September 30, 2014

Latest Read: Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Publication date: Aug. 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)


The good
It took me a month to finally sit down and write my review for Isla & the Happily Ever. Part of it was just being busy. The other part was that I told (more like demanded) my best friend to read this book — don’t hate me but I even said it was okay to skip the first two books if she had to and just go straight to Isla — and I think that alone says more than my review ever will. But I’m going to try! I was one of those people who resisted reading Anna and the French Kiss because it didn’t seem like my kind of book and I was not in love with that cover. Then I read it and I got the hype! At the time I saw so much of myself in Anna and while I enjoyed Lola, the first book was my favorite. Enter Isla two years later and my whole perspective has changed. Isla, Josh and their relationship got to me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. It’s not just that this romance is my favorite (which it is!) but Isla and Josh are my favorite lead characters in the whole series. Big statement, I know but it’s true.

Isla has had a crush on Josh since their first year at School of America in Paris and she’s certain he’s never really noticed her. The summer before the start of their senior year, they run into each other at a cafe in New York under some funny circumstances. But let’s just the say that the situation lets Isla loosen up a bit and even flirt with Josh and the boy notices. When they see each other again back at Paris, things are definitely different between them. They start talking, get to know each other and soon they’re in a relationship. I loved that we didn’t have to go through a whole will-they-won’t-they for the entire book. Instead, Perkins changes it up and lets us see these two people be in love, argue, get scared, fight for each other and be flawed. I can’t say enough how much this resonated with me.

In a lot of ways, Isla and I are very different but it was her feelings and thoughts I connected to (and the fact that she’s petite!). She’s done the unrequited thing for so long that it’s hard for her to believe Josh feels the same way. She lets herself be happy but I could understand her fears and insecurities. She doesn’t let them run too rampant but when she goes let them out - wow, I could picture the scene so clearly in my head. But what I liked is her life isn’t just about Josh. She has a best friend who means the world to her but their dynamic changes when Josh becomes a part of her life and I thought that exploration was realistic. Still, this is ultimately a love story and I’ll be honest, I SWOONED SO HARD. They made me laugh, smile and revel in their moments together. I loved finally getting to know Josh. I hadn’t given him much thought in the previous books but man do I adore him now. He felt real to me and through Isla’s eyes, we see how talented, passionate and kind he is. Their love story was just exactly what I needed at the time and a huge part of me already wants to re-read.

(Teeny tiny) reservations
I wish we had gotten a little more backstory on where Isla's insecurities came from. Even though I could relate to them, I did wonder why she felt that way.

Do I recommend?
Yes yes yes! I loved my book so much and I considerate it one of my favorites.

Sidenote: Right after reading Isla, I re-read Anna to see which was really my favorite. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older now but Anna did not have the same effect on me it did years ago. I didn't see the characters the same way and overall it didn’t resonate as much. I still liked the book in the end but it’s definitely not the kind of love I feel for Isla now. Like I said.. FAVORITE, you guys. And Josh total has book boyfriend status in my eyes.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I felt the same way reading Isla. It is now my favorite of the three as well as an overall favorite. Such a wonderful series!

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  2. Josh is my favorite Perkins boy! There's just something so appealing to me about his wanderlust + art, and just how nice he is as a person. I fell hard for him, if I'm being honest, and I knew it from the start.

    Other than that, I really adored Isla and the Happily Ever After! It's really such a fun, sweet story, and it made me laugh, cry, and swoon for very many reasons. I'm so pleased it's finally out and I was able to indulge! Cannot wait for a reread!

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