Thursday, September 18, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After ~ Stephanie Perkins review [@PenguinTeen @naturallysteph]

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Dutton
August 14, 2014
339 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Anna and the French Kiss review
Lola and the Boy Next Door review

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, √Čtienne, 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

Stephanie Perkins writes some fantastic contemporary romance YA noels. The series started with Anna and the French Kiss and continued with (possibly my favoritest of favorite books) Lola and the Boy Next Door and now concludes with Isla and the Happily Ever After. Though it is  a 'series,' each of the books can be read as a standalone. The main characters from the previous book(s) do appear and are a part of the new characters' lives, so new readers won't have the backstory.

While both Anna and Lola were very realistic, great romances, Isla and the Happily Ever After felt a bit less fairy tale. The characters are still perfect, mainly because they have flaws and are not perfect. There is still the falling in love that will make you fall in love with the characters.

But there's also difficult moments, the characters struggles with their relationship, each other and, even, themselves.

Isla drew me in right from the beginning. I love that when the story starts, she is not quite herself. Yet, if she had not been in such a state, things never would have happened as they did and such a perfect setup could not have taken place. I was immediately pulled into Isla's story and her life. Her friendship with Kurt, her issues with her sister, her crush on Josh all come together to make her a very realistic character, person but still cooler and more interesting than most.

From the beginning Isla and Josh's romance is the kind that you want to read about, that you dream can actually happen. Yet, there were moments when I was not sure how I felt about them together (and because of that, how I felt about the book). There were times when it was hard to know if this thing they wanted and you, as a reader, wanted was really what they needed.

In spite of those moments of indecision - or possibly because of them - I really, really enjoyed Isla and the Happily Ever After. I hate that there won't be any more stories with the SOAP students but I couldn't be more pleased with how Isla and Josh's story happened and how it all concluded. (Okay, maybe I could if there had been some sort of bonus Lola and Cricket epilogue but I just love them that much.)





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