I’ve said it before, and I’ll go with it again, I am a marshmallow. Maybe this is why contemporary is my favorite genre, or why I read some cheesy books, but well, when you read a book like Isla and the happily ever after, you have two choices: you’re either a marshmallow, just like me, and melt in front of all this cuteness and all the feels, or you’re just annoyed, well, because of the cuteness and all the feels. I’ll confess something to you: Anna and the French Kiss got me, and Isla got me even MORE. I haven’t read Lola, because I skipped it for some reason, I’m not sure why, I’ll come to it eventually, I guess? Anyway, back to the point: if you’re looking for a CUTE story full of FEELS and romance, then this is it.
“There’s no story,’ I say. ‘I saw you one day, and I just knew.”
Following in the Anna and the French Kiss series, Isla and the Happily Ever After focuses on Isla (obviously), another student at the School of America in Paris. The girl in the middle, the unnoticeable one, with good grades and an average life…and a pretty huge crush since decades (okay, let’s just say, years) on Josh, one of her fellow classmates. Between Paris, Manhattan, and a stop in Barcelona, this book makes us travel and, with the romantic setting of Paris, the homey feeling of the Big Apple, and the rainy but heaty Barcelona, well, you’re in for a great ride…but beware, you’re going to FEEL THINGS. I forever gush about my contemporary books, and this book is exactly why. It’s realistic, and because it is, it makes me feel everything to a whole other level. Let’s start by the characters. In Anna and the French Kiss, I could relate to the characters, the setting, the feelings. Well, Isla made these feelings grow and grow, until they made me feel like my heart was going to explode. I related to Isla even more, to her insecurities, her sometimes annoying habits, her way of thinking, talking, just her whole way of thinking, and being the one “on the background”. I felt like it was a character written for me.
RELATIONSHIPS, AND ALL OF MY FEELS, OH, SO REAL
“Do adults realize how lucky they are? Or do they forget that these small moments are actually small miracles? I don’t want to ever forget.”
Often, when we pick up a romance novel, it comes with expectations, and it’s usually nowhere close to how things happen in real life. Instant connection, instant love, grand gestures and not any feelings of awkwardness whatsoever…Despite its title, Isla and the happily ever after, this story comes nowhere close to a fairytale. Some people might disagree with this, but let me tell you: this book shows an accurate representation of ups and downs in a relationship, real issues you can encounter, insecurities, distance, lust, love, hate, jealousy… When you’re in a relationship, there are just SO many feelings, it’s really hard to make all of these feel true in the page of a book, just using words. Well, Stephanie Perkins did that with perfection, and made the whole relationship feel REAL. There has to be a BUT, here, I’m sorry: the beginning just kind of felt like insta-love to me. Isla has been in love with Josh forever, and we just jump into the story right in, with these feelings already there. I LOVE when people are falling in love, and I missed that feeling in the story. With this, it would have been perfect.
“I’ve always thought the best relationships are those that are as happy and content in silence as they are in action.”
Obviously, with a story focusing on the romance and struggles of Isla and Josh, needless to say that this doesn’t leave a big place for parents and side-characters. However, I really loved how Josh’s parents came into the story. As a political figure, Josh’s father has to keep up appearances, and, for his son, it goes without saying that he has to play his father’s game, for his sake. I really liked how this book played with the image of someone, how you can be completely different in front of a camera, how important the image is. This was a sub-plot, but it was really interesting to follow. As a side-character, and Isla’s best friend Kurt did a great job at being first of all a diverse character with autism, AND a great tool for Isla and Josh’s relationship, allowing it to explore the feeling of being in a new relationship, and still leaving some place for friendships along the way. And ugh, sorry for calling you a tool, Kurt. You were really super endearing, really.
Just BE a marshmallow already, at least for this one title. I laughed, I cried, I chocked on my own feelings more than once while reading this story, all with that goofy smile on my face, honestly it’s kind of crazy. Isla and the Happily Ever After is just one big puddle of feels, and I hope you’ll jump in it with both feet.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read Isla and The Happily Ever After? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?! Do you want to read it? Did you have SO MANY FEELS? Share your thoughts in comments!
Stephanie Perkins, Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3), Published by Dutton, August 14th 2014.
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.