Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

IslaLove 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.

In the middle of my boredom yesterday, I decided to do a re-read marathon of the whole series of Anna and the French Kiss. I need something sweet, something light, so there it is. The read was fantastic! The first time I read Isla and the Happily Ever After, I was not really impressed. It was a long wait and the story didn’t meet my expectations. But just yesterday, I had a completely DIFFERENT and BETTER experience with this book. Suddenly, it’s my favorite book of the series and Isla and Josh are my new favorite couple! Dare I say… I might even love Joshua Wasserstein more than I do Etienne St. Clair. Ugh… I had it bad, realll bad.

I really adore Isla. She’s sweet, soft, super girly, and extremely pretty, I assume. She also smiles all the time. But she’s also very shy, reserved, observant, and self-conscious. Those self doubt and insecurities? What a winner! Those traits make her so very very real. She reminds me of myself in high school.

I can’t imagine Josh falling for someone vanilla.
Not that Josh would ever fall for me.
But I wouldn’t want to ruin any chance.
Even though I don’t have a chance.
But just in case I do.
Even though I don’t.

She’s also, in her own way, funny. She has these fantasies about being with Josh but she’s too shy to even suggest anything.

How does one proceed in a situation like this? If only the discovery of mutual admiration could lead promptly into making out. If only I could say, “Listen, I like you, and you like me, so let’s go find a secluded park and touch each other.”

I like Josh ever since the first book but after reading this, my love for him tripled and I can’t stop swooning over him. First of all, he’s GOOD LOOKING (I assume, of course). He’s tall and lean and has dimples and clean cut hair. He’s also subtly, effortlessly stylish. Most of all, he has passion. His passion and talents for art are so astounding and they bring his sexiness to a whole other level.

But the best thing about him is that he’s honest and kind and sincere. It’s heartbreaking to see his loneliness. And when Josh loves, he gives it ALL. He’s not afraid to show his vulnerability. His love is insanely consuming. I giggle happily every time he’s so much as smile or grin or even when he looks straight to my eyes. I mean, Isla’s. Isla’s eyes.

He opens the sketchbook to a new page and looks up. His eyes lock on to mine. I’m dumbstruck. Hazel. The word adds itself to my internal list of Facts About Josh. Sometimes his eyes had seemed green, sometimes brown. Now I know why.

The character developments are also champ! I love to see both Isla and Josh grow to be a better version of themselves. Sweet, shy, self-doubting Isla grows to be more confident woman who’s learning to trust herself and the other people around her. Stubborn and careless Josh is being more careful and for once, has a clear purpose with his life. I also love to see the other characters and the development they go through.

Now talking about romance, I can say that Stephanie Perkins successfully brings her A-game with this book. Isla and Josh are definitely a perfect match. Perfect chemistry. Josh is stubborn and careless and Isla knows how to handle him. I mean, how to respond. Rashmi was all scream and shout when it came to Josh’s carelessness and misbehaving so obviously Josh fought back and lashed out on her. Isla is the exact opposite. She’s so full of support and she knows how to soften Josh. In return, Josh is willing to show her his true self, his vulnerability, right down to his soul. While Josh and Rashmi are all about PDA, Josh and Isla are the real deal. It is so much deeper.

It’s crazy how romantic and adorable it is! It’s a stupid crush turned to love. From the early awkwardness to the fiery passion and unconditional love. It is so heartwarming but still realistic and not overly done. I love that we could see the ups and downs between the two lovebirds. What an enchanting drama! Not to mention it’s all set in New York, Paris, and Barcelona, some of the most romantic cities in the world.

“It’s beautiful. But what comes next?”
“The best part.” And he pulls me back into his arms. “The happily ever after.”

Oooooh. I love love love ❤❤❤



6 thoughts on “Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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