First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin.
First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.
Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
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 off 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?
I am about 20% into the audiobook of Happily Ever Afters, which is narrated by Jordan Cobb, who is quickly becoming one of by favourite audiobook narrators. She also narrated A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, one of my favourite YA fantasy novels, and One of the Good Ones, one of my most anticipated novels. I think if I see that she has narrated a book, I will now be more inclined to listen to it!
As for the book itself, I am very much enjoying it. There is a sweetness and a relatability to it that I love to find in YA. I am not someone who often reads YA romance, but I just had this feeling that Happily Ever Afters was going to be something special. I also love that Tessa, our main character, is a writer and is enrolled in an arts school full of creative people. It makes for a dynamic read! I also adore Sam already. He is so sweet to Tessa and her brother, Miles, who has cerebral palsy. Sam is also a baker, which explains the muffin on the cover! I cannot wait to see how their relationship plays out.
While the tone of the story is light and fun, there are heavier topics being explored in this novel. Tessa is very much aware of how others look at her brother, and she is often confronted with insensitive comments and glances. Her home life is also complicated as there is a lot of responsibility that she must carry. She is also a great writer but lacks the confidence to share her work with others. I’m sure these themes will be explored even more the deeper I get into the story.
I cannot wait to see where Tessa’s story goes and how her self-worth progresses from here! She is such an authentic character, and I think many people, of all ages, will relate to her. Elise Bryant has another novel, One True Loves, coming out in January 2022, so it was the first official book added to my “most anticipated 2022 releases” shelf!
Is Happily Ever Afters on your radar? What is a YA romances that you loved?