book review: isla and the happily ever after



THIS BOOK. It's been a while since i last read a really fluffy contemporary, and so my reading experience for Isla and the Happily Ever After was certainly filled with giggles and gushing. Stephanie Perkins did NOT disappoint. I've already read the previous two companion books; Anna and the French Kiss and also Lola and the Boy Next Door. Click on the titles to read my review for those books. I highly encourage you to read those two first before reading this one, because i promise you'll enjoy the third one a lot more if you do. The characters from those books appear in this one at some point, and it is just the most wonderful thing. I'm rating Isla and the Happily Ever After 4.6 out of 5!

Here's the synopsis from Goodreads(because my mind went blank when trying to describe what the book is about lol);

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.


I honestly can't decide whether I enjoyed this book the most, or whether my favourite is Lola and the Boy Next Door. Both books had me giggling and gushing endlessly and both made me want to fall in love. I was again impressed by Stephanie Perkins' writing, which had its own style and character to it. The way she described places and characters was just fantastic. She definitely is amazing at creating swoon-worthy characters that you can't help but fall in love with.

I love the fact that this book is quite different to the other two. I mean this in two ways; 
First, the buildup of the level of maturity. This book is, in fact, the most mature out of the three. While Anna and the French Kiss was genuinely innocent and cute with minimal swearing and almost no descriptions of intimacy,  while Lola and the Boy Next Door went up a level and had several encounters of it. But Isla and the Happily Ever After had definitely moved on to a more mature level with even more profanities and deeper description of intimacy. It doesn't level to a New Adult novel though, but it definitely moves away from the innocence of Anna and the French Kiss. I liked that. It feels like the reader of the kind-of series gets to grow more matured with each character and story.

Secondly, the flow of the story is almost opposite to the other two. In this one, we see that the main character gets together with the love interest almost immediately, unlike the other two books. This felt fresh and different, and made the pace incredibly good till it keeps the readers wanting to read more. This allows for a different view of relationships to be seen; the struggle. I appreciated that Stephanie Perkins doesn't only stick to typical cliche relationships that seem so flawless from any problems. I liked that there were issues that the characters needed to work out.

I also like that in each book, there's a different focus of concept based on each character's personality. Anna had a thing with theaters and movies, Lola had a talent and obsession with fashion and costumes, and in this book, we see a lot of mention of art because of Josh's talent. I absolutely adored the descriptions of Josh's artworks. It was spectacular, i could nearly imagine what his drawings look like and was just blown away with his passion.

Strangely, i was able to relate the most to Isla. In all honesty though, she is annoying as hell. I can't stand her thoughts sometimes because she's so stubborn with her dilemmas and i feel like she thinks too much. But at the same time, i love how...realistic she is? Firstly, the way she thinks about a boy seems so naive and pathetic but wow, it's so on point?? I know that i used to have those kinds of immature thoughts and daydreams when i used to be overwhelmed by a deep crush on somebody. It was amusing to be able to read those kinds of thoughts through Isla's character. Oh, and i imagine Bonnie Wright as Isla because she's a redhead and is actually kind of perfect for the character.

***SPOILER SECTION***

How do i even start to describe Joshua Wasserstein? Oh right, PERFECTION, that seems about right! He is just so charming and adorable and damn, so freaking talented and gahhhhh can i please just have my own Josh to love me? His talent is just magnificent and the way he can get lost in his art for hours and everything is just gahhh, i love him.

I love that we find out about his flaws as well in this book, through Boarding School Boy. I did feel like Isla was being a tad too judgmental and dramatic in her reaction to it, but understanding her character as a person who is always so hard on herself and doesn't feel worthy of being loved, it makes sense that she would feel easily replaceable by Josh. It took me a while to realise that though, so i did spend quite a bit of time cringing at her harsh comments to Josh. Like, WHY CAN'T SHE JUST ACCEPT THAT HE LOVES HER?DAMMIT ISLA DON'T BE SO DRAMATIC DONT BE AN UNGRATEFUL BITCH PLS. But yeah, i actually did like the dilemma she faced. It seemed pointless at first but i love reading how imperfect relationships can be and how one partner's insecurities could effect things. Okay, perhaps i may have a few personal experience relating to this issue, but that just shows how realistic it can be and i like that.

There IS one annoying thing though. Isla and Josh laugh way, WAY too much in this book. I know they're so happy and everything but it was just a little much and because i was imagining the scenes in my head, i became a little tired of so much laughter that i'm just like STOP LAUGHING ITS NOT EVEN THAT FUNNY. I actually couldn't understand some of their jokes so that effected it a little too. Lol okay, that was probably one of the only issues i had with this book, apart from how annoying Isla got sometimes.

Let's talk about the ending. I wish we had more of the cameos around, because i really did enjoy seeing Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again. Especially Etienne, wow! I didn't even like him that much compared to Cricket and Josh, but the parts that he did get in this book were great. And that proposal, OH MY GOD. TOTALLY DID NOT EXPECT THAT AND NOW IM FANGIRLING OVER HIM AND ANNA AGAIN. I wish Lola and Cricket had more significant roles, because i absolutely shipped them in their book!

Also worth mentioning, i loved the final sisterly moment between Isla and her sister, Hattie. It reminded me a bit of Kitty from To All The Boys I've Loved Before, but this had more feels because their age gap was closer and in a way i was able to reflect their relationship with my own sister. It was somewhat beautiful, and i love that there were family/sisterly elements in the book as well.

***END OF SPOILER***

I actually finished the second half of the book during a car ride back from a holiday, and perhaps it was a bad idea to finish it at that time because i had a major headache from the ride, and i'm certain it had effected my reading experience a bit. I didn't feel as bubbly and gushy as i should, and i know that if i had read it under different circumstances, i probably would have loved the book much more. Ah well. Still freaking enjoyed it. Oh, and i read it in less than a day! That hasn't happened in a while. Do read it if you've read Anna and Lola!

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if a house is made from a thousand bricks, then let me be one of those bricks, to help keep the house together, to make a significant difference.

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2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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