Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Posted August 14, 2014 by Andi in Books, Review / 12 Comments

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Published: August 14th 2014
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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.

In 2010 a very good friend of mine said one thing to me that essentially changed my life. She said, ‘read Anna and the French Kiss’. Having only dabbled in reading in the past and slightly getting more into it I agreed and nothing has been the same. I have read that one book 8 times, its companion Lola and the Boy Next Door twice and most recently Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Isla was a book that I have been anticipating for years, half scared it would let down, half scared it would be amazing and leave me wanting more. Well, I can tell you I was right to be scared…I WANT MORE! Holy swoon-worthy fantastic batman. From start to finish it was everything I have come to expect, love and crave from the hands of Stephanie Perkins.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the story of Isla Martin, a shy girl you catch a glimpse of in Anna and the French Kiss, and Josh Wasserstein, Etienne St. Clair’s best friend, also in Anna and the French Kiss. Isla has had a crush on Josh for 3 solid years, always on the outside looking in at him and his friends. But things are different in their senior year. Josh’s friends have all graduated and he is alone and accessible like never before. In a twist of fate Josh and Isla cross paths in an unexpected location that changes things for both of them in ways they never could have imagined. What once seemed impossible might not be that way. However, nothing is ever easy. Especially if the worse things you feel about yourself start to threaten the things you always thought you wanted. And for Josh and Isla those things might just be each other.

It’s funny because in Anna and the French Kiss you don’t really even think twice about Isla. If you haven’t read the book as many times as I have you may not even notice her. And Josh, he was a great secondary character and sidekick to St. Clair, but not someone you really thought about. But I was super excited when I learned these were our two leads in Isla and the Happily Ever After. There was something that fascinated me about what I did know about them and it piqued my curiosity. Isla was your every day, uncertain, shy teenage girl that had a crush on a guy she thought was out of reach. And Josh was the guy that seemed to not care about anything when he really cared about everything. He was sad and lonely and needed something to make him say it was okay to feel. There was a connection there that is hard to explain other than saying these two were filled with magic. And as the book progressed they changed as people and grew in ways they never would have. Magic I tell you, magic.

Another thing that Perkins does well is the secondary characters. Isla had some great people in her life that taught her things that made her grow as a person separate from her connection with Josh. Kurt was a fascinating addition that was able to be Isla’s voice of reason. He told her things she didn’t want to hear about herself but needed to hear. And then you have her sister Hattie. She was perfect with her pouting and mean façade but really she was a representation that change is scary and people act all sorts of ways when they are scared. These two characters added not only to Isla but to the story as a whole. Perfection

Honestly reviewing this book is hard for me. It’s bittersweet because of this trilogy, all of these characters, mean something to me. It sounds weird but reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was the end of an era. It was like graduating and leaving everything behind. I almost felt like Josh did, all alone after losing my friends. But in true Perkins fashion she went out with a bang that made my heart sore, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my heartaches with longing. She gave me two new fantastic characters to love and brought in pieces of ones that I loved from the past. So with that, I thank you, Ms. Perkins, for giving me these books and these characters and for doing something even more important, making me a reader.

Read these books if you haven’t. Read them again if you have.
Anna and the French Kiss REVIEW
Lola and the Boy Next Door REVIEW


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12 responses to “Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

  1. Honestly, I’m both scared and thrilled to read Isla. I don’t want it to end, but I know I’m going to love it. And there’s always rereads when I need them, right? My copy just shipped today (yay!), so I’ll be a bit late on reading it but I can’t wait!

  2. Emmah

    Ahh, I loved this book!! The cover is one of my favorites AND THAT COLOR SCHEME!! World travel books are some of my favorites 🙂

  3. Maria Malaveci

    I need to read this soon! I read Anna and the French Kiss and loved it, thanks for the wonderful review!

  4. Anj Garcia

    OMG i love your review! It’s so amazing how Stephanie Perkins touched our hearts in so many ways. Reading her books was a like a roller coaster ride of emotions.

    I’ve wanted to read this since I finished Lola and the Boy Next Door but there were no paperback copies available for Isla. But i heard they are out now so i’m definitely buying it!

  5. […] Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: This book just made me feel things. It was the end yet it felt like a beginning and reminded me what I loved about reading YA and Stephanie Perkin. I still smile when I think about certain scenes and I will forever be grateful for this amazing companion series. You all know I love Anna and the French Kiss, but I truly love Isla and the Happily Ever After only a hair less. […]

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