Happily Ever After (Cinder & Ella, Book 2) by Kelly Oram
Synopsis: The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold onto their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.
About the Author: Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.
Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary
More Info: Kindle edition, 342 pages, published by Bluefields on April 11, 2017
Partial spoilers from Cinder & Ella and Happily Ever After
When Cinder & Ella (review) ended, I wanted more of Brian and Ellamara. Having the two flirt over the internet and meet briefly in person, I wanted more face-to-face interaction. I was happy to see there was a sequel, Happily Ever After.
In this book, readers see Ella and Brian’s relationship develop. Ella has to deal with the fame of being a famous actor’s girlfriend. Ella continues to struggle with her new family. And Ella tries to become more comfortable with her disability and looks.
I read through this book quite fast. Although, the plot was all over the place. The main conflict was just Ella dealing with her new fame, which was quite a step from the serious themes in book one. There were also a lot of mini-conflicts that resulted from Ella’s newfound fame. Mostly, I liked this book for the relationships and characters.
I loved seeing Brian and Ella together, dating. I do feel that their relationship was very serious, very fast; this could just be because I haven’t seen their years of interaction online. But for only a week or two of meeting in person, I totally understood Ella’s hesitations.
Such hesitations included having intimate relations and moving in with him, which I understand, because, like I said their relationship seemed to be moving fast. Oram really hit feelings on the head. The jealousies, the love, the loyalty, and other emotions are the most interesting part of the novel. But overall, I loved seeing Brian and Ella’s relationship progress. They grew together, they talked together, and they seemed in-sync.
Brian seemed different from his portrayal in Cinder & Ella. This could be because of the three year difference between the two books in this duology. Either way, he seemed much more mature compared to his childish POV in book one. He was finally acting his age (he seemed to me a petulant young adult in the first book, when he is actually supposed to be about 22). He also seemed too perfect. Maybe because Ella perceived him that way for most of the book and her perspective influenced mine. But he didn’t seem to have too many faults.
In fact, one of Brian’s only faults was his father . . . and well, you can’t choose who you are related to. While readers saw Ella interact with her father and stepfamily in Cinder & Ella, Happily Ever After introduces Brian’s family to the picture. His father, as I said before, is self-serving. I was annoyed on Brian’s and Ella’s behalf, so I was happy he wasn’t a top character in the book. On the other hand, Brian’s mother and stepfather are adorable.
Speaking of family, readers see a lot more of Ella’s father and stepfamily. I actually prefered the stepfamily as opposed to the father—a drastic change from when Ella first moved to California. Ella’s father’s resentment takes another step and his open mouth gets him in trouble. I get that he was stressed and worried for his “real” family, but I’m not sure if I would have forgiven him. Ella is simply too kindhearted.
Ella’s acceptance of her disability/skin is a large part of this book. After the bullying she was victim to in book one, I completely understand her hesitation to be in the public eye. But she has the potential to be an inspiration (even if the companies contacting her are only in it for their own gain). Ella’s steps toward self-confidence is amazing, body-positive, and realistic. Unrealistic body expectations are a major problem in our society.
In the first book we see Juliette’s transformation from bitch to bestie. While Ana doesn’t make such a full change, I was happy to see her being more friendly toward Ella, even with her both behavior.
The ending was cute, just like in Cinder & Ella except at a different stage in the main character’s relationship together. Overall this series is a unique, great read with the balance between the dark and light themes.
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