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Redemption #0.5

Isn't She Lovely

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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?

288 pages, eBook Kindle

First published October 28, 2013

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About the author

Lauren Layne

54 books9,917 followers
Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Hot Asset, Hard Sell, and Huge Deal in her 21 Wall Street series, as well as her Central Park Pact series. Her books have sold more than a million copies in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,018 reviews
Profile Image for • Lisa •.
555 reviews1,531 followers
May 20, 2018


I am in complete book love, 'isn't she lovely' had me hooked from page one, addicted right though the middle and wishing I could re read all over again for the first time by the end. This book popped up in my daily review email, I took one look at my friends description and instantly knew that this story would tick my five star boxes and I wasn't far wrong, in fact I fell into complete NA book heaven with this story and here are my thoughts ...


What's it all about?
Stephanie Kendrick is an ex high school popular princess, now turned college student angry goth, she's the typical damaged girl that has had her fair share of hurt to contend with so now she hides behind the snark, eye makeup and sarcasm to cover up for the girl she once was. Ethan price is the college resident rich boy, typically misunderstood by those around him nothing surprises him more than when he is forced to pair up with the college mini goth in a joint film project. But life doesn't always play out by the rules so when Stephanie agrees to clean up to pretend to be Ethan's girlfriend the pair get more than they bargained for when true feelings start to creep in.


What did I love?
This story perfectly combines a classic from friends to i-cant-live-without-you trope with the best kind of opposites attract story. It is also laugh out loud adorable and to top it off it has references to pretty woman throughout, who could resist that? The dual POV is irresistible and unlike other books I've read the female and male views were both true to likeness. The characters completely won me over I don't think I've found a NA couple so likeable in equal measure for a long time. Stephanie and Ethan share the best ever NA fictional kisses, the sexual tension and drawn out relationship had me more hot and bothered than most erotic novels I've read. Ethan was yummy he was sweet, lovely and completely dreamy, Stephanie was an absolute stunner I was convinced by her quick wit and unlike a lot of heroines in this genre she was no where near annoying. Both characters had personal battles to face and I loved how they dealt with their own demons as the story progressed, bloody brilliant I could not have asked more from this story from start to finish I was eagerly turning the pages wanting more. The story is well thought through, there are no oversexed scenes and unnecessary hyped up drama. This book left me so giddy and excited to see what's others will think of this outrageously adorable book. I can say with confidence that this book is my favourite NA/YA book of 2013.


Final thoughts ...
Those who don't like NA steer clear, it probably borders more on the YA side for maturity, but those that do love this genre do not delay, this book delivers on all romance counts with extra's to go with it. I found the story completely adorable and I won't be forgetting this story for some time to come, I'm sure it will be a story that I will re read over and over. Don't be fooled by this books ordinary cover, that and the blurb does not give this story justice, there are a few editing issues which I'm hoping get ironed out before publication but this didn't deter my five star love one bit, You won't regret it romance lovers. go grab it, enjoy ... Kisses.

*ARC generously provided by Random house publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Ellis.
443 reviews231 followers
August 4, 2016
My full review is up on The Random Transliterator, but people seem to be enjoying this summary, so it stays :D

This is NA.

There is no slut-shaming.

There is no violence and no rapey sex.

There is no claiming.

There is no branding.

There is a plot and it's executed.

There is safe sex.

There is character growth.

There are real-life problems they need to face.

There are messages that go beyond I want to have sex with you and I want it right now.

I read until 5.30 AM and I regret nothing. There were some grammatical mistakes but those can still be edited out.

I am happy.

I want to read it again.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,049 followers
August 12, 2016

3.5 stars but rounding it up because of the leather pants.^^

CLICHÉ CONTENT: Bountiful especially in the plot. It’s your extremely rich, preppy, perfect Ethan vs. extremely dark, sarcastic Goth girl, Stephanie. Two exactly opposite worlds collide but in a really hilarious and unexpectedly sweet way. The author’s take on the clichéd theme is obviously intentional; she was even poking fun at her own story. (comparing it to movies like She’s All That and Pretty Woman.)

BOOK COVER APPEAL: Meh! If my friends didn’t speak so highly of this, I honestly wouldn’t have read it for the cover alone.

PLOT PREDICTABILITY: Extremely high and frustrating at times but there are surprises along the way and more substance and meaning than what you’d expect of a novel of this genre.

DRAMA/ANGST CONTENT: Moderate and only somewhere at the middle of the story. Characters did have sad pasts BUT none too emotionally torturous and were dealt with satisfactorily.

SEXUAL CONTENT: Moderate and tolerable, even sweet and sexy!^^

MALE LEAD’S JERK LEVEL: Oh, definitely high! He was seriously a perv during the first several chapters.

“It takes me a second to comprehend what she’s saying because her tank top’s slipped down a little bit, and I’m not a pervy lecher but damn…”

My response:“YOU ARE, ETHAN! YOU REALLY ARE!” BUT thankfully, he changes and definitely for the better. It helps that he’s a really funny guy too.

FEMALE LEAD’S LIKABILITY : Definitely high! I love her angst and sarcasm. Obviously, I have a special fondness for Goths and Nerds. She’s definitely the bigger reason I liked the novel.^^ I enjoyed her POV a lot!
“My social circle’s more like a circle dot.”
“My knack for small talk has evaporated a long time ago.”

COMIC CONTENT: Abundant! The entire thing is really funny. Both POVs (Ethan’s and Stephanie’s) are hilarious and their banters, more like stereotype attacks against each other are so much fun to read.

CONCLUSION SATISFACTION :Definitely high! I was seriously laughing out loud at the cheesiest ending.

“The only way it could get more cheesy is if they started clapping.”

At least the author fully admits to it. Lol!

”So which ending do we choose? Indie angst or romantic comedy?”


For actual, really fabulous reviews, here are Chelsea’s and Melissa’s
Profile Image for Christy.
3,911 reviews33k followers
September 27, 2013
4.5 Fun and Fabulous Stars!!!

Isn't She Lovely photo 591aa9f3-3832-4bc6-a6a0-a50d057c04f5_zps6ad0636d.jpg
"Life is nothing but phases. Some things stick, lots of things don’t. You’ll figure it out."

Looking for a fun, fresh and feel good read? This book will do the trick. A spin on the old Pygmalion storyline that will keep you laughing, swooning and smiling!

Stephanie Kendrick goes to NYU. She is a third year film student who is spending the summer in NY to stay away from her family and take an extra film class. Steph used to be the popular high school girl, but she’s changed. You can now find her walking the streets of NY in cargo pants, combat books, and tanks along with dark eye shadow, black nail polish and multiple piercings of course. Stephanie has her summer all planned out. She’s going to sublet her cousins apartment while shes out of town for the summer since the dorms are closed. That plan doesn’t quite work out when her cousin has something come up and has to stay in town. Forced with the choice of either going home for the summer (not an option) or crashing on her cheating ex’s couch, she chooses the ex.

 photo 6114f9c6-16ec-4e56-a20a-ca9b2629ab4a_zpsd09a2e94.jpg

Then there is Ethan Price. Ethan is the rich, preppy, and good looking frat boy. He is also choosing to take the film class, even though thats no where close to his major. He needs some down time from interning at the family business. Ethan hasn’t had the best time lately. After catching his now ex girlfriend cheating, it’s been rough. Now his mother is trying to play match maker and reunite them. With all the summer family events coming up, and his ex’s family being close friends with his, It’s not good for Ethan.

Isn't She Lovely photo 976d5fec-2168-4b7b-8fda-f7f37d33671a_zps86aeb309.jpg

Stephanie and Ethan’s meeting is classic, but hilarious. She bumps into him on the way to film class. They exchange some choice words, then realize they are in class together. Not only that, they are partnered together to write a screenplay. The banter between these two is just hilarious.
“Stephanie, huh?” I ask, when she doesn’t respond. “You go by Steph?” “No. Not Steph.” she says as we cross the street to the familiar green and white Starbucks logo. “My ex-boyfriend called me that so I’m kind of over it.” God, someone actually dated this cranky little midget? Then my eyes skimmed the perky cleavage beneath the tiny tank top. Right. There was that.

Both Ethan and Stephanie have a problem. And Ethan comes up with a solution that may fix them both. Stephanie needs a new place to live. Ethan had plenty of extra space. They need a topic for their screen play... why not use a real life Pygmalion experiment? Stephanie can get made over and play Ethan’s girlfriend at these family events. She acts the part, gets a free place to stay this summer, and they get an awesome screen play out of it in the end... What could possibly go wrong this this scenario?

Feelings... ah yes, those pesky feelings. When feelings start to develop between these two, they have to ask themselves if they’re just following the screen play, or are the feelings real?

Isn't She Lovely photo c816e25a-a144-4759-8c5e-b2d20ccd09b6_zps67d42fcf.jpg

The characters in this story were so refreshing. Stephanie was a bit edgy, witty, sarcastic, snarky, and at times, down right bitchy, but she was a fun character, a likable character. Then there is Ethan... Ethan was swoony, sweet, super funny and a complete smart ass. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed his character. The back and forth between these two kept a smile on my face the entire time I was reading.

Isn’t She Lovely was a truly lovely story that I really enjoyed and would highly recommend for anyone looking for a light and fun na read! I devoured it in one sitting. It was sweet, charming, funny and just an all around cute read. I would have loved if it would have been a little longer and had an epilogue, hence the 4.5 rating, but still a worthy read! FYI it is also a STAND ALONE with NO cliffhanger ;)

***ARC kindly provided by Random house publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Mysza.
476 reviews396 followers
March 19, 2015

Lauren Layne... where has she been my whole book life, huh? Because damn, we clicked. The woman can write good stuff and I dig her style. The writing is flawless, natural, easy, very pleasant to read, simply meant for me. I have a new auto buy author, that's for sure.

But to the point, it was kind of a modern version of Pretty Woman. Ethan and Stephanie bump into each other on the way to film class, after this very awkward and hilarious meeting, they go their separate ways. When they get to class, surprise, surprise.... they share it, what is more, they are paired up to write a screenplay together.

She is this sarcastic, not very social, introverted gothic chick, while he is this rich, handsome, preppy frat boy.

What will happen when two completely different persons are forced to spend time together? What will happen when you add to the mix Ethan's idea of finding fake girlfriend, so his mother would stop matching him with ex-girlfriend? What will happen when you add him manipulating Steph into make over and becoming that fake, preppy girlfriend? Well, you'll get a lot of fun and witty banter, you'll have a lot of sweet moments and some nice sexy time, but some heartbreak too.
"Ah hell, even a bitter, man-hating rebel can be a sucker for a guy who understands the sexiness in a head-holding kiss."

Yes, that's Ethan girls, swoon worthy, fine specimen of humanity, *sigh*. Don't even get me started on Stephanie. She was so much fun... but together, they were incredible. Such a wonderful couple, I loved their banter and interactions.

But what happens when the lines are blurred and what was supposed to be pretending transforms into something real and feelings are developed? Guess you're gonna have to find out for yourself while reading the book, definitely worth a try.
"The minty toothpaste does nothing to remove the bitter taste in my mouth from the very real fear that whatever Ethan feels for me has nothing to do with Stephanie Kendrick he met and everything to do with the Stephanie Kendrick he created."
Overall, it was very sweet, hilarious, heart warming and generally cute book, with very likeable heroine and swoony, smart ass hero. Enjoy whenever you decide to give this gem a chance!

Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,974 followers
October 10, 2013
4 Lovely Stars.


Ethan and Stephanie live in different words. She is a hurt girl that hides her feelings and protect herself behind black cloths, black-make up and piercings.
He is a rich boy from Hamptons, frat boy, that doesn’t know any reality besides his own one.
Somehow they got stuck in a college work, writing a screenplay together. Neither of them was happy about it.
But as the time passes so their complicity and one day Ethan makes Stephanie (who is in a bad situation, having to live with her ex-boyfriend because is her only option) a great proposition:
He lets her live in his house if she goes with him to the Hamptons, and pretend to be his girlfriend for a few days, so their mother doesn’t try to hook him up with his ex-girlfriend, who cheated on him.
So she agrees on pretending that she’s a sweet girl, who belongs in his preppy world.


But the more they act, the more they pretend that their relationship is real… the more real it becomes.
To the point where neither of them really knows where their relationship really ends or begins.
But that’s the thing about pretending you’re someone else: When you start to fall for the other one… how do you know if he loves the real you, or the one you’re pretending to be?


And they soon have to learn an important lesson. When you love someone, you have to love them for who they are. Imperfections included.


Well, if you’re expecting an original book with an almost-unheard story line… this is not the book for you.
This is the ultimate cliche: Rich popular boy meets alternative unpopular girl, they found they have more in common that ever thought, they fall in love, a lot of drama happens between.
But if you are looking for a light, fluffy book, very sweet and romantic (Looking almost like “She’s All That”), this is the book for you.

* ARC provided by Random House Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ash Wednesday.
441 reviews525 followers
October 2, 2013

Ever wonder what if Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne got together and wrote a book?

Yeah me neither.

Then I read this and now I know.

Anyone familiar with my blatherings would know that I don't mind cliches. I am perfectly comfortable in admitting that recycled storylines, with the proper execution, fall in my comfort reads category. This book promises a re-telling of Pygmalion and threw around a lot of references to similar film adaptations in a very meta manner. I find it pretty hard to make me hate anything related to this trope. I can practically recite Pretty Woman from memory, the hacky sack performance in She's All That still cracks me up and seeing as I have been in an awful slump these past few days, I thought this was going to be an easy, breezy, fun ride.

We've seen it all before: rich, preppy hot guy Ethan Price is stuck with goth, pierced and "edgy" Stephanie Kendrick on a screenplay project in NYU film school. They hate each other at first sight. Only they don't. Not really. (insert mild eye roll here)

Ethan comes up with the bright idea of polishing up Stephanie and make her his pretend girlfriend in front of his very straight-laced, pedigreed and moneyed family over the summer. Mostly to put a stop to his mother trying to set him back up with his cheating ex but also because they're using it as source material for their Pygmalion-inspired screenplay.

Because they're method screenplay-writing students. They can't just fabricate a screenplay out of, oh I don't know, their imagination. Imagination is for pussies. They have to experience it to write it.
"Think about how much better our screenplay will be if we can base it on real life experience."

Which makes me wonder if anyone thought of adapting Requiem for a Dream.

Being rendered homeless over the summer and forced to live with her own cheating ex-boyfriend, Stephanie "reluctantly" gives in to the deal when Ethan threw in the offer to live in his apartment rent-free in exchange for her participation in this charade.

Because this book chose a well-trodden path in contemporary romance, the burden lies really on the likability of the protagonists. Unfortunately, neither Ethan nor Stephanie did any of that silliness. True, owning up to their stereotypes was an easy bribe but beyond that, I found both of them extremely annoying. Stephanie mistakes being uncouth, wearing black and being all around rude with edginess and righteous angst while Ethan assumes the role of the snobby, misogynistic douchebag without the charm. The entire book was spent on them playing the cat and mouse game where one thinks he/she is falling in love while the other is just still playing their designated role in the charade. Which would have been totally fine for me if their alternating POVs didn't already lay both their cards out in the table from the get-go.

Unnecessary tension is unnecessary.

For a story set in film school, I surely didn't feel Stephanie as the impassioned film student. A lot of the details were glossed over, those that were discussed about filmmaking were already common knowledge. I didn't expect it to be an all-out Martin Scorsese lecture on the history of filmmaking but I do expect it to have a grain of authenticity.The story failed to capitalize on that aspect to make it unique, instead focusing on either character's personal drama which pushed all the wrong buttons for me.

I do appreciate that Ethan wasn't made a manwhore, but not that he's an asshole towards Stephanie.

I do appreciate Stephanie's growth throughout the book, but not how it was executed.

How the story was handled felt very dated and had some questionable ethics that I am explicitly against. I am not a militant feminist reader. I am, however a woman who knows offensive when she sees them.

End-rant because there's serious apoplexy going on this side of the monitor.

I was going to give this a 2, but I'd be misrepresenting my insurmountable urge to punch something.

Also posted on BookLikes.

ARC provided by Random House-Flirt thru Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes may not appear in the final edition.
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,052 reviews12.2k followers
November 29, 2013
5 I found myself a new auto-buy author stars

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

That ridiculously happy person in the gif with the permanently goofy smile stuck on her face...that would be me the entire time I was reading this book. You're probably sitting there thinking, it couldn't have been that good, right? Well ye of little faith, it was.

Ok, well maybe not quite make me almost pee good. But it was adorable, funny, entertaining, and heart warming.
(See what I did with the gifs there? No?)

A fresh new take on Pygmalion, I adored this book. I was hooked from the first few lines...
In real life? The meet-cute isn't the least bit cute. It's more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now."

In this book you meet Stephanie; a withdrawn, snarky, goth clothes and dark makeup wearing twenty one year old college film student. Stephanie's main goal right now is to ace her screenwriting class, and she doesn't need any distractions. But then she literary bumps paths with the ridiculously good looking and preppy rich boy, Ethan. The sparks started flying right away. Nothing I love more than 2 characters that have hate at first sight with an underlying current of sexual tension.
"It's just that I think you forgot to change out of your country club uniform."
"Does the surly mood come with the goth outfit? Or do you have to buy it separately?"
"Could you please watch where you're pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps is hurting my eyes."

I was in snarky sarcasm heaven with these two.

Stuck working together for a class, can these two really tolerate each other long enough to survive their assignment?

When an opportunity presents itself that can help both Ethan and Stephanie, an ideal screenplay idea forms. Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. Stephanie needs a place to stay. So why not pretend to be together for the sake of a mutually beneficial set up? And the icing on the cake? The fake relationship is the perfect idea for their screenplay.

But what happens when pretend slowly begins to develop into real feelings?

I loved the depth the author managed to give these characters considering the somewhat fluffy story they were in. Stephanie and Ethan both captured my heart and I couldn't help myself but completely fall for both them.

This book was like all my favorite movies got together. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me swoon. It was, and forgive the cheesiness factor here, lovely.

If you enjoy the NA genre, you really cannot go wrong with this book. It will put a smile on your face and keep it there the entire time you're reading it. You will fall in love with both of these characters and the story. I know I did.

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

For more reviews visit
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,472 reviews975 followers
December 18, 2014
On sale for $0.75 ->http://amzn.to/1zxKX1A

***5 Blurred Lines Stars***

'Isn't She Lovely' is a feel good modern day mix of My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman.

Two unlikely college students are thrown together for a college film project where they must write a screenplay.

Stephanie: dresses like she's goth to keep the world away and to hide her pain.
Ethan: dresses like he just walked off the GQ catalog. Ethan is wealthy and pretentious.

As they begin recreating a modern day Pygmalion the lines begin to blur between their "acting" and their "real" selves.
Which ending will these two choose for their class project? An indie-angst or romantic-comedy?



***ARC courtesy of Random house publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

160th book for 2013
Profile Image for ~♡AB♡~.
974 reviews667 followers
December 15, 2015
★★★★★ 5 Stars ★★★★★

I loved this book! Honestly it had me addicted from the first page, I just love this authors style of writing, she writes NA like a boss!

Stephanie Kendrick is a soon to be senior at NYU and now summer's here she decides that rather than go home and face her demons, she will take a summer class in Classic Film Narratives. She is slightly erring on the side of Goth, with her dark hair, dark clothes and dark moods and a typical example of an ex popular princess turned tortured soul.

Ethan Price is a Preppy Frat Boy, who comes from the upper elite of Manhattan. After a recent break up from his childhood sweatheart, he decides he wants a summer off interning at his fathers company and elects to join the film buffs instead.

When the two are paired together for a project, they decide to recreate the classic story of Pygmalion, and Ethan decides that this bizarre pairing could work to his advantage. He will offer her a much needed place to stay for the summer, and in return Stephanie become his fake girlfriend. However, like in the film, in order to do that, he needs to give her a makeover in order to please his families social circle.

"One month.
You lose the boots, and the attitude, and do your best to convince my parents that we're crazy in love or something."

As summer progresses, they both become confused as to what is real and what is pretend. Not only that, but how compatible can they be if they are from completely different worlds?
_ _ _ _

The banter and chemistry between these two ticked all my boxes and I had a huge smile on my face throughout the whole entire book. I highlighted so many funny moments.

I really fell in love with both of the characters, especially Ethan <3

Although the steam level was fairly low, it didn't bother me in the slightest because it was such a feel good, butterflies type of book. I have already read the third book in this series Crushed, which I loved, so now I will be diving straight onto the second, Broken.

This is a standalone, told in dual POV

Profile Image for Melissa.
361 reviews624 followers
July 16, 2015
"Who knew that pretending you’re not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending you are?"


You see, what didn't work for me in The Deal completely won me over in Isn't She Lovely. Every trite stereotype, every cheesy ass conversation and every.single.cliched.movie.reenactment.

I guess everything just depends on the packaging and Lauren Layne definitely knew how to deliver.

This was completely fluffy, fun fast read with slightly dark parts(more like light gray) which never deterred it from an awesome NA romance.

Did I just awesome NA romance?

And I'm out!

Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews583 followers
August 22, 2014
And here’s what you don’t learn in Film 101…in real life? The meet-cute isn’t the least bit cute. It’s more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now.

If Stephanie and Ethan literally running into each other, Ethan helping Stephanie pick up the contents of her backpack, including the loose tampons, while trading barbs on the others Goth and preppie lifestyles respectively isn’t a “meet-cute”, I’m not sure what is. Steph’s an introverted film major who takes herself way too seriously. Ethan’s an old money business major who seemingly takes nothing seriously. When these two crazy kids find themselves partners during an NYU summer screenwriting course, can they ever find a way to overcome their differences and make it work? Something tells me YES! Yes they can!

”It’s just that I think you forgot to change out of your country club uniform.”
He takes a tiny step closer to me, and I try to ignore the fact that he’s about a foot taller than me and has a perfect view down my shirt.
“Does that surly mood come with the Goth outfit?” he asks, giving me a once over. “Or do you have to buy it separately?”
I hold up a hand to shield my eyes. “Could you please watch where you’re pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps is hurting my eyes.”

Even when Steph and Ethan had seemingly nothing in common, the sarcastic banter between the two made the story for me. Both of these characters are hiding big time betrayals and both have been cut deep. At some point both realize the other’s not so bad and that’s when the story gets good. Deciding on the tried and true “boy makes over girl so she can pretend to be an acceptable girlfriend” scenario for their screenwriting project, it’s only a matter of time before Steph’s been Bloomingdale’d to within an inch of her life and pretending to be Ethan’s new girlfriend. What better way to prove Ethan’s over his cheating ex, get his matchmaking mom off his back AND get some much needed material for their screenplay? What happens when the preppie boy falls for the Goth girl? Can they find a way to fit into each other’s lives? Sometimes clarity comes from the place you’d least expect it.

”Are we? Snobbish?”
“Ethan, we’re sitting on a luxury sailboat outside a mansion in the freaking Hamptons, and I don’t think either one of our current ‘casual outfits' costs under five-hundred dollars. […] Ethan, what I saw between you two …that was worth reaching through the social bubble for.”

Luckily the things that are really important become obvious and then it’s just a matter of putting your feelings out there and taking a chance on the life you want rather than the life other people think you should be living.

Instead of keeping someone close that was perhaps bad for me, I was pushing someone away that was absolutely good for me. All because she didn’t fit.

Don’t let my afterschool special inspired review fool you. This is an entertaining, fun and sometimes sad story and I really enjoyed it. The dual POV helped me understand exactly what each character was going through and it worked for me in a very entertaining way.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for and honest review
Profile Image for Rachel Maniacup.
153 reviews79 followers
January 6, 2016
Yes AJ,my dearest sis! It's a brilliant 5 stars to this!haha! This book is indeed lovely! Once you've started it, you wouldn't want to put it down,I swear! 'Cause yeah, I'm easily moved by this kind of story. In short,I'm a great fan of romantic comedy!yay!^^

This is a story of two completely opposite characters, STEPHANIE and ETHAN who are both in a college summer film class,and were assigned as partners by their professor to write a script for a screenplay based on the myth of Pygmalion. The two of them traded taunts and insults from the moment they collided and met on the first day of summer school.And so, being partners is a very bad idea to them,at least..

Stephanie Kendrick is gothy,angsty, and a sarcastic girl..because she had reasons for being the way she was. Still, I love this girl because she's tough,witty,funny and beautiful. ETHAN PRICE on the other hand is a rich spoiled,preppy frat boy(as Stephanie thinks) because he seems to have it all except that,he is in dire need of a fake girlfriend for his family's upcoming events..because like Stephanie, Ethan is also dealing with some issues. And though he was stubborn and arrogant at times, I find him adorable especially at the ending.

Oh,the ending! OMG! The ending made me burst out laughing! Until now I can't help smiling every time I remember how hilarious and beautiful the ending scenes were. You'll totally fall in love with this book and with the main characters. I even loved the banter between Stephanie and Ethan 'cause it's incredible!"Don't miss this one!"

Thanks a lot to ate JILLY's wonderful and hilarious gifs that inspired me to read this! You may also check AJ's awesome review that made me read this right away!^^
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,905 reviews851 followers
October 2, 2013
Isn’t She Lovely was a classic romance of opposites attract; a story that was just pure unadulterated enjoyment! Filled with snarky banter providing entertaining push and pull, I was smiling, laughing and swooning throughout! *sigh* I just love it when a story leaves me happy and satisfied!

Outside appearances, prejudices and pride play a huge roll in Stephanie and Ethan’s first meeting. Barreling into each other’s life, quite literally, they do not get off to a good start. Stephanie is the stereotypical goth girl, and Ethan is the standard silver spoon jock. Yet, from that first collision there is an undeniable mutual attraction in spite of their extremely opposite positions in life.

I find this easy to understand. Have you ever spied someone in a crowd, *hardware store* and thought, “Wow, if I were a biker girl, that dangerous looking, tattooed up guy would be my slice of heaven!”? Dreams of riding off in the sunset, on the back of his Harley dance through your mind until you snap back into reality, or your husband snaps his fingers in front of your face and asks you if your finished picking out paint samples. Not saying that has ever happened to me or anything. *cough, ahem, cough*

Well, this is exactly what happens to Ethan and Stephanie, mutual appreciation, but with mutual hate and judgment in a brief encounter. Instead of them just going their merry way though, they find themselves paired together in a film project. Let the barbs and sparks fly!

I loved this story from beginning to end. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of the typical New Adult story: tragic pasts and meeting “the one” that rescues them from it all. So much drama and angst, I’m a little over it. Yes, there were issues these two were dealing with, but there was a fun undertone throughout that kept the story lighter and so enjoyable. I loved the fact that this wasn’t the typical “bad boy” meets “goodie nerdy/geeky/ girl” and fall in love. The male and female roles were a bit reversed, but I still wouldn’t pigeonhole either one of them into those stereotypical categories, which is what Stephanie and Ethan start realizing about each other, as well.

This romance was filled with lusty moments of intense attraction, accidently-on-purpose kisses, and ogling galore! Yum! There were also so many sweet moments between these two, that I couldn’t help but oooh and aww in some scenes.

There wasn’t a spot where I was frustrated, spacing out, or looking at the percentage readout, and wondering when this would end. This is my first Lauren Layne book, but it certainly won’t be my last.

I must give a shout out to my friend Lisa Jayne. If not for her, this little gem wouldn’t have registered on my radar. Thanks, lovely!

Favorite quotes:

“Some guys have a thing for cheerleaders,” he says, his voice easy. I roll my eyes as I start tossing socks into the bag. “Let me guess. You want to know if I still have my old uniform.” He sets the picture back on the nightstand and moves toward the door. “Nah. Not my thing. But I think I could develop a thing for girls in combat boots.” I spin around in surprise, wanting to see his face, wanting to know if he means what I think he means. But he’s already gone.*

Her skin’s so warm, and I don’t know if it’s from the sun, or because of me, and I hope to god it’s the latter because I don’t give a shit who’s watching, I’m dying for this girl.*

“So you think I’m just going through a phase?”
Oh, honey,” Amy says, as she gestures to the server for another round. “Life is nothing but phases. Some things stick, lots of things don’t. You’ll figure it out.”*

A copy was provided by Random House-Flirt via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

You can find this review and more at The Readers Den.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy.
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,458 followers
December 1, 2013
Aww.....wasn't that the sweetest-cutest little story!

It literally made me all smiley and happy!

See here I am...

There was great banter amongst the characters...

My favorite.

Ethan and Stephanie:

S--"You look like you walked off a Harvard admissions brochure."
E--"Stereotype much?"
S--"It's just that I think you forgot to change out of your country club uniform."
E--"Does that surly mood come with the goth outfit? Or do you have to buy it separately?"
S--"Could you please watch where you're pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps is hurting my eyes."
E--"You know, sometime if I don't have enough light to study by, I just smile and use the reflection from these pearly whites."

If that's not a match made in heaven I don't know what is....

So obvs Stephanie is the pierced, goth-like former homecoming queen/cheerleader with a bad attitude. And Ethan is your preppy, rich spoiled brat.

They end up in a film class together as partners and set out to write their own Pygmalion story. Stephanie pretending to be the pastel pink sweater wearing, country club attending debutante that Ethan's parents imagine him to be with.

This was cute. And funny. And sweet. And I enjoyed reading their story. Both Ethan and Stephanie have reasons for why they are the way they are. Things that happened in their pasts that have made them who they are today.

I'd definitely recommend this one if you're looking for something sweet and fun with a bit of sexy thrown in.
Profile Image for Patrycja.
639 reviews3,796 followers
September 29, 2013

4.5 stars

Isn’t She Lovely is incredibly witty, full of great sense of humor, heart melting love story that can easily sweep every fan of romantic comedy of their feet! I quickly fell in love with Lauren Layne’s spectacular way of telling the story and the quirky plot that is a wonderful mix of Pretty Woman with Pygmalion . It made me swoon, smile and laugh out loud.

Stephanie is junior at NYU where she studies film. Coming back to home for summer was not an option for her and to prevent it, Stephanie signed up for summer class.

Stephanie is incredibly artsy, snarky lover of black eye liner and goth accesories. After what happened in her hometown, three years ago, she hides herself behind black clothes, combat boots and dark attitude. Being snarky, witty and totally untouchable goth girl doesn’t send positive vibes to strangers, which is good enough for her. Her defenses are very high and it’s incredibly hard to see the real, fragile girl, Stephanie once was.

And there is Ethan, typical golden boy and the exact opposite of antisocial Stephanie. He’s rich, handsome as well as smart and cannot do anything wrong. But when life kicked him on his ass, when his long time girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend, Ethan needs a change of scenery.

This unique couple met for the first time in summer class and when Stephanie agreed to be Ethan’s fake girlfriend, Isn’t She Lovely kicked with hilarious scenes, explosive chemistry and extremely interesting plot that kept me on my toes, made me laugh and swoon multiply times. And when real feelings started to snake between Stephanie and Ethan everything got even more complicated than it looked like.

I adored how refreshing and funny Layne’s characters were. They quickly won me over with realistic behavior, swoon worthy moments and the phenomenal sexual chemistry they shared. And don’t get me started on how much I loved this two together! They could win a contest on the best couple in New Adult genre. I immensely enjoyed reading about Stephanie and Ethan, because of the amazing love story that hooked me. Isn't She Lovely is fantastic novel that will leave your heart swollen and extremaly satisfied. This book will leave you with a wicked, fuzzy emotions all over your body.'

Isn't She Lovely is pure fun and ideal read for those who enjoy reading funny and sweet new adult novels with HEA.

*ARC provided by Random house publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Henz.
233 reviews86 followers
July 21, 2016
This book is such a cliché! It was a combination of cheese, fluff and angst. Yes a cliché straight from what we see in every Romantic comedies and Korean Dramas.

I watch a lot of Korean Dramas and their RomComs are all like this; handsome rich snobs recreate and doll up the weird and unattractive girls and then they fall in love!!! Wow!!! Bahahaha It was so cliché that I was ready to just read and get it over with but just when I was forty percent done with the book that I was liking where the story was headed and honestly I still like clichés as long as they keep my interest. Given the predictable plot I still swooned, laughed and simply enjoyed it because the writing engaged me enough.

I like Stephanie, pretty and popular girl in high school hiding in her Goth appearance because of a traumatic past. She loves sarcasm, I’ve always like protagonists who are witty with dry humor. The girl’s a smart-ass, gotta love her.

Ethan is the pretty boy born with the silver spoon in his mouth who had a messed up girlfriend and family dilemma and surprisingly the book didn’t elaborate more on the family drama which I am thankful for because truthfully those kind of stuff are exhausting to read and I’m so glad the author focused more on the main character’s romance to keep it light.

I swooned at their romance, the sexual tension between these two characters will get you hot under the collars but not too much to burn you out. The sex is just right on the details, it was hot and satisfactory, not overly descriptive for you to cringe. I don’t cringe at smuts but I’m pretty sure some of you will… LOL

So yes I recommend this book if you don’t mind some cliché.

Thanks to Aj’s and Rachel’s convincing review for me to read this one ..
Profile Image for • Jodi Bibliophile •.
311 reviews1,101 followers
January 15, 2016
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I've had to say goodbye more times than I have liked, but I guess everyone can say that.

But when you say goodbye to characters THAT goodbye is always hard to say.

These characters that have become your friends, your support, your happiness and your life.

I mean how can you say goodbye to that?

I never want to.

I've been angry, sad, my moods have been all over the place due to my job. I couldn't bring myself to read anything that would either put me in a bad mood or worse trigger the fucking thing off. I needed something easy to read that would make me smile again and be happy even if it's just for a little bit.

Then THIS BOOK happened.

I've NEVER smiled the whole time reading a book. It was contagious. I didn't even realise I was smiling and laughing so much until my jaw started to ache and then I thought to myself I haven't laughed or been this happy reading a book in a very long time.

I found myself smiling after waking up in the morning just knowing I was going to see my characters, Stephanie and Ethan again.

I fell asleep happy remembering what day I had spent with them.

I went to work HAPPY! and stayed HAPPY all throughout. The work load and constant demands wasn't effecting me. I felt like Stephanie and Ethan were with me the whole time. I found myself excited to finish work just to be with them again.

Their story, their bickering, their banter, their lives, their friendship, their love and EVERYTHING in between will stay with me forever.

They made me happy. They were the reason for my happiness.

I had to say goodbye to these two beautiful characters today.

But it's not A GOODBYE it's a GOODBYE for now.

Because I could never say goodbye to these two. They will always be with me. I will carry them in my heart for the rest of my life.

So to Stephanie and Ethan and the amazing journey you have both took me on these past 4 days,

Thank you for giving me back my HAPPY.
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
971 reviews142 followers
July 22, 2016
4.5 Awwww that was Sweet Stars!

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Isn’t She Lovely was such a delightful surprise for me! It may be your typical “opposites attract” romance novel but it really was a refreshing version.

It had me laughing, swooning a bit and the flow of the story gives you that feel good kind of feeling. However, there is a bit of sadness that will tug at your heartstrings.

The main characters in this book are Ethan and Stephanie. And boy these two could not be more different.

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Stephanie has taken on a persona of a Goth girl. She is beautiful in her own right but she is hiding behind this mask of dark hair, dark make-up and dark clothing. In the last few years, life hasn’t been easy for Stephanie. Things have happened that have caused her pain and sadness and that has hardened her a bit.

Ethan’s is a bit preppy. His life has been shaped by his wealthy upbringing. However, that doesn’t shield him from deception, sadness and anger. Ethan’s love life has fallen apart, his family life is strained and while there are certain expectations of him, he has decided to start doing things on his own terms.

Stephanie and Ethan are taking a summer film class at NYU. Their first meeting really didn’t go all that smoothly so when they find out that they will be partners for a project neither one is thrilled about it. Realizing they have no choice in the matter, they do the only thing they can do. They come up with a plan that will benefit both of them. :)

The sparing that goes on between Ethan and Stephanie was endless. They would bicker about most everything but sprinkled into that would be a lot of cute, sweet and tender moments. Now if the school project wasn’t enough for them to deal with Ethan decides to thicken the pot with a proposition. Ethan needs a fake girlfriend to parade around his family for upcoming events and since Stephanie now needs to find a place to live for the summer, a charade of sorts is agreed upon.

Ethan and Stephanie’s story was such a slow simmer on the romantic front and I loved that. Each of them have personal baggage that is holding them down but as they slowly start to share their pain, things begin to change between them. What was supposed to be make-believe was becoming more real by the moment. It was something neither one was expecting.

Watching Ethan and Stephanie grow and change gave me butterflies in my belly and a few tears. Realizing and acknowledging their pain is what they needed to do to be truly happy. They needed to realize there are always concessions and compromises in relationships and in life. That is where happiness and love will be found.

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If you are in the mood for a light, fun romantic read I highly recommend this book. You will fall in love with Ethan’s subtle humor and Stephanie’s wit. It may have been a tiny bit predictable but it was a great read. Was there a happy ending?
Profile Image for [~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥ .
501 reviews454 followers
October 27, 2013
5 stars

Two opposite people. The heroine Stephanie dresses like a Goth and looks like a troubled girl. The hero Ethan comes from a rich family and looks like a homecoming king. As well as working on their summer project together, they are faking a relationship. These two had great chemistry and the back and forth banter is one of my favourite things when reading romance.

Can you please watch where you're pointing your teeth? The glare from your caps are hurting my eyes

Add in a no insta love and loads of sexual tension, this was just... lovely! There isn't many guys POV I like but I loved Ethan's, he felt like a typical guy.

You're a uterus away from turning into a complete chick

An epilogue would have been nice, even if its only a few weeks into the future. I would pick this up if you like predictable, drama-free and heart fluttering romance Loved it! X

ARC provider by NetGalley
Quotes subject to change
Profile Image for Camilla Isley.
Author 30 books2,045 followers
August 4, 2019
Another fake-relationship/opposites-attract novel from Lauren Layne that I adored. Ethan was a real prim darling... I thought I had a soft spot for bad boys but lately I’m digging good boys so much more.

A wonderful read ... romantic, with real feelings that deals with real-life problems in a way that’s never too heavy but instrumental to the story and character growth.

Loved it.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,254 followers
July 12, 2016
4 College Tested, Real Life Experienced, Well Learned Stars ****

When I read, I can only bring my life experience to each book and figure it out from there. I did not have the live on college experience with all of the frat parties or keg deals. I did not have that continued stuff you experience in high school of clicks, bullies and outsider-ship.... I had very different experiences and those are subjects for another time....

But I did have life experiences of trying to fit in... of trying to be something that wasn't quite me... and I can tell you.... to live like that is not easy... so....

In this story we meet Stephanie, a young adult who has experienced a lot; her mother died of Cancer; she has already had a traumatic love experience and she feels betrayed by her father. Her best defense for all of this was to recreate herself into this sarcastic, cynical, resilient Goth creature. Her armor consisted of Black clothes, combat boots and Kohl rimed piercing blue eyes to match her dark hair. What she couldn't hide with all that self inflected armor was the outrageously smokin' hot body with a set of girls which made men walk into walls....

She is an NYU Film student and is running late for the first class of the summer session... distracted she slams into a wall of Preppy muscle... broad shoulders, arms of steel and decked out in every top label... his hair perfect and white teeth blinding. She sees Ethan as a creature lost from his perfect upper echelon world and wonders why he is even on this part of campus.

Ethan has his own stuff he is running from... yes, he is born to the "Top Drawer" with all things already planned out for him... and in the past he was all too happy to just do what was expected of him... but he too has experienced life changing events concerning his family and past girlfriend... he too is questioning and wanting maybe more.... more than being "the Man" with his Bros... More than being the perfect fit into his daddy's business and more than being the guy who gets which ever girl he wants....

So, during this meeting, they both banter back and forth with cutting remarks and then end up in the same film class. Of Course, they also end up having to do the class project together too.

This tale was delightful from the beginning set up through all of the classic scenes to the ending of self realizations for the both of them. There was real sexual chemistry, concern for one another and no instalove... it was more of a gradual sharing of experiences and letting the other in which felt perfectly believable for these characters for me.

There was also quite a bit of depth in all of the experiences these characters carried causing their barriers... it was a continual example of how actions from others can impact those close to them so dramatically...
Parents need to be more aware.... partners need to be more careful in decisions made or circumstances allowed... people need to think of what their actions will result in and who ultimately will feel the pain.

This was an excellent read... easy enjoyable and I will be looking for this author again... because her voice is worth hearing... and you don't need to be in college to enjoy it.

Arc provided by Netgalley in exchange of an honest review
For more reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
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Profile Image for Elise ✘ a.k.a Ryder's Pet ✘.
1,314 reviews2,858 followers
February 8, 2017
Re-read: 13.10.2016
I want more: Beautiful. Still absolutely beautiful. I love it. The characters? Perfect. The chemistry? Hot. The friendship? Adorable. The story? Wonderful. I love the friendship, how it is turned into something more. How the characters gets to know each other and finding themselves a long the way... I love it. Always will and I know I'll re-read this one yet again in the future. Twice is not enough. I only wish that Lauren Layne would write us more of Ethan Price and Stephanie Kendrick. One book is not enough either. So please write more, eh?
I look like the troubled girl parents warn their kids away from, and Ethan looks like the homecoming king.

Quick basic facts:
Genre: - (New Adult) Contemporary Romance
Series: - Standalone?
Love triangle? -
Cheating? -
HEA? -
Favorite character? - Ethan Price
Would I read more by this author/or of series? - Probably.
Would I recommend this book/series? - Hell yeah!
Will I read this again in the future? - Most likely.
Rating - 4.5.

First read review:
This book.. was BRILLIANT! I loved every single page of it, and I want more!! Why the hell couldn't it be a book 2 coming too? I... How.. How am I supposed to go on without sexy Ethan's charm and humor? Stephanie awesome snarky comments and brain? Damn, I'll miss them! This book was funny, smart, lovable, sad, adorable and just fantastic! You can't help but to relate to the characters, and how they react to the stuff that is thrown at them.. Lauren Layne is an fantastic author, and I cannot wait to read more of her books :)

Rate: 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Didi.
865 reviews287 followers
January 27, 2014
~~~~ 4 STARS OR 7.5/10 ~~~~

This was a very sweet and very refreshing NA! I loved so much about it:
--no over the top drama...how refreshing!
--Dual pov's that don't reiterate the same scene...the best way a dual POV is done!
--emotional yet angsty enough to tear up and empathize with the characters.
--a beautiful ending that had me clutching my chest.

I loved the witty banter between Ethan and Stephanie. They were so cute together even when they were fighting. The sexual tension was done really well and the steam was perfect for their situation. I liked how the ex-girlfriend wasn't a byatch when she could have been, and how Ethan resolved his issues with her while realizing where his heart truly lay.
If you're looking for a light but emotionally mature NA, this is it!
Profile Image for Dee Montoya.
942 reviews587 followers
January 26, 2014
*****5 Lovely~Flirty Stars*****

What a treat Isn't She Lovely was for me; a refreshing story about how opposites attract. A sarcastic Goth beauty falls for the clean cut rich guy. Romantic and witty, this book was lovely in every way.

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Ethan and Estephanie come from totally different worlds, but they do have one thing in common, they both have experienced deception and pain. When they are forced to be partners in a film class assignment the last thing they expected was to become friends because they are constantly bickering and disagreeing about everything. Very quickly they will realize that they'll need more than a project partner in each other. Estephanie needs a place to stay for the summer, and Ethan needs a fake girlfriend to pretend in front of his family and ex-girlfriend; but their little charade will prove to be more dangerous for their feelings than they ever thought.

This story was very romantic and funny but also with some angst. Is about two people discovering who they really are and not allowing others or the painful experiences shape who they should be. I truly enjoyed it and will probably read it again and also recommended it to everyone because this is one of those books that makes you happy and sight. Loved it!!!

My Isn't She LovelyPlaylist:
*She's so mean by Matchbox 20
*I Love It by Icona Pop
*Arms by Christina Perry
*Fix A Heart by Demi Lovato
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
October 28, 2013
From its mere appearance alone, Isn't She Lovely seems to be a rather classic tale. After all, we have a New Adult college setting, an opposites-attract situation, and two "troubled" teens...what's new? Well, Lauren Layne, that's what. Although I often struggle to find a New Adult novel I enjoy - one that isn't Holier Than Thou or Unteachable, - Layne's debut into this genre won me over almost instantaneously. Not only is her writing addictive, impossible to put down, and a true page-turner, but her characters truly come alive, making this book one to read...again, and again, and again.

From the moment they collide in the hallway, rushing on their way to classes, there is a spark between Ethan and Stephanie. With her black eye make-up and goth gear, Ethan is surprised he is even remotely attracted to her and the same can be said for Stephanie as she studies Ethan's jock good-looks and rich-boy attire. As luck would have it, the two are paired up for a summer film project and their plans of avoiding each other are thrown out the window. Instead, Ethan comes up with the brilliant idea of transforming Stephanie and introducing her to his parents as his new girlfriend. For Stephanie, the only plus side is that they will be filming the facade as their summer film, but soon, the lines between what's real and what's pretend begin to fade. As Stephanie and Ethan begin to spend more and more time together - as they begin to fall for each other - Stephanie can't decide if who Ethan likes is the real her...or the girl she's pretending to be for his parents.

Admittedly, Isn't She Lovely doesn't really take place in college. Thus, much of the coveted college experience I look for in New Adult novels is conveniently absent, as are any friends that Stephanie and Ethan may have. Instead, much of the novel simply revolves around the two of them, but considering the baggage they bring to the table, this works just fine. Yet, what I appreciate is that Layne never makes this novel about how Stephanie and Ethan "heal" each other. Stephanie, with her deceased mother and re-married father desperately wants to stay away from home while Ethan, after finding out that his mother slept with another man, wants the same. Nevertheless, the growth that these two go through - the acceptance they find to face their problems - all comes from within. Of course, their impact on each other is significant, but the ultimate decisions they make are without the influence of the other.

Isn't She Lovely really isn't a heavy read, for this reason. In fact, the bulk of this novel revolves around the budding attraction between Stephanie and Ethan, from their cold stares to their witty banter and ultimate friendship. Moreover, with a "Pretty Woman"-esque backdrop, the plot of this novel is only spiced up. I've found that I'm not a fan of the opposites-attract romance angle, merely because it seems so implausible the deeper you dig into it. Granted, they attract each other, but can they sustain a relationship? As Ethan and Stephanie grow closer and closer, Stephanie cannot help but ponder this question herself. After all, how much of Ethan's attraction to her is because of her now-normal appearance? With her standard goth get-up, would he still want her? And even if he did, what about the rest of his family? Is there a place for her in his rich lifestyle?

While Ethan is extraordinarily rich, Stephanie is rather upper middle-class herself, but the wealth gap between them is still noted - as are their opposite personalities. Layne, thankfully, makes very convincing arguments and ends this novel with an ending I can be satisfied with - one that acknowledges the realistic hurdles this couple faces. And, believe me, there is no way you aren't rooting for these two. Ethan, despite having been born with a silver spoon, is respectful and supportive of Stephanie. While she hides her secrets, he never takes advantage of her - emotionally or physically - which I appreciate and the slow pace at which their relationship moves is a refreshing, and frankly more honest, portrayal than those normally seen in New Adult. (Once Stephanie's "secret" is uncovered, this makes a lot more sense and only emphasizes how genuinely sweet and caring Ethan is.)

Now, I will admit that this novel doesn't break new ground in this genre. It doesn't tackle the difficulties of college, the tenuous relationships formed with friends, or even the looming future of career choices very effectively. Nevertheless, unlike the other novels in its genre, it is drama-free, with three-dimensional characters, and manages to explore the idea of family very well. And, more than that, it is a wonderful love story, full of entertaining dialogue and a relationship formed on the basis of equality. If you're looking for a light read to curl up with for an hour or two - or just another jock to swoon over - look no farther than Isn't She Lovely. You won't be disappointed.

You can read this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.
Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,996 followers
October 13, 2013
(ARC provided by Netgalley)

I absolutely loved this story.
My heart is still floating on cloud nine!!!

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"Isn't She Lovely" is the story of two people who couldn't be more polar opposites if they tried.
Ethan Price and Stephanie Kendrick are NYU students.
Ethan is from high society and is a business major and Stephanie is an aloof goth chic, who is a film major.
They literally run into each other in a school hallway on their way to a summer film class.

And here's what you don't learn in Film 101...In real life? The meet-cute isn't the least bit cute. It's more like a meet-awkward. Sometimes even a meet-shoot-me-now. - Stephanie

Stephanie's taking the class because it's a summer elective and a way for her to avoid going to her dad's in North Carolina and Ethan's taking the class to get out of summer interning at his Dad's corporation.
The two get paired up for a project for this Classic Film Narratives class and then the story takes off and I'm on a romance high.
I loved the sarcastic jabs the two share and the undeniable pull that was between Ethan and Stephanie.

They decide to base their project on the old Pygmalion story and even use it in real life.
Stephanie is in dire need of a place to stay since she doesn't have a dorm room during the summer and living with her recent ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend that he cheated on Stephanie with, isn't the most ideal of circumstances. Ethan needs a "stand in" girlfriend to attend some family functions with, to get his mother's meddling, matchmaker hands to back off of him. He's recently broken up with his ex after he caught her with his best friend!!
Ethan offers Stephanie his extra bedroom in his apt for the summer if she agrees to be his "girlfriend".

Ethan helps Stephanie go through an outward transformation to make her look less like Morticia and more like a Hamptons socialite. Little does he know, that Stephanie once was the popular HS cheerleader, that wore pretty bright colored dresses and makeup. Life altering incidents turned her into the introverted goth chic that she is now.
There are other things that have also happened in Ethan's life as well that torment him.

The message here is that you can't judge someone by their outward appearance.

As these two spend time together, they each realize that it is no longer an act. They're starting to develop true feelings and I'm sitting here anxiously awaiting the two to just come right out and admit it, and there-in lays the angst!
Such beautiful if not torturous angst.

There's a shift happening, and it's crucial and dangerous, and yet I want it anyway.. - Ethan

It's then that I realize how much I've come to care about Ethan. Because my pain fades to the background at the thought of him hurting.. - Stephanie

When these two finally get together, it's everything I hoped for and made my heart do a happy dance.
But the first light of morning, always brings with it insecurities and doubt.
So more angst ensues!!!!

That was the real kicker with the Pygmalion story. That was the conflict Martin Holbrook had talked about. Because you could dress up a hooker, and she was still a hooker. A flower girl was still a flower girl. And a grungy film student, was still a grungy film student. Even in a pretty dress. - Stephanie

But don't fret, there is an HEA!!!
Oh I just ADORED this story.
I love "opposites attract" stories and it's just the cherry on top when each person's differences are what makes the other a better, more "whole" person!!

I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone who's a sucker for a romantic comedy with an HEA!!
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,181 reviews259 followers
August 20, 2014
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If you want a heartwarming warming story about two people finding themselves then look no further. Stephanie and Ethan are paired together on a project for their summer Film Class. Neither one of them is happy considering they're are polar opposites.

Stephanie , went through a lot the past few years and is still holding on to many hurts and resentments. She has build a wall around to keep herself from getting hurt. The last thing she wants is paired up with a rich preppie guy like Ethan.

Ethan, only took this guy to avoid seeing those who have recently hurt him. Although , he comes across as egotistical at first, he's actually a really nice guy. He's simply trying to come to grips with the events that have recently taken place in his life.

This story was funny and sweet. Both characters had great chemistry and underwent character growth as the book progressed. If you're a fan of movies like She's All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, Pretty Woman, and Pretty In Pink- then you are sure to love this. 4 stars ♥

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ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing Group - Flirt via Netgalley for an honest review
August 27, 2014
"Think of it as screenplay fodder," I say, putting a hand on her back and leading her towards the escalators. "Angry Gothic Girl discovers Fifth Avenue."
"I've been on Fifth Avenue before, fool," she snaps.
She's so lovely.

Well....wasn't that lovely? I quite enjoyed that. I'm as surprised by my five star rating as anyone else, but what can I say? When the book suits you, it suits you. I couldn't have chosen a better time to delve into this story. It had the perfect amount of wit, banter, romance, angst, and laugh out loud moments. Sometimes when I used to pick up a NA book, I would regret doing so-but not once in this hilarious novel did I want to put it down. That in itself is refreshing. It's been a while since I've been positive towards a NA rather than indifferent....and I am so so glad that spell was broken with these two hilariously clueless students from different sides of the tracks.

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

I'm not going to lie-I'm feeling a little fangirlish about this one-so beware-I'm not normally so mushy but I think there is going to be a TON of gushing and proclamations of love for this book ahead. You've been warned.

Ethan Price chose better than he knew when he picked Stephanie Kendrick to play Barbie to his Ken.
Because Stephanie Kendrick was once Steffie Wright.
Cheerleader, student council president and prom queen.
Impressing parents? Please.
I used to do that shit in my sleep.

I'm utterly and completely sad this book is over. Normally I put a book down and I'm like, 'okay, what's next?!' but the moment I put Isn't She Lovely down, I felt an immediate ache in my heart and I silently wished there was more that could happen without the story turning round and round in a slow, monotonous repeat, but sadly books don't work that way and this is a perfect example of a book ending just as it-and where it-should. THIS is the reaction I want when I switch genres. THIS is how I want to feel when I read something I don't normally read. THIS...was great.

I turn my head to watch him as he launches into some ridiculous story, and I'm not thinking about whether this is one of the truths or the lie.
I'm thinking that Ethan Price is putting on a damned good show in an effort to cheer me up. In an effort to make me forget.
But mostly, I try not to think about what I'm feeling.
Because what I'm feeling has nothing to do with our charade.
What I'm feeling seems real.

I, admittedly, was going to lower my rating-I was. There were SO many mentions of her boobs (yes, her massive boobs) in the first 30% of the book that I would have been drunk had I made a bet with myself to take a shot every time her lady lumps were mentioned. As the story progressed, though, it became a little inside joke that she would play up and it was scarcely mentioned except for when it would be expected that the anatomy in question should be mentioned...so that really helped. But in the end?? It didn't matter. They could have mentioned her pelvic region fifty times and I wouldn't have batted an eye-I ADORED this story and literally nothing could lower this rating. Okay, if they had all miraculously died in a plane crash I'd have been livid, exceedingly so, but that's besides the point-Spoiler alert-they didn't. ISL made me happy and gave my life vivid color in the sunniest shades possible as my world in real life has turned a nasty shade of gray...and, ultimately, I couldn't ask for more in a book.

Knock it off, Price. She probably has Kill Them All tattooed on her ass or something.

The thing about this story is, they both have a problem that neither one of them has told anyone about or talked to anyone about it. They don't realize how it has truly effected their attitudes or how it has broken them on the inside. That is one of the main points that fueled the story and I found myself continually hoping to find out what had happened with them to make them so defensive, but maybe it takes meeting a kindred spirit to truly help heal when no one else seems to get what's truly going on, on the inside-what's really hurting them. Ethan may have been overly into his image and might have made mistake after vapid mistake, but in the end, he had a heart of gold and just didn't realize he didn't know any better. He'd never been asked to be any other way and until that crazy, dark haired girl with black clothes from head to toe waltzed in and he didn't know how to handle it. I loved seeing his transformation and how it all worked out in the end...I can't say how, but sometimes the sweetest gesture in the world can end up with you busting out laughing at how ludicrous and (I guess) adorable it is. Then Stepahnie-She was the same with not wanting to change her ways, but they were both stubborn and needed to realize that there's more to life than trying to make a shocking statement or trying to fade into the background. We don't know why, but when we do find out why she's become this way, our hearts break for this girl that has essentially shut everyone out and we root for nothing but the best for her...and then we cringe as she and Ethan duke it out when they both try to make the ultimate statements time after time.

I roll my eyes as I start tossing socks into the bag. "Let me guess. You want to know if I still have my old uniform."
He sets the picture back on the nightstand and moves towards the door. "Nah. Not my thing. But I think I could develop a thing for girls in combat boots."
I spin around in surprise, wanting to see his face, wanting to know if he means what I think he means.
But he's already gone.

This is so different from what I always read. Like SO out there compared to normal. This is just a standard, everyday normal NA book for most people, but to me this isn't normal. Everyone has their own 'normals'-mine just tends to be paranormal and dystopian. But maybe that peril I so desperately seek isn't only in dystopians. Aren't angst and peril sometimes one in the same? I don't mean literally, but figuratively speaking-there are different types of angst and different kinds of peril-and maybe I've noticed this before in my dystopians and paranormals, but never thought to apply it to YA/NA. Angst sometimes gives you that desired effect that makes you feel as though the world is dropping out from beneath your feet...as if the characters will be lucky to survive another day-Because their hearts are so broken and because they are going through such emotional turmoil. My favorite scenes in those crazy para/dystopians are those at the end when the hero or heroine is desperate to save the other-when they are willing to do anything, even die at the hands of the enemy, to save the other-That moment when they have nothing else they want to live for but that one person in the most dangerous of positions...all at the hands of the bad guy. I love the characters being stripped bare and that we get to see who they truly are and what they are really made of. I might have hit the nail on the head before about angst and peril being one and the same at times, but I've missed this detail slightly in my NA/YA novels before, and I fell in love with this relatively uneventful and mild version of the emotional peril I do so crave in my cut throat books. I just needed a reminder of why I used to love this stuff before it got all cliched and boring. Or maybe Lauren Layne just knows how to write a perfectly balanced story. That might be it, too.

"Are you sure it's okay? I feel a little..."
She doesn't finish the sentence, so I turn to glance at her, and ah, hell, she looks vulnerable. Those wide blue eyes are silently begging me to reassure her that yes, she can pull this off, and yes, she'll be okay without her black-eyeliner defense against the world.
"You look beautiful," I say softly.

See how I went all dramatic there?? I don't do that for just any book. I don't just fangirl for no reason-a story has to touch me in a different way and this book did, for whatever superficial reason.

So fun and just the right amount of snark and angst. Cute, lovable, and the most fun I've had reading a book in what feels like forever. I. Do. Not. Laugh. Out. Loud. At. Books. End of story. But this story had me laughing out loud and giggling like a little girl, then covering my mouth to stifle the insane urges to cackle like a madwoman.

I'm just more of the beer and football type while I'm at school. At home, it's more chess and Scotch, but whatever. The point is, I saw at least five dudes in that classroom wearing nail polish. Nail polish.
I wouldn't be caught dead.

I am SO happy I decided to read this after putting it off for so long- the only mistake I made? Waiting this long to read it. Or maybe I picked it up at the perfect time. Because as I finished last night, I was sitting there with a giddy, goofy smile on my face and I couldn't have been happier. Preppy Price and Goth Girl for the win. Over and out.

ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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