Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: August 14, 2014
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dream 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.
You know those books that no matter what you know you will love, and then you read them and you love them even more than you thought you could? Combine that feeling with finally being able to read a book you’ve been waiting forever to read and you’ll start to get an idea of how I feel about Stephanie Perkins’ Isla and the Happily Ever After.
For as long as she can remember, Isla has been crushing hard on Josh but she’s never had the courage to do anything about it. But when she finds herself sitting across the table from him at a Manhattan café, Isla thinks this might be fate. Or it’s just lowered inhibitions thanks to a high dose of painkillers. But after that fateful night, Isla doesn’t see Josh again until they are both back at school in Paris. Starting their senior year, Isla and Josh grow closer, spending more and more time together quickly becoming inseparable. But just when things seem perfect, circumstances chance and the two quickly discover that getting to their happily ever after might not be as easy as they thought.
I can’t even begin to explain how long I have been waiting for Isla and the Happily Ever After. When I saw that my pre-order had shipped early I practically jumped for joy. And when the book showed up at my house, there might have been loud squealing involved. Once I was done dancing around and hugging the book, I didn’t waste any time and started reading it right away. And I can’t even begin to put into words how Isla and the Happily Ever After made me feel. To say I was completely filled with utter joy and happiness would be a complete understatement. The whole time I was reading, I just had a big smile on my face. But at the same time, I also didn’t want the story to end because then that would mean having to say goodbye to these characters that I absolutely adore. Because I absolutely loved this story, and connected to it in ways that I never thought I would. I’ve always had a soft spot for stories where the characters go to school in foreign countries, because that’s what I did. From grade six to the end of high school, I was in Europe. My school wasn’t a boarding school the way the one in this story is, but there were definitely a lot of similarities. That alone, allowed me to connect to this story, and the one in the other books. But more than that, and with Isla and the Happily Ever After in particular, it was the characters that I connected with. Isla and Josh were so much more than I had hoped they would be and they are in large part why I loved this book so much.
In many other reviews, I’ve said that I’ve connected with characters, or seen some of myself in the characters I read about, but never has that been as true as it was with Isla. The more I read, the more I saw myself in Isla. At first I didn’t necessarily realize it, but the more I saw how she thought and the way her brain works, the more I realized that I was just like her in high school. Hell, I’m still a lot like that now that I’m in my twenties. In a way, seeing all of those thoughts on paper made me realize some things about myself. But beyond connecting with Isla so much, I loved her something fierce. And I loved her with Josh. Josh was someone who was sort of in the background in Anna and the French Kiss and I loved getting to know him more in this book. I really couldn’t have asked for a better match for Isla. These two together were just the most adorable couple. seeing them together, and seeing their relationship grow just warmed my heart and made me so unbelievably happy. And of course I loved the cameos by the characters from the previous books. There were many moments when I had to refrain from squealing out loud while reading in public because stuff happened and it made me SO FREAKING HAPPY AND EXCITED.
As you might have guessed Isla and the Happily Ever After was absolute perfection. I loved every single page of this book. Stephanie Perkins is the master of writing adorable and swoon-worthy romance. I absolutely CANNOT wait to see what she does next.