Release Day Review: Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne ★★★★★

18668788Isn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne 
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: n/a
Publication Date: October 28th 2013
ISBN: 9780345549112
Page Count: 240
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: The rules are clear—until they’re broken. Lauren Layne puts a New Adult spin on Pygmalion, also the inspiration for Pretty Woman, and gives the classic love story its edgiest twist yet.

“Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?”

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund . . . or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating them. And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?


REVIEW

Isn't it Wonderful

Isn't She Lovely reads like your favourite Romantic Comedy movie set down in pen and ink. Based on an adaptation of the Pygmalion tale, with, cleverly, a plot centred around two film students trying to create the exact same thing, art becomes life and life becomes a lot more complicated in this tale of opposites attract. What made Isn't She Lovely so enjoyable for me is the very thing that makes my favourite movies my favourite movies - chemistry. I mean really, truly GREAT chemistry between the two romantic leads. That indefinable spark that brings a film/book to life. It had all that and so much more. I freakin' loved it!

I can see why there's been movie after movie after movie based on Pygmalion, because there's just something inherently appealing about watching two unlikely comrades-in-arms working together to create this amazing "fool-proof" charade, only to have the plan blow up in their faces as the line between reality and make-believe gets blurred beyond recognition. A lot of these movies are quite clichéd now, however, and I was glad to see Layne tried her best to avoid as much of the cheesiness as possible, while still providing me with a Hollywood-worthy ending sweet enough to make me grin from ear to ear.

Brimming with great banter right from the first page, Isn't She Lovely hooked me instantly and I read it in a single day, which is unusual for me. The witty dialogue doesn't end once things heat up in the romance department, either; it carries on throughout the whole book, really making you feel like the characters were good friends as well as lovers. And yet it never gives the impression that the book is not to be taken seriously. Because there is a lot of emotional stuff in here too. If you've ever watched any of the other adaptations like Pretty Woman, My Fair Lady, She's All That and, one that wasn't mentioned here but that I'm throwing in anyway, Mannequin, then you'll know that trying to create, or recreate, the perfect woman, always seems fun in the beginning (gotta love those makeover montages!), but ultimately leads to a lot of soul searching by both parties. And here it was no different. Can a Goth girl and a spoiled frat boy ever really come together in compromise? Add into that the characters' own troubles, and it was definitely a book with some real, raw emotions going on, despite the ever-present humour.

Stephanie and Ethan were great characters. So endearing and likeable. I was most impressed by Ethan's character, actually. Aside from being a total hottie, which never hurts, he was also a lot more than either Stephanie or I expected. Stephanie even accuses him of being without substance early on in the book during their judgemental, stereotyping phase, but that's far from the truth and I was glad that, although the whole situation of the fake relationship was messy, he never played games. Now Stephanie on the other hand... She was the more troubled of the two, and there were a couple of instances where I felt she was being a little unfair to Ethan. Testing him in circumstances where he was destined to fail. I suppose calling it game-playing would be slightly unfair, but I just felt like the poor bloke was in a lose-lose situation at times. Bless him.

To sum up, I recommend this book to all readers of Contemporary Romance and New Adult. It was one of the most enjoyable NA's I've read so far, leaving me feeling supremely satisfied and yet sad that it was over at the same time. Great fun! ~ 5 Stars ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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