Author: Elise Bryant
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Jane the Virgin meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this charming debut romantic comedy filled with Black Girl Magic. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Mary H.K. Choi, and Nicola Yoon.
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 that will surely refill Tessa’s creative well. 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 each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from finding her words, and herself, again. She risks losing her parents’ trust, her spot in the writing program, and her friendships—including the surprising bond she develops with Sam, the aspiring baker who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, yet she can’t help but wonder…Is it the one she wants, after all?
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant is a cute young adult romance about finding yourself, race and disabilities.
Tessa is always writing stories and sharing them with her best friend, Caroline. Tessa’s family moves hours away and Tessa is accepted into a creative program at an art school. After starting at her new school, Tessa gets writers block for the first time. She develops a plan with Caroline to fall in love to get inspiration to write. Tessa meets new friends and struggles with her friendship with Caroline being apart. Tessa meets Nico who looks just like one of the characters in her story. Tessa believes Nico is the perfect guy for her but then realizes she has feelings for someone else. Tessa is left to consider that someone she could never see as a love interest might be the love interest of her story. Tessa has to decide who she wants to be with and hope he wants to be with her too.
I loved Happily Ever Afters. The story is cute and talks about important issues. Tessa grew up around very few black people. Tessa is in multiple situations with racial problems. Bryant discusses how Tessa feels and why she handles the situations the way she does. After moving, she is now around black people and feels like she fits in. Tessa’s brother Miles has disabilities and she discusses how people don’t usually treat him right. Tessa’s parents are always looking out for Miles which sometimes leads Tessa to feel like she isn’t as important. She works through this with her mom. I loved the characters in Happily Ever Afters. Tessa is dealing with fear that she doesn’t belong and anxiety. She wants to do the right thing but sometimes makes bad choices. Sam is a very kind person and always treating everyone with respect. Lenore radiates self-confidence and is a great friend to Tessa.
Thank you Balzer Bray, Harper Collins and Edelweiss for Happily Ever Afters.
About the Author
Elise Bryant was born and raised in Southern California. She earned her BA in Africana studies from California State University, Long Beach, and her MA in special education from Loyola Marymount University. For many years, Elise had the joy of working as a special education teacher in South Los Angeles, and she is also a National Board Certified Teacher. Elise now lives with her husband and two daughters in Long Beach, where she spends her days reading, writing, and eating dessert. Happily Ever Afters is her debut novel.