Isn’t She Lovely
by Lauren Layne
Published by Flirt (Random House)
Genre: chick lit; new adult lit; romance
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5
That Pygmalion sure was a clever guy. Taking a low rent woman and making her high classy – who knew that story would resurface over and over again, sort of like an Ophelia who just won’t drown?
In this latest retelling, we have Stephanie Kendrick, an NYU student spending the summer before her senior year in a film class because she’d rather be there than at home. Her mother passed away shortly before Stephanie’s high school graduation, and dear old Dad moved to North Carolina, which Stephanie doesn’t really consider “home” anyway.
She meets Ethan Price, a gorgeous rich kid, and opposites sort of attract. Okay, they really attract, much to their collective horror. Stephanie is the last thing Ethan wants in his life, and she would rather be dragged by hounds through the gates of hell than be with him.
If only their hormones were as obstinate.
They are partnered together to write a film script, and the idea they have is to rewrite Pygmalion, updating it with a goth-like heroine who turns into a snazzy society girl, thanks to the careful ministrations of a society boy. And guess what! Stephanie could be just like that goth-like heroine, and Ethan could be just like that society boy!
Their plan is made all the easier when Ethan turns to Stephanie for help: he needs to present a girlfriend to his family to keep his parents from trying to get him back together with the ex-girlfriend who cheated on him.
Isn’t it FABULOUS?
It is … sort of.
Stephanie spends most of the book being utterly dislikable. She’s too wrapped up in herself to be much use to anyone, least of all Ethan. She tries so hard to be all dark and mysterious in an attempt to be the Real Her that she completely loses track of who the Real Her is. Ethan sees, though. And Ethan is funny. He calls her ‘Morticia’ and his “delicate flower.” I liked Ethan, even if he’s a bit cookie cutter and predictable.
The thing is, though, that I enjoyed the book. For all of its “you can see that coming a mile away” plot, it’s fun. And cute. And kind of sweet. You know Ethan and Stephanie will get together, and even when they fake it for the crowd, you know there are true feelings going on between them. They may try to avoid caring for each other, but we know they do. They just have to settle their own lives before they can stop pretending to be someone they aren’t.
I think my biggest issue with this book is the supporting cast. There is nothing new there whatsoever, not even a new twist on an old idea. Ethan’s parents are rich and uptight. SHOCKER. Stephanie’s father loves and supports her even when she’s awful to him. Never seen that before.
Thankfully, Ethan makes it worthwhile, and he keeps you turning the pages. It’s difficult to care about Stephanie because she’s ordinary masquerading as unique. There is so much self-chicanery that I sort of lost interest in her. Only when she realizes what a phony she is does she get interesting. And by then … well, there aren’t that many pages left.
There are some sexy times, and while they are detailed, they are not wildly explicit. It’s more of a “New Adult” than YA novel; I wouldn’t let a young teen read it, for instance.
At $2.99, it’s worth the purchase. You’ll enjoy Ethan, and you’ll enjoy watching him court Stephanie.