Isn’t She Lovely – Lauren Layne

I adored this book, Lauren Layne’s Isn’t She Lovely was that perfect combination of irreverent and serious. If this book was a dessert I would have to compare it to key lime pie that perfect blend of sweet without crossing the dreaded line into saccharine but with just enough tang to keep things interesting. Even if you don’t like key lime pie you still should take the time to read this stellar N/A offering.

Stephanie Kendrick is hiding, her wardrobe, if unrelieved black can be considered a disguise, her location, as far as possible from her father’s new life in North Carolina all carefully designed to avoid her reminders of her old life in Rhode Island.

Ethan Price, yes of THE Manhattan Price’s, is not hiding per se. Unable to enroll in a business course  to accommodate his last minute decision to skip the summer internship at his father’s company his only choice is a NYU film course. The vagaries of fate or at least his professor’s arbitrary partner selection pairs him with the surly Stephanie.

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?

Isn’t She Lovely was blissfully melodrama free, that is not to say that there was not a whole lot going on beneath this Pygmalion-esque story. You see, Stephanie was not ALWAYS the goth girl that she is now, and Evan is blissfully not another bad boy waiting for the right woman to redeem him.

Layne skillfully develops the relationship between these two unlikely characters, first as unwilling partners then as friends. When Stephanie becomes homeless, well it’s either that or room with her ex-boyfriend and the girl he cheated on with, Evan steps in with a plan. The result was an engaging thoroughly engrossing N/A that I raced through. I will definitely read more of this author’s work and look forward to what she comes up with in the future.

AUTHOR: Lauren Layne

RATING: 4 Stars

GENRE: New Adult

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 


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