Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Check on this book on 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. (Source: Goodreads)
This is the final book in the series which starts with Anna and the French Kiss. This book picks up where Anna leaves off with Isla and Josh and their budding relationship. It’s only really hinted at in Anna but with Isla we get the full fledged beautiful romance of Isla and Josh. Isla is a quiet, cute girl who is lost and trying to figure herself out. Josh is an artist who is so sure of his future that it sweeps Isla away and doesn’t really give her the space to figure herself out. I found this book sweet for the most part, especially the beginning, but then I found it moving and beautiful and it really made me think about myself and my own future. Perkins had me shocked into silence considering my own future, my own relationships, my life, and this book left me in awe.
Isla is a sweet ball of nerves, anxiety, and love. So much love. I don’t know that I was Lola or Anna, even though I loved them so much, but I felt like an Isla. She reminded me so much of myself. I was so wrapped up in her that I just fell completely in love with her nerves and her want for adventure and her apprehension. I found her anxiety about the future very realistic, especially because she didn’t know where she was, what she wanted to do, where to go, all of this felt very real to me, because this is such a common fact in teenagers finishing up high school.
Josh was a little harder to love, because he was flawed. I love that Stephanie Perkins is so capable of creating these unique characters who have all these amazing quality and all these flaws. I found Josh so hard to understand, which made him mysterious and sexy but also exasperating because he was like this closed off man stuck inside his own head. Josh was so wrapped up in his art sometimes that I was terrified for Isla, because I was so sure he’d break her heart. I found him a little like a twister, racing into Isla’s life, twisting her around, throwing all these plans at her, totally uprooting everything she had imagined for herself, it was exhilarating and terrifying. I loved every minute of it.
I felt like the relationship between Isla and Josh was really…fast. Everything about it was fast paced and made me really anxious. There was a lot of sexy times and making out and speed. So fast. That’s why I was always so worried about Isla, it was like Gayle Forman’s Just One Day because all I did was worry about her. However, I think Perkins did a really good job of fixing this up once they get past that earlier rushing into everything and become a little more mature.
One really amazing thing about this book is that it wraps up Anna and Lola and the Boy Next Door. The cameos of the familiar characters from these books are really cute and made me so happy. I really think this book was the perfect ending for all of these stories Perkins has made and for the characters she gave to us.
Another really great thing was her references to graphic novel writers and artists. Isla and Josh are big comic and graphic novel fans. Perkins creates a lot of realism in these characters by making constant reference to writers whose work may be familiar to graphic novel and comic fans. Seeing these references made me really connect to Josh and Isla because I was just sitting there like “Craig Thompson?! ME TOO!” Anyway, Stephanie Perkins, basically the best.
One thing to note about about this book, which was super exciting…I preordered the book from Mabel’s Fables so I got a signed copy of the book and it came with stickers and buttons. They’re so adorable and I’m really happy that they had this preorder campaign for the book, especially because it helped support local, independent bookstores. Here’s a photo of my book and swag:
Overall, I just loved this book. I’m trying not to say too much for fear of spoiling anything. I am also so overwhelmed that my review is pretty all over the place. Just know this…it was adorable, it made me swoon, and it was the perfect ending to a perfect series.
Have you read Isla and the Happily Ever After? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Check out Stephanie Perkins at her blog, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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