Review: “Isla and the Happily Ever After” by Stephanie Perkins

IslaIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

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.

Five stars

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you might know that I love–more than almost any book in the world–Anna and the French Kiss. I’ve reviewed it. I’ve posted about how important it is to my life. And I’ve put it in so many Top Ten Tuesdays I can’t even link to them all.

When it’s follow up, Lola and the Boy Next Door, came out, I was pleased. I didn’t like it as much as Anna–never thought I could, honestly–but it was such a FANTASTIC second offering.

So Isla, for me, was a touch and go story. I didn’t particularly care for Josh in Anna, and more importantly I just didn’t think Perkins could honestly hit the ball out of the park more than she already had.

Boy, was I wrong.

I think one of the best things about these books is the self struggle that the main characters go through in order to get their happy ending. No one is hurting or saving them but themselves. In Isla, that was no different. The difference was that–unlike Anna or Lola–Isla doesn’t wait until the end to get her man. She gets him–and then she loses him. Then they have to work together in order to make it all work out.

I think the most annoying thing with contemporary romances is that they forget that even relationships with “the one” are REALLY REALLY HARD and just saying “I love you” doesn’t fix all the problems. Perkins understands that even the best relationships suffer from problems with the individuals in it, and then how they work together as a unit.

I know, this is a terribly unconventional book review. It’s actually a terrible book review or not even one at all. But the thing is that Perkins’ books always just make me FEEL. I sat in my bed and cried from happiness and sadness and thoroughly freaked out my flatmates who’d never seen me do that before. Very few people have, actually, because very few books get so far through to me.

I’m still always going to like Anna best, but I think Isla comes into close second because of the personal connection I established with it. Lola isn’t a bad book by any means, but it’s just not as much of a story that I feel I’m a part of. I still love it. And why I think EVERYONE should read these books is because there is, in every one, a little bit of everyone’s story. You will cry and you will feel and you will cry some more but when you close the book, the sense of hope that you get is worth more than words can explain.

Thank you, Stephanie Perkins. Thank you very, very much.

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

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