Summary: Senior year is not shaping up to be the picture perfect movie Em Katsaros had imagined. Her super hot leading man is five thousand miles away. Her dad just got laid off. And Em can kiss her first-pick university goodbye if she doesn’t snag a scholarship. To turn this Shakespearean tragedy into the Academy Award-winning dream Em has written for herself, she enters a speech competition and manages to cinch a spot in the US Youth Change Council national round. She gets to spend a week in Boston and her prayers might be answered if she can kick butt and win one of the national scholarships. Everything seems to be going by the script until she finds out Kris Lambert–senior class president, stuck-up jerk, and her nemesis–is going, too. Cue the dramatic music. In Boston, Kris is different. Nice. Cute, even. But she knows his game way too well–be nice to your opponents and then throw them under the bus on your way to victory. Instead of becoming his next victim, Em decides to turn the tables by putting her acting and flirting skills to work. Unfortunately, as they get close to the final competition and judging, reality and acting start to blur. Can Em use the drama from the stage to get the future she’s been dreaming of?
Another winner from Isabel Bandeira. I really enjoyed Bookishly Ever After, which focused on the dreamy and bookish Phoebe, and now, the opportunity to read a story from the point of view of her theatrical friend Em was a treat. Readers won’t doubt for a second that the sparks flying between Em and her speech competition rival Kris are going to result in romance, even if Em is absolutely certain that’s impossible throughout most of the book. But that’s beside the point. Watching the two of them circle one another, doubt themselves, and find new strength in each other’s confidence is a pure delight. Bandeira’s books are populated by a cast of well-drawn and likeable supporting characters, and this book is no exception. From the friends who appeared in the first book, like Phoebe, Alec, and the ever practical Grace, to the new friends Em makes at the speech writing competition, most notably driven and hippie-esque Ann, the characters are multi-dimensional and realistic and simply make you want to keep reading to get to know them better. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series, Practically Ever After, which will be from Grace’s point of view.
DRAMATICALLY EVER AFTER is out now.