Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, book #3
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

Ermahgerd...cuteness overload, guys! I didn't review Anna or Lola back in the day, and I hadn't planned on reviewing Isla either but I just have to gush about the level of happy this book left me with. I'm still riding on cloud nine and I finished it last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after it arrived in my hands. I mean, when you wait three agonizing years for a new book from one of your very favorite contemporary authors, you can't NOT devour it, right? ;0)

Anyway, I read the excerpt that was provided on Netgalley a couple of months ago, and I just knew I was going to love Isla. She was sweet and awkward and the Perkins protagonist I probably most identify with -- even if Lola is still my favorite. =) I loved seeing this normally quiet girl hopped up on pain meds, taking a chance on a boy she totally thought was out of her league, standing up for and by her friend, and taking risks for once in her life. And I don't just mean with a boy but with her life and with her future.

Obviously the focus of this book is the romance -- it is called Isla and the Happily Ever After after all. But I liked that it was kind of the opposite of how many romance novels tend to go. Instead of waiting and waiting...and waiting for the couple to get together, Isla starts out almost immediately with Isla and Josh admitting that they've always been interested in each other. And they're finally, finally acting on it, and they are just so freaking adorable. I love that I didn't spend over half the book waiting for them to realize their feelings for each other, that they so freely admitted how they felt pretty much from the get-go.

It felt more like a genuine relationship, with a tiny bit of the "does he or doesn't he?" and the usual insecurities to balance it out and make it seem realistic. They didn't play games; they just wanted to be together. And so they were. Until Isla's insecurities and Josh's past -- issues that are present in most relationships -- get in the way of their happily ever after. That part I didn't enjoy so much because Isla was a tad melodramatic about it all. But it was necessary to show each character's growth during their separation and how much they truly did care about one another if they could come together again and try to make it work. If they were both just willing to take a chance.

Though this isn't a true trilogy, Isla still felt like a satisfying ending to all three books. It was such a charming, quirky love story, and I liked the cameos from previous characters and how their stories concluded, as well...something you won't often hear from me as I normally like to keep the characters and stories separate, even in a series of companion novels like this. But with Stephanie Perkins' characters, I can't help myself. I want everyone to get their happy ending. Whether you've read the previous books or not, if you enjoy YA contemporary novels even a smidgeon, I think you're going to love this one. It is just So. Doggone. Cute!

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Hi, there! I'm Steph, and I wrote ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I also edited (and contributed a short story to) a romantic holiday anthology called MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME. My next YA novel will be horror—a teen slasher published by Dutton.

Find Stephanie:

Website | BlogTwitter | TumblrGoodreads


  1. haha!! that gif. MLP is the best!!! :)

    I was contemplating grabbing this one in audio, but I didn't like the sample and I have seen a few audible reviews talking mad shit about the narrator so I think kindle will be the way to go. :)

    I think I'll wait a while before reading it though. I like to wait until the rush of everyone reading it has passed. It will be my treat once I get through all the september/october books. I have a few more than what I sent you, but they were books I knew you didn't have on your list.

    I am so glad you loved this one! I was a bit nervous because the hype and it's been a long wait. Sometimes that can ruin a book. Glad it wasn't the case here. :)

  2. So glad you liked this! I'm really excited to read this and see how their story concludes - along with the previous characters. I don't think I've read such a romance story yet so this one definitely sounds unique. Great review! :D

  3. I'm reading this next, so freaking excited for it! Still bummed over the robot narrator :(

  4. Ooh, looks like a nice kind of romance. I'm not a big fan of love-in-first-sight-and-completely-flawless romances, but I do agree that sometimes I hate waiting and waiting for the two to get together. It's like the perfect in-between... I should definitely try this book.
    Bonus kudos on that gif :)

  5. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  6. Your review is pretty much spot-on for how I felt about Isla and the Happily Ever After! Lola and Cricket's story is still my favorite of the three, which is surprising because I thought for sure I'd love the third book more (because JOSH). For the romance, I have to say, sometimes I wish it'd been a slow burn. But other times, it just made sense for these two. They already waited long enough, right? And gah, Isla's insecurities sometimes felt very melodramatic. Like, I understand (she's probably the girl that I'm the most like out of the three), but at the same time, it annoyed me a little. It was almost like it was there just to create obstacles for the couple. But oh, how I loved that ending! It was so satisfying and gave me all the happy feels. I even cried at one part (the proposal); it totally surprised me because it's not like anything was sad. It just goes to show that I'm going to miss these characters a lot.

    Lovely review, Jen! :)

  7. I finished Isla a few days ago, and I really loved it! This one is actually my favorite one of the three. I loved that the romance started right from the start and that we didn't have to wait until the end of the book for the kiss. But yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you said! Great review Jen! x

  8. I'm so happy you enjoyed this, Jen! I wanted to get it at the bookstore last week but they only had Anna and Lola. The romance sounds great - for once no waiting forever for the couple to get together! The really interesting part for me is usually the dynamics of the relationship, and so often we as readers don't get to see much of that because the book ends shortly after they get together.
    Anyway, I think I might feel like something cute soon and now I know that the conclusion to this trilogy of sorts won't disappoint me :)

    P.S.: You always have the best gifs XD


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