Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari is a new novel set to be published on June 7, 2022. The book follows the ultimate Disney fangirl and her best friend who go to a new Disney experience where you get to be your favorite Disney character. As a Disney World annual passholder and all around Disney parks fan, I jumped at the chance to request this ARC. I was not disappointed, it is all of the carefree fun I wanted and if you like Disney, I suggest picking this one up. I am much more into the parks than the movies (I haven’t seen pretty much any of the ones released in the last decade or more) but I feel like this covered both, it was a good mix of park and movie references and love.
Head-in-the-clouds romantic Madison and driven pragmatist Lanie are unlikely best friends, but the two would do anything for each other. So when Madison’s life starts to fall apart, Lanie agrees to join Madison for the test run of Disney’s newest resort experience during their first college spring break: Happily Ever Island—an immersive vacation destination, where guests can become their favorite Disney character for a week. Madison decides to go as the iconic princess herself, Cinderella, with Lanie as bow-wielding Merida. It’s not Lanie’s idea of fun, but she knows Madison needs her, and besides, she could use the break from her strenuous courseload anyway. Plus, maybe she’ll get to shoot things.
But once on the island, Lanie and Madison begin to drift apart. Madison finds herself either missing out or messing up all the enchanting moments she has dreamt her whole life about, and is forever running into their annoyingly perfect (and distractingly cute) vacation’s coordinator, Val. Meanwhile, Lanie unexpectedly finds herself swept up in the magic of it all. She strikes up a secret romance with Prince Charming—but there’s no telling whether he’s just playing a part.
This book is adorable. It’s a quick fun read that all lovers of Disney will enjoy.
The characters are fun and I enjoyed the opposing viewpoints of Lanie and Madison. Madison is a little annoying at times and definitely reads young but I think it works within the story. Lanie is more relatable and it was really fun to see her get swept away by the Disney magic. I really enjoyed the LGBTQ+ rep and how that was done, it was nice to see the silly Cinderella girl with the long blonde hair lusting after her dream girl while the more down to earth girl with the pixie cut gets swept up by Prince Charming.
The star of this book is the setting and the magic. There are so many Disney references and creates this magical world while giving you just enough behind the scenes stuff and references to animatronics that it feels real. I was totally there for it and it was a great time. The entire island and everything on the itinerary seemed amazing and the book gives just enough detail that that you know exactly what part of the movies they’re going for without giving you too much description or making you think about anything beyond the movie.
This book was a really fun read. If you love Disney and want a fun and summery read, this is it.
* I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *
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