Monday, November 11, 2013

Isn't She Lovely

by Lauren Layne
4/5 stars
Flirt, 2013
240 pages
NA Contemporary

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I grabbed this book on Netgalley after seeing that it was a contemporary retelling of the Pygmalion tale and I always have a soft spot for that. See My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman, and She's All That for examples. The clincher though ended up being the discovery that the main female character's name is Stephanie! I always lament that I don't see my name much in books despite its popularity in the late 80s.

And I'm so glad I gave this a shot because it was just what I wanted to read this weekend. I found the writing engaging, the humor spot-on, and the sexual tension sizzling. My main complaint would have to be some editing and formatting errors, all of which can be expected when reading an e-ARC; I'm sure they were rectified before release.

What we have is a pretty basic story. Stephanie appears as an angry Goth girl who's really into films. Ethan is a preppy rich jock. They meet, they clash, they get partnered for a film project, which turns into their own Pygmalion experience. Ethan's cash will help transform Stephanie into the perfect preppy girlfriend to get his mom off his back while also providing fodder for their script. But what happens when the participants fall in love for real?

So yeah, it's not like this book is super original in its plotting or character archetypes as you could tell everything that was coming but it was just so satisfying. The characters are very quippy and as the book progresses, some real depth is revealed. Stephanie and Ethan both have pain in their pasts that helps them to bond and to help each other with healing.

How about the love aspect though as that is the main focus? There is only the tiniest of nods to a possible love triangle but that is quickly squelched. As expected both try to deny their feelings and soon think they feel more for the other than is reciprocated but the short length of the book ensures that those moments are not unbearably dragged out.

Overall: A fun and flirty NA title that looks closely at two characters entangled in a contrived situation; perfect for fans of romance (and the name Stephanie :)

Other Opinions:
Ash Wednesday
Ivy Book Bindings
Lisa Jayne~Addicted to Pages
The Random Transliterator

30 comments:

  1. I've been curious about the Flirt line. This one sounds fun!

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    1. It was a great introduction-I had so much fun reading this!

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    1. It was unexpected but I'm glad I liked it so much!

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  3. Awe, I love the way this one sounds. Stephanie and Ethan sound like two characters that I would like. Great review.

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    1. They were such cool people and I kind of wanted to meet them in real life.

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  4. I hadn't heard of this book before but I do like the Pygmalion story. It sounds like a fun book and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It is true that Stephanie isn't in vogue at the moment but hopefully that will change. Christina isn't a popular name for heroines either :)

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    1. I certainly hope Stephanie becomes more popular in books :) The Pygmalion angle was a huge get for me and I hope it encourages others to try this out.

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  5. I LOVE Pygmalion, but the execution can often be hit or miss. I'm glad to hear this one was a hit for you! Sounds like a cute book.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Can be very miss-My Fair Lady always leaves me pissed off at Higgins and what a jerk he is.

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  6. This sounds like such fun! Nice review! Thanks for bringing this story to my attention :)

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    1. You're welcome-I hope you check it out and like it!

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  7. I like the idea of a contemporary Pygmalion and your review makes this one sound like fun.

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    1. So much fun-it makes me want to read more contemporary updates of classics!

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  8. I hadn't heard of this one before. It doesn't sound completely unique or different or anything, but if the characters are great it's totally worth it!

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    1. I think you'd like it-just something about the story and writing made me think of you.

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  9. Pygmalion! Quippy! I don't read much NA and the cover of this doesn't grab me, but you have me really tempted…
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  10. Aw, yay :D I'm glad you ended up loving it. <3 that is always a plus when reading. Love your review; might have to check out the book :) Thank you for sharing. <3

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    1. I hope you check it out-it surprised me with how fun it was.

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  11. This sounds cute! I don't think a book (especially a contemp romance) has to be original in order to be great... it's all about how the author develops the characters and their connection. Sounds like this might be one I'd like to pick up. =)

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    1. It's so hard to make a contemporary truly original so the writing and characters really need to elevate the plot, which I thought this one did.

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  12. I read this book last weekend and completely agree! It was so readable and fun. I loved the characters, and I actually thought there was some originality in the plot, especially the way they explored how compatible they would be longterm and the fact that Ethan really wanted to take his father's business, but not really follow in his family's footsteps. YAY seeing all the good reviews of this.

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    1. I'm glad you liked this too; I didn't think of those two angles as I think Ethan's is especially different. Usually they just rebel entirely against the parent, which can be frustrating.

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  13. Pygmalian re-telling had me curious and fun and flirty ... you sold me :)

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    1. Yay-I think this is a fun book and I really want others to check it out!

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  14. You know what book also has a cool Pygmalion/ Pretty Woman feel to it, but has depth too? Unsticky by Sarra Manning--you should check it out sometime if you haven't already:)

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    1. Getting that added to my list-I have a craving for such retellings!

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  15. So I'm trying to read more NA. Was this clean - was their sexual content?

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. It's cleaner than some I've read but here is sexual content that could offend.

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