Thursday, April 13, 2017

Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram - Review

The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.

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Hey guys! Long time no see. I'm back with a review or Kelly Oram's Happily Ever After. This is the sequel to Cinder and Ella, an adorable YA modern retelling of the classic fairytale, which some really interesting and unique twists (like Cinderella having a physical disability, a father that is still there but sometimes horrible, and a step-sister who isn't always so bad). This review will contain spoilers for the first book, so if you haven't picked up Cinder and Ella, do so here

Happily Ever After was a fantastic follow up to Cinder and Ella. I read the first book a while ago and for some reason didn't review it, but I remember enjoying it a lot. This book did a great job continuing the story and building the characters, especially our female heroine Ella. After her internet best friend of three years, famous actor Brian Oliver, declares his love for her after meeting at a con promoting his movie, an adaptation of their favorite fantasy book series, she decides to take the plunge and follow her heart. Happily Ever After starts only a week after the end of Cinder and Ella.

I thought that the main conflict of the story was different than most of these kind of retellings (normal girl meets famous boy type). Often the conflict ends up being with dealing with fame or attention or unequal social standing. However, Happily Ever After takes all that in stride to instead focus on Ella's self-confidence issues, as a young woman with a physical disability, and the pressures young people feel towards sex and physical relationships, which are only highlighted by the glamour of Hollywood. 

Ella and Brian are fantastic in this book, and I really appreciated the fact that most of the drama was not about the impending doom of their Cinderella story relationship and more focused on Ella's familial relationship with her estranged father and relationship with her body and mental health as she becomes a public figure via her celebrity boyfriend. The way that the book follows Ella on her journey of self love and self worth is interesting and genuine, and as a person who also struggles with these issues, I found her choices and her bravery to overcome her fears inspiring. I really enjoyed the way that Brian insists on communication and is so supportive as she works through it all. I'm not sure if a guy as perfect as Brian exists, but if he does, I need to find him. Their interactions and dialogue made it feel as though I was watching a romantic comedy and I loved their banter and their connection. All the relationships in both this book and Cinder and Ella are nuanced and authentic and I thoroughly enjoyed following Ella on her journey to being the kickass woman that everyone knew she was. 

Happily Ever After is a fantastic follow up to Cinder and Ella. Expanding on the deep set issues such as family, self-worth, and peer pressure, it is a romantic, hilarious, heartfelt story of a girl who is not afraid of anything but her own potential to take the world by storm and the people who help her realize she is capable of anything. 
Find out more about Kelly and her books here:

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Happy Reading!


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