Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.
When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance-novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after that will surely refill Tessa’s creative well. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.
But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from finding her words, and herself, again. She risks losing her parents’ trust, her spot in the writing program, and her friendships—including the surprising bond she develops with Sam, the aspiring baker who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, yet she can’t help but wonder…Is it the one she wants, after all?