Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: August 15, 2014

Hardback: 339 pages

Stand alone or series: Last in a trilogy of companion novels

How did I get this book: Bought

Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

What I thought:

AHHHH. *flails* *fangirls* *squeals*

Okay. *breathes* Let me try to actually put into words my feelings for the final book in this lovely, sweet, amazing trilogy.

I’m not going to lie, when my friend Georgie recommended Anna and the French Kiss to me, I was doubtful. This is not the usual type of book I read. At all. But I picked up Anna and then Lola and I fell in love. Stephanie Perkins is a wonderfully gifted author who makes you swoon, laugh, cry, and feel ALL THE THINGS.

This book was different from the other two though. It’s not like in Anna and Lola when we ship the two characters the whole entire time until they finally, beautifully fall in love with each other. Instead, Isla and Josh begin a relationship pretty quickly and fall for each other. HARD. And then the book follows them as they go through some stuff. Instead of being about the characters finding each other, this book was about them finding themselves and what that means in a relationship. A lot of their problems are self-inflicted, but this is what allowed them to learn about themselves. Yes, it was a little over-dramatic at times. I mean, just have a conversation with each other, geez!

I have loved Josh since the beginning, you guys. I couldn’t wait for him to come back. He’s wonderful: funny, charming, brooding, creative, all the things I like. Honestly, I just didn’t think there was enough of him in this book. Instead of being like the other two books and having a couple (Anna & St. Clair / Lola & Cricket), it mostly felt like this was Isla’s story, which it is, I know. But I could have used a lot more of Josh. Also, at times, the relationship between Josh and Isla was weird for me. It felt a little too instalove-ish at times, which you guys know I hate. Sometimes I honestly just wanted to ask Josh why he even liked Isla. I mean, I like her; I think she’s my favorite narrator of the three, but it was one of those “You’ve been in love with him forever and guess what? He’s always loved you too but couldn’t do anything about it.” Blah.

But then sometimes I was just like, “AH. Isla is so great.” She thinks and talks just like we do.

“You know that because you asked me out, you’re the one who has to pick the place, right?”
Throat. Dry.
Dry throat.
All of the dryness in my throat.
“Whatever you suggest.” He grins. “I’ll say yes. You’ll definitely get a yes. If that helps.” (Page 75)

On the other hand, if I could just have a mix between Cricket and Josh, that’d be great. K? Thanks!

So then there’s this thing that happens on page 313. I had to close my book for a minute or two to just savor it. I almost cried. Okay, I actually did tear up a little. This book made me so happy, you guys. This was the best way to end this little trilogy.

I had issues with this one sometimes, but overall I loved it. It was just what I wanted: a sweet, adorable ending to this wonderful story. Isla grew up and learned a lot about herself throughout the book, which I really appreciated. I think I liked her so much not only because she talks/thinks like us, but because she was flawed, insecure, and unsure of herself. She was able to realize all of this (with the help of her best friend – you guys know I like a good friendship story) and go fix it. A+ on the maturity and the friendship story, Steph!

I hope that this review is actually helpful because it kind of seems like a jumble of thoughts to me. I liked it. There you go. 🙂

Also, I’m going to a book festival in two weeks and Stephanie Perkins will be there and I CANNOT wait.

The bottom line: Cricket is still my favorite boy out of the trilogy, but Isla is my favorite narrator. She’s just like us. Yes, I had a few issues with this book, but overall, this was a wonderfully sweet ending to this trilogy. Just what the doctor ordered.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Reading next: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

  1. Pingback: MY FIRST GIVEAWAY: A signed copy of Anna and the French Kiss | Caught Read Handed

    • I have no idea. I think a lot of the time these authors know that love at first sight/instalove is ridiculous, but it’s easier and faster to do in a novel and it is one of those things that is seen as romantic and wonderful. Does that make sense?

  2. Ugh, I hit enter before I finished writing the comment. Anyway, I’ll just type it in again (which is kind of weird..) 😀

    LOVE your review! I’m dying to read Isla but I haven’t gotten my own copy yet. From all the reviews I’ve read so far, quite a lot of people were pointing out that instalove-ish aspect since Josh and Isla’s relationship (and thus the romance) kicks in way faster than those in the previous books. But I’m glad Isla’s character makes up for that!
    Anyway, I don’t really know what else to write here since I haven’t read the book yet, except that I love your review (but I’ve said that already, right?).
    And wait, you’re gonna meet Stephanie Perkins?? Say hi to her for me!! 😀

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