Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.


 

 

 

Rating: 5 Stars

Book Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: August 14th, 2014

Pages: 339

Publisher: Dutton Books

 

 

          You know when you finish a really good series and you almost feel as if you’ve left behind a world that you just weren’t ready to be done with yet?  Although that’s typically how I feel after I finish a really spectacular series (I’m thinking of The Grisha Series by Leigh Bardugo which I just recently finished reading and loved), I don’t think that I was expecting that to happen with the Anna and the French Kiss Series by Stephanie Perkins.  Despite the books being set in the same world, each book can be read as a standalone and as such, I didn’t view these books as a series, but more of a continuum.  As someone who read Anna and the French Kiss months prior to picking up the rest of the books in this series, I didn’t expect to get attached to this world so much.  After reading Lola and the Boy Next Door in one day though, I practically ran to my bookshelves to grab the next one, Isla and the Happily Ever After. 
            What set Isla apart from its brethrens was that the romance started off right away, whereas in Anna and Lola the two main characters don’t get together until later in the book, after they’ve become friends or realized they are meant to be more than the friends they’ve always been.  Having gone to the same school for a few years now, Isla and Josh are mere acquaintances, nothing more.  After a few close encounters that spark something between them, they start dating.  The entire book is about their relationship; the ups and downs, how they deal with school and make time for each other, and trying to figure out what they’ll do once high school is over and they have to get a job or go to college.  I loved that about Isla, because we got to see more of “them,” the couple you grow to love and enjoy reading about.  Despite my obvious affection for Anna and Lola’s stories, what I would have loved to see in those two is more of the relationship itself.  By the time Anna and Lola get together with their significant others, the book is practically over and we hardly get to see them as couples.  The benefit of Isla and the Happily Ever After hitting the ground running with the actual relationship is that I thought we got to see more of the nitty gritty bits a relationship can pose: jealousy, hardships, trust, and incorporating family. 
            One of my favorite things about Stephanie Perkins’s writing is that she always manages to create wonderful secondary characters in her books.  In Isla and the Happily Ever After we meet Kurt, Isla’s best friend, who has high-functioning autism.  Not only is Kurt exceptionally unique but also brilliant.  I loved that Stephanie included diversity in her book and also disproved this popular assumption that people with autism are less intelligent.  For fans of Cricket from Lola and The Boy Next Door, I think you’ll just as easily fall in love with Kurt.  His quirks, even those that are a direct result of living with autism (such as failing to pick up on sarcasm), make him even more charming. 
            I feel I should also mention my complete freak out that occurred after reading the last few chapters of this book, which is uncharacteristic even for me. Even though I knew the characters from each of the three books were all connected in some way, and in some cases, even close friends, I don’t think I truly expected them to all meet in one scene.  And WOW.  What a scene that turned out to be!  If, like me, you get emotionally attached to fictional characters  (I believe there are now shirts for that on Etsy, in case you were wondering), prepare yourself.  There will be tears! But good tears don’t worry! Perkins didn’t kill off any of your favorite characters from books past.  :) 

 



6 comments:

  1. Great review, Emily! It's such a great feeling to finish a book and be so connected to it that you just don't want to say goodbye to the characters. I feel like I'm the last person around who has not read these books by Stephanie Perkins. They've been sitting on my shelf for ages but I just haven't made them a priority. So is Isla your favorite of the three books?

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. Lola actually is! but i just connected so much with Lola because I was a lot like her in high school! i originally wanted to go to school for business fashion once i went to college so that was another reason I loved Lola so much as well because of all her fashion bits! her and cricket's story was adorable though. I would say that one is my favorite!

      And i was the same! i met Stephanie numerous times prior to actually reading her books (talk about embarassing lol) and when i finally started to read this series i realized i should have read them ages ago because they're very good! such cute contemporaries!

      i honestly hope you get a chance to read at least one of these books soon! because they are really good! and although they're a series you could get away with reading them out of order (**hint hint read Lola soon:) LOL so i can hear your thoughts on it!)

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  2. Isn't it embarrassing when you met them and haven't read any of their books?! That happened to me a couple times at ApollyCon. Especially with Rebecca Donovan. I've been meaning to read this trilogy by her for so long and even kept reminding myself... she's going to be at ApollyCon, you need to get these read. But she was super sweet about it. Maybe I'll get to meet her again sometime and will finally be able to discuss the books with her. :)

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    1. it is! I've done it a few times now, especially at panel discussions where I want to meet one of the authors but then the others are just sitting there politely looking at me. and i have nothing to discuss with them since i haven't read their books! oh well! can't win them all (or read them all i guess is a better way to put it! LOL)

      and if it makes you feel any better, I don't even think i've heard of Rebecca Donovan! it looks like you had fun at ApollyCon though! i have fun seeing all the pictures you shared!

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    2. Oh yeah, when there are other authors but you're really only there to see one or two of them... awkward! LOL

      Thanks! ApollyCon was LOADS of fun and I'm working on a post about it now. Hopefully I'll have it up tomorrow. :)

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    3. oh yay! i can't wait to read it!

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