 16, and transferring to a new arts high school for creative writing. When she gets there she starts to fall for Nico, a cute classmate that looks like a character in one of her romance novel drafts. When Tessa gets writer's block and can't make any new progress on her stories, her best friend Caroline cooks up a rom-com worthy plan so Tess can get her "happily ever after" and renew her writing inspiration.

This book is a lovely book for teens about staying true to yourself and growing into the person that you want to be, and not what others may want you to be. The friend characters (Sam in particular) are all wonderfully three dimensional. Positive role models abound!
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars 

This novel is so much more than I expected! 

Tessa, the main character, is flawed but SO likeable. She has just moved to Long Beach, CA, from Northern California, with her mom, dad, and brother, Miles. Miles "has disabilities," as Tessa says, and he is an incredibly well drawn character both on his own and as a part of the m.c.'s family. Having one sibling who accurately announces - everywhere - , "I'm disabled," I found this relationship extremely resonant and moving from start to finish. Along with the move come new neighbors, a new school, and new strains on past relationships. This is also a fantastic depiction of Long Beach and the local dessert scene. Warning: you will want baked goods so much while you read.  

This novel seems like it's going to be the typical YA love triangle, but it has an extremely satisfying set of romantic love stories AND much more important kinds of love stories woven throughout. I'll keep that vague for fellow spoiler haters. There is just the right amount of "WHY IS SHE DOING THIS?!" and "YES, Tessa!" here, and the ancillary characters are involved in meaningful and appealing ways, too. 

I also love the way Tessa interacts with her identities, reacts to/calls out/chooses not to call out certain people's nonsense, and provides insight into her experiences in a way that feels both authentic and not overblown. 

What a tremendous debut. I can't wait to read more from Bryant and feel extra proud to be a fellow So Cal resident in this moment.
Was this review helpful?
I adored this book! Tessa recently moved and is attending a school with a specialization in art. She is FINALLY going to her dream school, but she can't seem to find the words to write. After confiding in her friend, Caroline, who tells her that maybe Tessa needs to experience her own HappIly Ever After. Perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and To All the Boys I've Loved Before!!
Was this review helpful?
Here was another YA romance that I was looking forward to prior to reading, and boy, did this read deliver. I mean, I still can't stop smiling now that I reached the ending. The book follows Tessa, a diverse romance writer whose family just moved to Long Beach with her parents, older brother who has disabilities, and she. One day, just after the move, her brother Miles intends to prank their neighbor, but when she has to clean up the mess, she meets dorky, not fashion savvy Sam in a Hawaiian shirt, and it turns out they'll both be starting at the same art school, where he cooks! Which, side note, I want those lavender donuts he made her SO SO SO bad. My stomach is growling that I cannot, but moving on. So, it's clear he's the dream guy right, because he cooks, huh. Hm, or am I projecting a bit, oh well. It's such a fun and engaging YA that I enjoyed and really got sucked into. I also loved all the YA callouts to classic works from the genre, such as TATBILB, The Hate U Give, and calling Sarah Dessen a queen, yasss I love my bookish references! Then, there's the ridiculously handsome Nico in her writing class that is exactly how she pictured her latest manuscript's love interest. So, love triangle trope time, please! She starts school and with all the anxiety of being the new kid and not knowing anyone and not feeling like she's a good enough writer and deadlines for her novel writing class, it's a terrible time for writer's block, but of course that happens and leaves her feeling like a fraud. Best friend Caroline, back in Sacramento, wants to help and helps Tessa devises a plan to help her get her groove back by having her experience first love and get a boyfriend, so she can get back to writing. This book is shaping up to one super cute slow-burn romances, and I'm digging it. We definitely get a fun love triangle, as she gets closer to previously unavailable Nico, Sam gets a little makeover moment where she sees him in a whole new light. She and Sam just have such an effortless connection while Nico is more of a suave, smooth operator with a girlfriend who flirts with her, so obviously I'm team Sam, bad Hawaiian shirts and zip-off cargo shorts and all. After a few introductory chapters, the plot finally picks up and moves faster, where I just can't put this book down and have to find out what happens next. Like once I'm into this book, I'm so obsessed and just can't stop reading until I finish it because this reads quickly with captivating language that feels authentic for a teenaged first love tale. The real romance at the end is just so cute and dear sweet Sam is just so pure and precious, I mean that homemade ice cream, I swooned. Then, yes there's a HEA, because of course, but what I loved was that it was more than a romantic love, but also focuses on her own self-love and growth, her becoming the best writer she can be, and ahhhh, then she makes her own grand gesture which was just so adorable.  But that end, gah I just wanted more!! The cover's cute and dreamy, and I love how the ending was more about her selflove and confidence, finding her ow voice, which it's just so good.
Was this review helpful?
Sweet like candy 🍬 ⁣
⁣
The description of HAPPILY EVER AFTERS on @goodreads had me like 🤩: a Black teenage girl who attends a creative arts high school gets writer’s block, only to try to live out the tropes of her favorite romances in real life? Sold!⁣
⁣
It’s not that this wasn’t good...it was! The characters were well developed, and like any good YA romcom, the best relationships were among the main character and her best friend.  But the plot did take a while to get going, and at times the dialogue felt a bit forced. ⁣
⁣
Overall, super fun and cute, and I can think of many students of mine who would adore this. ⁣⁣
⁣
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Was this review helpful?
I picked Happily Ever Afters because both the cover art and the synopsis intrigued me. Thanks NetGalley for approving my request.

Happily Ever Afters has quite a bit of heavy real life moments that required me to pause. They make you think and reevaluate certain aspects.

Tessa Johnson is finally attending her dream school where she will get to share her stories. However, her anxiety gets the best of her and it seems like her gift has vanished. With the help of Caroline who hatches a plan. Find Tessa real-life love to get her writing mojo back.

Not only does Tessa have typical teenage worries; surprise period, navigating a new school, boy trouble, but she also has home life to think about. As much as she loves her brother, there are moments you can feel her annoyance not just at him but her parents for holding her to a different standard.

Overall I do think the story was nicely told, it was relatable and easy to follow along. 

My only critique is the amount of puns or comparisons to a certain fandom could be less. It wouldn’t detract from the storyline.
Was this review helpful?
Elise Bryant's debut YA novel, Happily Ever Afters is one young Black girl's quest for a happily ever after. Featuring a flawed, but likable protagonist, and an even more lovable love interest, this book is great for those who like some "meat" on their fun YA. Although the slow-burn friends to lovers romance is a major part of the plot, this book also tackles disability, family dynamics, race, friendship, anxiety, and the struggles of being a young writer. Ultimately, this was a strong debut, and I look forward to reading whatever Elise writes next.
Was this review helpful?
Oh my gosh, this book is so amazing and I loved it. Elise Bryant writes a romance that includes many of the thoughts that teens have today.

Right from the start, I knew that Bryant is so skilled. The familial relationships in this book are as important as the romance, which I love seeing in YA romances. I also loved the friendships because all of the friends are very supportive and have their own plotlines. The main character, Tessa Johnson, is one of my favorite characters of all time. Her character development is one of my favorite parts of the book. 

I love the fact that this romantic comedy also included life moments. I loved seeing the exploration of Tessa's love of writing and Sam's love of baking. I love the message that there is no one way or no right way to be an artist/person of a certain craft.

At the root of it, this book is about all types of love, however, the love that most spoke to me at the moment is self-love and taking care of oneself.. Since I am at home a lot, I've had too much time to sit with my own thoughts. This book made me realize that I need to take a step back like Tessa does. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA. (Also, this book made me hungry, which takes someone who is very skilled. It also made me think about wanting to become a writer maybe.)
Was this review helpful?
Sweet and nuanced contemporary romance centering a Black teenage girl who writes romance. 

There was so much I liked - the way Elise Bryant writes Tessa's anxiety, the friendship dynamics, the family relationships, and the extremely relatable struggle of desperately wanting to be good at something and never feeling like you measure up to the people around you. 

The romance is what fell flat for me, actually. I think I would have liked the book more if the romance had been a smaller subplot in a contemporary novel about Tessa struggling to share her stories, maintain her strained, long-distance best friendship, and understanding that she deserves to be at her new school, taking up space, being herself. 

Elise Bryant is a strong and compassionate writer. I'll definitely be on the lookout for her next book.
Was this review helpful?
A sweet debut from Elise Bryant, Happily Ever Afters is a joy from start-to-finish! Teared up more than once at Tessa writing her own romance. Fans of Jenny Han will absolutely adore and I'm a fan of Bryant's for life.
Was this review helpful?
Content warning: anxiety

This is an adorable YA romance book and I absolutely loved it.

Tessa is a high school student starting a new school this year. It’s an arts based school so Tessa will be able to write endlessly during her classes which is her dream come true. Soon she learns that her biggest fears will come to life when she realizes she’ll have to share her work with her entire class. The start of a new school and sharing her work lead to writers block like she has never experienced. Caroline, Tessa’s best friend, helps Tessa establish a plan to get her writing back in track. As a romance writer, this plan is centered on a real life romance for Tessa. Will the plan work? Will she pursue the right guy? How will she ever be able to write again?

This book was great and explored all relationships that affect teen-aged girls - familial, friendships, romantic and personal. It grasps what I remember it feeling like to be a teenager. It’s frustrating (and you get frustrated with these characters for sure) and anxiety-inducing and complicated beyond all measure because all teenagers are trying to find themselves and how they fit in. It explores wanting to be a part of the in crowd while staying true to yourself and your family. The book truly encapsulates how challenging teenage life can be.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NG and the publisher for a DRC in exchange for a honest review.
I thought this contemporary fiction/rom-com is super cute for YA fans. Tessa is a writer who is moving to a performing arts HS. Her neighbor, Sam, is a cutie who is the perfect guy, but she can't get past the dreamy Nico at school. Rom-com hijinks ensue, and Tessa learns a lot about being her own romance heroine!
Thought it was super cute - would recommend for grades 8 and up.
Was this review helpful?
A sweet romance about the reality of love versus the fiction, writers block, and friendship. Tessa is a wonderful main character, though sometimes her (very realistic) obliviousness to to what her crush is really like, was frustrating. Her brother was a well-rounded and honest portrayal of a character with his specific disabilities. Tessa's fear about presenting her romance themed creative writing to her classmates who write more "serious" fiction was highly relatable. Overall, a perfectly satisfying read from a debut to watch.
Was this review helpful?