Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: August 14, 2014
Hardcover, 339 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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-favourites Anna, Etienne, 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 swoon worthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins's beloved series. 

If there's one thing to say about this series by Stephanie Perkins it's that she knows how to make us fall in love, make us go through torture when our lovers can't be together, and then makes us swoon all over again when they find a way to be together. This is a plot I can get behind and Stephanie does it perfectly. In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna falls for a guy who's already taken but they can't seem to stay apart either way. Drama ensues. In Lola and the Boy Next Door, Lola has kept her next door neighbour out of her mind since they moved, but when he returns to town, she can't stop the way he still makes her feel. Drama ensues. Now, in the final instalment in this lovely contemporary series, Perkins brings back Isla, the quiet girl who helped Anna out of an awful situation in the first book and Josh, one of Etienne's old friends.

Isla has been in love with Josh from afar for a long time. He's always had a girlfriend, so she just watched longingly, knowing there would never be a time for her. But when she spots Josh in Manhattan over the summer, where they both live outside of school in Paris, she knows this is her chance to talk to him. It helps that she just came from the dentist and it hopped up on pain meds, so sweet, shy Isla can actually talk to him this time. The small conversation between the two of them leads to so much more and before she knows it, Isla is dating Josh(!) If anyone has noticed, when a couplet gets together early in the book, it means it will not be smooth sailing along the way. Isla soon discovers things about Josh she's not sure she likes, like his past relationships, his senator dad and the side it brings out in him. It doesn't help that college is looming around the corner and they most likely won't be going to school anywhere close to each other and they start asking themselves if it's worth the effort, the hardship and the drama to be together.

This book made me laugh, swoon and bawl my eyes out. Isla is the sweetest character, the kind of girl I was in high school. She stays out of people's business and is happy spending time with her only friend. She does what most girls do when they finally get a boyfriend - she starts to spend more time with Josh and makes him the focus of her life. Her grades drop a bit and she gets into trouble, and it's so real it hurts. We have all lost ourselves in a guy so we all know the feeling of making him top priority, even if it wrecks your life. Josh was the kind of guy I would have fallen in love with in high school. The quiet artist with his deep stares and lanky frame. I think that's why this is my favourite one of the series, because they were so real and familiar to me. Their relationship is wonderful and reckless. Josh takes Isla places she has never been and shows her a side of Paris she has never seen. The heartache is real and I was rooting for these two from the first page to the last. The cameos from our favourites from the other books was perfectly timed and any fans will love the part with them.

This whole series will continue to be my favourite. Perkins writes contemporary perfectly and I have yet to find any author who has made me feel the way she's made me feel. Hopefully she's working on a new series!

"Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting. The way he looked at you? He wasn't distracted. He was consumed."

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