Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After 
Published By: Dutton
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Page Count: 339
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
Review of Lola and the Boy Next Door

I love Stephanie Perkins' work. I have often commented that I want to curl up and live in the pages of her stories. There is something about losing myself in the love story of a Perkins' heroine that eases my stress, lowers my blood pressure, and sends a euphoric shiver through my heart. Her stories are truly something special. I have been anxiously awaiting this one since finishing Anna and Lola early in 2013. I can say with total conviction that this one was worth the wait.

I saw a lot of my teen self reflected in Isla. She's somewhat quiet and shy; she lives on the fringes of the social circle. Isla doesn't really know how to enter the social waters so she prefers to spend her time buried in a book, studying, or hanging out with her best friend, Kurt. Her life is predictable and driven by routine. Isla is okay with this, but she longs for Josh to notice her. He's been her crush since she was a freshman and as senior year lurks on the horizon, she can't hoping things will be different. An evening at cafe in New York opens up the possibility of a friendship between Isla and Josh. She yearns for it to lead to more.

On the other hand, Josh, knows exactly where he fits in at school - a seat in detention. He tries everything to get kicked out of the prestigious boarding school in Paris, but when he forms a relationship with Isla, everything changes. Josh no longer wants to be on a different continent from the girl who has captured his affections. There romance will have you swooning, cheering, and shedding a few tears.

I love how Perkins brings the bittersweet taste of first love alive in her novels. She is truly a master! She makes female leads that you want to befriend and male leads that you can't help crushing on. That isn't to say that her characters are without flaws - they have plenty - but those flaws make them feel more tangible. I expect the characters to walk off the page and order a coffee at Starbucks. I could see Isla and Josh showing up in a book store. 

In addition to the romance and realistic characters, I loved the sisterly relationship between Isla, Gen, and Hattie. The family dynamics between these two three felt authentic. I know that my younger sister and I have had our share of Isla and Hattie like moments. It was nice to see the girls work through their differences and become closer. Isla was so focused on herself that she didn't understand Hattie's motivations and needs. Female relationships are complex beasts, but I love seeing how they play out in YA literature.

Isla ranks up there with Anna for me. While I liked Lola, I didn't love her like Anna. I was so happy to see my old friends (Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket) make an appearance in this novel. It's brief, but immensely satisfying. Isla and Josh have now taken a place among these literary friends. I cannot wait until I have time to reread all the novels. I tried to read Isla and Josh's story slowly to savor each moment, but I couldn't control myself. I devoured this one.

One Last Gripe: Isla did frustrate me from time to time. I wanted her to have more faith in herself and in Josh.

Favorite Things About This Book: I love that the basis of the relationship is friendship. The love is just a bonus! I also loved the last few chapters - sigh.

First Sentence: It's midnight, it's sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy - that guy right over there - that's him.

Favorite Character: It's a tie between Isla and Josh. I loved them both.

Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one. The annoying characters were minor and their entire purpose was to be annoying.

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer 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.


  1. I read Anna and the french kiss last year
    It was so immensely and absolutely amazing
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

    1. This one isn't as good as Anna, but it's pretty amazing in its own right. Nothing can top Anna for me!

  2. I'm one of those late readers who still has to read this series, After reading your review, I know I HAVE to soon. And by the way you described the characters, I think I would be more like Isla since I'm stuck more to books than anything else. I just hope I get to read this one soon, but I'm also worried of how attached I'll get to the characters. I don't want to cry when it's over! lol ^_^

    1. I got super attached to all the characters in this series. It was sad to see them go, but I will reread these books. I love the settings as well.

  3. Stephanie Perkins is my favorite author. Hands down. I love how her main characters are relatable, real and like you said someone you could be friends with. And I love how her romances are real and have issues but you root for them to work through their issues.

    Lovely review :)

    1. I'm always happy to meet another Stephanie Perkins fan. I adore her! I agree with you about her characters and her romances. Did you read her short story in the My True Love Gave to Me anthology?

  4. Thanks for the review. I too haven't read any from this series and I think i am going to have to buckle down and just do it.

    1. You MUST read Stephanie Perkins. Trust me. All of the Larks love her work.

  5. Haven't read any of these books yet, but everyone raves about them! I'll add your review to the list :)

    1. Like I mentioned to the person before you, READ THESE BOOKS. :)

  6. i loved this book! it has to be one of my all time favorites!

  7. I love contemporaries, so after reading your review, I now want to read this even more!!

  8. How have I missed Stephanie Perkins all this time? I love your review of this book and really want to read it. Should I start with the first one, or is it okay to jump in with Isla?


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