Dramatically Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
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?
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: As much as you might think I'd relate to Isabel Bandeira's prior heroine, Phoebe Martins, I actually liked Em Katsaros more.
The synopsis for Dramatically Ever After actually had me expecting money and poverty to play a bigger role in the story, and I was kind of disappointed they didn't. I did like how Em had a plan and a goal that drove this book; it isn't just a romance, y'all. Her family felt a little two-dimensional, so more development for them would've been nice. I did like that Grace and Alec got a slightly bigger role in this book than they did in Bookishly Ever After, even though Phoebe is still definitely Em's BFF. (Also I loved the little moments we got with Phoebe and her boyfriend.) I also liked that we got new characters, like Ann and Geoff and the other competitors in the speech contest.
The romance is very much hate-to-love, and even before Em realizes it (because she's still stuck on her sort-of ex, Wil), she and Kris have intense chemistry. Hate-to-love stories can be very enjoyable, and I liked that Em and Kris debated and disagreed but still found ways to be nice to each other.
Language was relatively mild. Romance had a few almost PG-13 moments.
The Verdict: A bit of a slow read but still enjoyable.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably.