January 22, 2015

REVIEW: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3), by Stephanie Perkins
Published August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Format: hardback, gifted
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

Etienne. Cricket. JOSH. Boy, does Stephanie Perkins know how to write 'em. Isla and the Happily Ever After brings the story of these three boys back full circle, as we return to the city where it all started - Paris. 

Isla has had a crush on Josh for, like, EVER. But, he never noticed her. And then he had a girlfriend... and STILL never noticed her. Until one fateful summer day in NYC, while under the influence of pain meds, Isla runs into Josh in a coffee shop, and she actually strikes up a conversation with him. That leads to a friendship, which leads to... more. You'd think Isla would be ecstatic, and she is. But, some old insecurities die hard, and in Isla's case, they may just prove that love isn't enough.

My gosh, I love these books. I admit, I don't usually go for the YA contemporary romance genre. I've dabbled here and there. Tried a little Dessen. A little Kenneally. They're just a little too fluffy for my tastes. But, I am completely addicted to Stephanie's writing and her characters.What is it about her that sets her apart from the others? 

Isla and the Happily Ever After was so witty and sweet. I laughed a lot. I cried too. I was completely sucked in to the story from the beginning. Isla was an unlikely heroine. Painfully shy and introverted, she has set boundaries for herself when it comes to others. The only person she's close to is her BFF, Kurt, a high-functioning autistic guy with a love for maps. People don't understand him, and because she's always with him, they don't understand her too. I think it's too much work for Isla to always defend him or explain him, so she just accepts her lack of friends or social life. The only thing she's not happy about is not having the courage to approach Josh, whom she has loved for years. 

As it turns out, her perceptions of Josh are not entirely accurate. That one night when her guard is lowered enough to start a conversation with him was the start of something great. All Josh needed was a little nudge that Isla had never been able to provide before. Their romance took off very quickly, and seriously, it was the absolute BEST. He was sincere and sweet and attentive. He's an artist and somewhat of a writer, so he's creative and spontaneous too. He was just what Isla needed. 

Isla has a hard time with Josh's life away from school. She gets too far inside her head and convinces herself that she doesn't belong in his world of politicians and fancy parties. She doesn't listen to Josh. And because of that (and some boarding school shenanigans), she and Josh are separated. 

Josh, however, is the absolute best hero, because he never gives up. The end brings Etienne and Anna, Cricket and Lola and Josh and Isla together at the same place in Paris during the Olympics for a truly epic series finale. I have loved learning about these couples so much. The characters were lovable, the stories compelling, and the HEAs PERFECT.   


Divergent Gryffindor said...

This was my least favorite of the three, but I still quite enjoyed it. Great review! :)
Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

Hannah said...

SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS BOOK! I swear, Krista, you're my book soulmate. From YA to sex, you complete me. <3

JennRenee said...

I am so excited to read this book. they are great books and Stephanie Perkins is an awesome author. She does know how to build her characters.

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