Cover Image: One True Loves

One True Loves

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Member Reviews

This book made me smile the whole time. I loved getting to know the depths of Lenore and getting past her obvious public persona from Happily Ever Afters. Alex was so charming and everything a person who doesn’t feel seen needs. I cannot wait to hand this book to every teen that comes into my workplace!
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5 stars 

Elise Bryant is becoming one of my true loves in the wonderful world of YA romance. After reading and loving her debut novel last year, I was thrilled to dive into this one and was not disappointed. 

Readers meet Lenore, Bryant's m.c., during the final weeks of her senior year of high school, and while we only get to follow her for a few weeks, we get to know her well because of the volume of pivotal moments and realizations she's having during this short window. While Lenore faces what I'll refer to with intentional vagueness as romantic challenges, she comes upon some unexpected opportunities when she heads on a graduation/birthday European cruise with her family. However, just as romance is not Lenore's only goal, it's certainly not Bryant's only focus. The titular concept misdirects readers - who are used to some simplification in many YA romances - into thinking that this novel is going to be about *the one*. Instead, it's very much about finding who we really are and what we actually love. That can be tough to do at any age or stage, but for a recent high school grad with a very specific college acceptance in hand, brilliant siblings on the sides, and involved parents hovering near, the challenge is especially harrowing. 

Unintentionally, in the writing of this review, I'm already noticing that I've barely mentioned the actual central romance, and I think that's a testament to Bryant's skill. The romance is sweet and layered and engaging, but it is also not the only thing that matters...to Lenore or apparently to this reader. 

I continue to be a mega fan of Bryant's work and am already excited to see what comes next!  Recommended, obviously!
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One True Loves was such a fun romance set on a Mediterranean cruise! When I read Elise's debut, Happily Ever Afters, I loved Lenore and was totally hoping she'd get her own book. Now I have to admit that I liked One True Loves even more.

It follows Lenore as she falls in love while on a cruise with her family following her high school graduation. Lenore is also struggling with deciding on a career path as she prepares to start school at NYU--a school she's not quite sure she actually wants to go to. Her parents are putting a lot of pressure on her to figure things out and commit to a path. I loved that this book tackles complex themes like familial expectations while also being a swoon-worthy romance. 

One True Loves is definitely an enemies to friends to lovers book, which was so fun! I adored Alex and loved watching him and Lenore fall for each other while exploring along their cruise. In the meantime, Lenore is also learning to let her true self shine and to stop performing who she *thinks* she's supposed to be. Her brother Wally is also struggling and Lenore is trying to figure out how to help him.

In terms of rep, Lenore and her family are Black; her brother Wally is gay. Alex is half-Black and half-Korean. 

I'll definitely be recommending this one a lot at my library! It can be enjoyed as a standalone or alongside Happily Ever Afters.
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Thank you to HarperCollins and Netgalley for an eARC. 

This is a YA romance book about two recent high school graduates who meet on a summer vacation. Even though Lenore hates Alex from the beginning, she agrees to start fake dating to make his ex jealous. 

I don't think i'll ever get tired of the fake dating trope. So many books use it, and it can be so cliche, but I can't get enough of it. 

My favorite romances are always ones with layers, and this is the perfect example of it. One true Loves starts a really important conversation about stereotypes people of color are forced to deal with. As I''m white, I've never experienced this and I loved getting an insight about it. I will definitely be thinking about this book for a long time. 

It was a little cringy at times, but it also had a lot of moments that made me laugh out loud. It was so fluffy, and exactly what I wanted. And I may just be emotional, but I almost cried tears of joy at the end. 

Overall, 4.5/5
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4.5 stars! 

This book is an adorable YA romance set on a Mediterranean cruise. Lenore and Alex are two recent high school graduates, on a summer vacation with their parents. It's hate at first sight for Lenore when Alex asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend to make his ex jealous. Then, when their families are seated together at dinner, the parents become fast friends. The two teens are thrown together, they too become friends, and then much more. 

And, yet, it is so much more than "just" a romance. Lenore is the daughter of successful Black parents with high expectations for their three offspring. Alex is the only child of a similarly successful Black mother and Korean father.  For me, as a white woman, it was an insight into the microaggressions and stereotypes that people of color live with every day. As a white woman and a high school teacher, it made me so much more aware of my own biases. 

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in return for an honest review.
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Elise Bryant may have just converted me into YA fiction! I first fell in love with her work on HAPPILY EVER AFTERS, so I was very excited to hear that this was on its way. Like its predecessor, ONE TRUE LOVES is very of-the-moment, with snappy cultural references and just the right amount of snark that will make you laugh (or cringe!) in recognition. For me one of the strengths of this novel is in the development of not just the protagonist. Bryant also treats readers to the personalities of the other members of the Bennett family; even characters who appear only briefly feel like they've been fully-fleshed out. The portrayal of both parental expectations and societal expectations for BIPOC hit a little too close to home, but it's exactly this relatability that makes Bryant's work so appealing.
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Thanks to NetGalley, et al. for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book so much, probably even more than I loved Happily Ever Afters (and I really did love that book). Maybe it’s because I related to Lenore and her relationship issues a little too much? This book was an absolute fluffy, adorable, brilliant ride and that ending practically had me in happy tears (I might be a little emotional today, though? YMMV.)
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One True Loves is a very sweet story! I loved getting to know Lenore (from Happily Ever Afters) better. I think this is a book my students will really connect with as Lenore struggles to figure out what she wants for her future versus what her parents expect of her. The European cruise was a fun setting and I was rooting for Alex and Lenore the whole time!
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I love Elise Bryant and I love these books! The book follows Lenore, friend of our fave Tessa, from Happily Ever Afters, and LENORE IS ICONIC. She is a character I know my students will be able to relate to because she's not perfect, but she is a FORCE OF NATURE. The book is also set on a cruise, so there are some lovely scenic descriptions on top of a beautiful love story. My favorite part of the book, however, was the depiction of anxiety and mental health through the lens of teenagers. This book gives license for teenagers to be completely and wholeheartedly themselves and I'm so excited for my students to get their hands on Bryant's newest love story.
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I adored this book. I was expecting something sweet after reading Elise Bryant's first book, and although this book is a romcom, and has sweet moments, this one has more depth than the first one. Lenore is struggling to live up to her parents' very high expectations, and the way that Bryant writes about the particular expectations that parents of color have for their children in the United States really rings true (as an Asian child of immigrants). Bryant always writes young voices with ease and natural-sounding dialogue, and the conversations all the characters have about race in America, and in their lives, are engaging. The love interest, Alex, is sweet, and also portrays a character with a different approach to life than Lenore's. I like that they can respect each other's different journeys (this takes Lenore a bit). Finally, Lenore is smart, artsy, and speaks her mind. That's the female protagonists we should all be cheering for. Highly recommend this book.
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After devouring Elise Bryant’s Happily Ever Afters, I was instantly so stoked to learn that she was writing a follow-up to Tessa’s story about her bestie Lenore. Oh, and it takes place while traveling the world. Um, yes, please!  Lenore's family is set for a high-seas adventure on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate her high school graduation which gave me all the wanderlust feels, and as they do, they met their dining companions: fellow high school graduate Alex and his parents. Alex and Lenore couldn't be more different and yet, they find themselves drawn to one another in this absolutely adorable YA rom-com. The language is so witty and relatable that I was drawn into the story from the get-go and couldn't put this quick read down. Absolutely precious and that HEA and conclusion left me grinning from ear to ear.
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I enjoyed this light hearted rom-com follow up to Happily Ever Afters about Tessa's friend Lenore. She doesn't believe in happily ever after or love and is surprised to find herself falling for someone unlikely on a summer vacation.

I think a lot of teens will resonate with the feeling of uncertainty that Lenore is having as she is about to head off to college but isn't 100% sure what she really want to be doing or the direction she is headed. She feels like the odd one out in her high achieving family and I know a lot of kids will feel connected to her.
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I loved Happily Ever Afters so I was excited to read One True Loves. It did not disappoint! I found Lenore's character a little harder to relate to than Tessa's but loved both her personal story and her romance. I will definitely recommend this to our teen romance fans!
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This book is an absolute delight. Not only is this the book I would have loved when in high school, this is still the book I love now! 

Lenore’s love life is struggling back home and se feels like a fifth wheel with her friends. She’s set to go to college, but isn’t as excited as she should be. Her family is headed in a European Cruise and sets up the potential for a summer fling abroad? 

I loved this book! It made me so happy to see such positive and joyful representation of Black girls. There are conversations about the pressures children can face when their parents are always striving for Black excellence, but a lot of love, travel, and art in this book. Will be adding it to my classroom library and recommending to anyone who loves travel! It’s the perfect spring break book (or summer vacay book).
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Minor spoilers ahead!

Elise Bryant had me hooked when I read Happily Ever Afters a couple months ago– something very bubbly and feel good about the way she writes the world, and love, and it just made me feel so warm and fuzzy so I knew she would immediately become a summer read auto-buy for me!

Which is why when I was approved for an ARC on Netgalley for this spin-off with Lenore I squealed a lot!

Oh Lenore, such a mix of realism and optimism and romanticism in her character that I just enjoyed so much. I loved seeing her arc with her brother especially (Wally, angel, I love you so much) and I loved watching her build her confidence to know what she wanted and deserved and, in the end, how she stood up for her vision of her future. Also the way anxiety and mental health were handled was, in my opinion, really really nice to see! Lenore was just so easy to root for and she was funny and I enjoyed her voice a ton! I loved the way this book wrapped up, it was so romantic and satisfying and I genuinely can't wait to read more by Elise and put these into my summer rotation! 

Also i full on snorted soda out of my nose when Lenore threw up all over Alex on the boat, like i was DYING lol!
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One True Loves is a fantastic follow up to Elise Bryant's Happily Ever Afters, handling heavy topics with the same deftness and light touch as the first in the series.

Lenore is a different kind of character than Tessa -- she is pragmatic where Tessa is romantic, cautious where Tessa leaps in with both feat. Her relationships are different because of this, and this is where the strength of the novel lies -- in the ways that Lenore interacts with her family, especially her brother and her parents, as she navigates living up to her parents expectations while truly being herself. The themes are universal, while at the same time deeply personal and specific to Lenore as a young Black woman from Long Beach, California. 

There is also a sweet love story, although it did not grip me as tightly as the family dynamics. There are also a few genuinely laugh out loud funny moments (and some great little tidbits for those of us who know the Long Beach area well -- shoutout to the Seal Beach bathrooms!). 

A fun, fast read that will make you feel some feelings -- and make you long for your own European vacation.

Thank you to NetGalley and Balzer + Bray for the ARC!
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What a classic YA romcom 💗

I enjoyed HAPPILY EVER AFTERS last year, and was glad to see the series continue with Lenore, who I felt was most interesting. The book follows her immediately after her high school graduation as her family takes a Mediterranean cruise. 

The stakes were low, but I actually really liked that. This reminded me of the YA books I loved as a teen: realistic characters encountering realistic problems. And two leads were so cute together 🥰

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for an eARC in exchange for this review.
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ONE TRUE LOVES by 
@elisembryant
 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
How dare Elise write the cutest stories ever?! I love Lenore so fricking much and I just want more fluff with her and Alex ASAP!!
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Black and brown girls everywhere deserve tear-filled, swoony, jump-from-your-seat w/ excitement love stories like One True Loves. I L-O-V-E-D Happily Ever Afters, Elise Bryant's debut novel, but I think it's safe to say that I loved One True Loves even more! For those who haven't read Happily Ever Afters, don't worry! You can jump into One True Loves, without missing a beat!

I devoured the book in just under a week, sneaking away to read between edits and staying up way past my bedtime to do so! I cried, smiled, and laughed the entire time! I mean, there were fart jokes that had me laughing out loud and the sweetest moments between Lenore and her love interest that had me smiling from ear to ear!
 
One True Loves is a swoony cruise ship romance that pulls its reader around Europe to witness a budding romance between Lenore and a boy as beautiful as the places they explore together! Bryant wrote unapologetically, tackling serious issues such as mental health, uncertainty about the future, and what it feels like to be a black girl who doesn't have it all together quite yet. Again, this book was perfect and such an enjoyable read. Having the opportunity to read a story with a black girl at the center being seen, known, and loved by a boy who is beautiful both on the inside and outside is a breath of fresh air. We are no longer just the best friend! We have our own love stories too! Ah! I love it!

Don't walk, but run to buy this book as soon as it releases!! You won't regret it!
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✨Book Review✨
One True Loves by Elise Bryant
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
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I love love loved this book. I think I might have even liked it more than Happily Ever Afters, but I truly can't decide. The fact that parts of it took place in my two favorite cities on the planet (Long Beach and Rome) sealed the deal for me. I also LOVED the cruise ship setting.  
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This book follows Lenore, one of Tessa's best friends from Happily Ever Afters. Lenore is such a gem of a character. Bryant did such a wonderful job writing her as a deep, flawed, yet beautiful human. I love all the layers of her that this book uncovered. I LOVED that this book talked about mental health, anxiety, race, family dynamics, and the pressure that young people sometimes feel to live up to their parents' expectations.
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If you love YA romance, and even if you don't, I highly recommend this book. It had me feeling all of the feels. <3
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