Oh, Lauren Layne, how I love your writing style. I said it with Only With You, and again with Just One Night. In an attempt to not beat a dead horse, I'll try to stop with my gushing fan-girl-dom and just say it this last, third time.
I love your writing style.
I love the quirkiness, the smartassedness... I just love it.
Isn't She Lovely is written in the first person (which we all know is not my favorite, but I hardly even noticed while reading Isn't She Lovely), through the eyes of both Stephanie and Ethan. The book opens in a Stephanie monologue, in which she's discussing with the reader how in romantic comedies, the subjects always meet in a "meet-cute" style.
"The meet-cute is that moment when the romantic couple meets for the first time, and it's supposed to be
amusing or ironic or charming, or some shit like that.
You know, like that scene where the sarcastic, ball-busting character mistakes her handsome new lawyer
for the janitor? Or when the impossibly cute secretary rear-ends the BMW of the guy who turns out to be
her new boss?
Then, of course, love abounds...." (Chapter One)
As you can hopefully see, it's very easy to forget this is in first person. The narrative is like that of a movie (which is slightly ironic, as Stephanie's character is speaking of movies) -- I can hear the voice over as the scene is playing out on the big screen, a popcorn and pretzel bites in hand.
Well, the meet-cute in this book is right away, when gothed-out Stephanie runs into pretty-boy Ethan, except there's no way this meet-cute is going to end up like the movies... right? There's no way, Stephanie thinks, that a guy with money and status could ever fall for a girl like her. Besides (not that she's thinking about a relationship of ANY sort with him, friendship or otherwise), these two are two busy sparing with one another to truly take any notice of the other. Slinging insults... Ah, just the way any future loves want to meet.
Moving forward, the two of them begin working on a screenplay for a class, and while doing this, Ethan decides he needs a live-in/faux-girlfriend, as he has a family party in the Hamptons to go to, in which his cheating ex will be present.
Now, as romance readers, we all know the hero and heroine of the book cannot possibly move in with one another, even under the falsest of pretenses, and not develop feelings for each other, but hey, that's what books are about and the fun part is watching the characters grow and make those realizations themselves.
So yes, true to the genre, they fall for one another. Granted, Ethan essentially changes Stephanie so she'll fit in with the Hampton's crowd, to which Stephanie feels slightly self-concious about -- because again, he can't possibly like the real her, not when he's obviously falling for the well-dressed version of her.
During the Hamptons, though, Ethan accuses Stephanie of being a statue (in relation to their screen play) -- she cannot move past her father's new marriage, her mother's death, and her ex-boyfriend, hiding behind black clothes and gray eyeshadow.
But, as Ethan's ex, Olivia so kindly points out, he's not all that much better -- in all truth of the word, he and she are snobs. They live a fancy lifestyle and have money coming out of the woodwork. His lazy day outfit costs no-less than $500.
In the end, the true question between the two of them is who truly is the statue? Is it Stephanie, who hides behind her gothic clothes, or is it Ethan, who hides behind his Hampton upbringing?
As much as I loved this prequel to the remaining Redemption books, I'm not 100% sure I'll read book one, simply because I don't know how much I like Olivia... Granted, I don't 'know' her so much as I 'know' Ethan's opinion of her (and the dockside conversation between the two)... But then again, curious minds DO want to know and so yeah, I will read the next book...
...and the next...
...because, c'mon, it's Lauren Layne and I love her writing style.
While writing this 'review', I came to the conclussion that when it comes to Lauren Layne books (heck, Claudia Connor's Worth the Fall as well) I get so wrapped up in how the book made me feel, how the writing pulled me in, that it's very easy to forget the 'summary' part of my 'a summary and opinion' -- but I guess I just feel that these books are ones you need to read for yourselves; hopefully my opinion pulls you along...!
Side Side Note:
I love plays on words, as well as trying to figure out how a title fits the book it adorns.
I can totally hear Ethan calling Stephanie 'lovely' in a snarky, condescending tone in the beginning of the book, yet affectionately at the end.
Side (x3) Note:
I just read Olivia's blurb.
I take back my earlier comment. I so want to read Broken!