Book: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Date Published: August 1st, 2014
Date Started: January 12th, 2015
Date Finished: January 15th, 2015
Other Books Reviewed: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
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.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
Anna and the French Kiss was one of my favorite books that I read last year. There was so much struggle between the two main characters, and the Paris setting made everything so romantic. I’ve read Lola and the Boy Next Door and felt like it fell just a bit short. I’m not sure about Isla. I feel like it fits in between the tiny little space between Lola and Anna.
This time its back to Paris. We met Isla for a brief moment in Anna and the French Kiss. Isla has had this major crush on Josh since her freshman year at the School of America in Paris. After a chance meeting in Manhattan, Josh and Isla start a friendship that turns into something more. But theres still so much more they have to deal with once they become a couple. The question is, can they overcome these trials together?
So I was particularly surprised when Josh and Isla became a couple fairly early in the beginning. I thought it was going to be like the first two books where the ultimate ending was where they end up together. It was a nice change. I love that it shows that realistic side of relationships, where you sometimes have to work at it, work together. When you sometimes read contemporaries, the couple gets together in the end and thats it. Everything is happy ever after. And I think thats what Isla was thinking too. The fact that she had insecurities made her feel like there was something wrong. That it wasn’t meant to be. That she wasn’t worth being loved. I think this was my favorite part of the book, where she came to realize that those insecurities weren’t true. That she’s completely worth it, and she shouldn’t push people away.
A lot of people connect with Isla because she’s going through that phase in her life where she doesn’t know what she wants to do at college or for a career. She’s afraid of risks and such but dreams of adventure. I feel like this doesn’t resonate with me as well because I love risk. I love adventure. Thats why I related to Anna a bit more. She had more of a plan. But thats the thing about reading books. You apply your own life experiences to books and you interpret them with your own life experiences. Its like that saying that nobody reads the same book twice.
I loved the cameos from the characters of the other books. Especially the happy ending that Anna and St. Clair got. It was so perfect and I swooned so hard I almost hit the floor. I had to read it twice.
One thing that also caught my eye was the fact that Perkins didn’t have this stereotypical boy who was ignored by his parents. Josh is the son of a senator, and automatically my mind goes towards that stereotypical kid where his parents ignore him but force him to smile in public and want him to follow in their footsteps of politics. A little bit of this was true, but it was more complicated. Josh had parents who supported him in whatever career he chose as long as he tried. His parents were a bit more involved in his life, even if there were moments when they were absent for a while.
I had also thought this book was going to be set in New York more than anything because of the cover, but turns out most of it happened in Paris and bits in Spain. It was nice to have that familiar setting, but I think I would have liked a main New York setting better.
If you’re a fan of contemporaries, love Anna and the French Kiss, and want to be swooned, this is the book for you!