Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: 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.

My Rating: Red-StarRed-StarRed-Star 1/2

I thought that this book might be based all in New York and they would be like 18, first year of college because I didn’t read the synopsis, I tend not to read synopsis, btw – I like to go in without expectations. So, in our 3rd novel of this series we have characters we’ve briefly met before. Isla is our new heroine that narrates the tale of how she found true love her final year of high school. We met Josh in ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, he’s St. Clair’s best friend who was in a constant state of breaking-up/making-out with his girlfriend. As the story begins they have finally broken up for good and it’s revealed that Isla has been in love with him since Freshman year.

All in all, this is a VERY cute, VERY sugary sweet story about a shy pretty girl who finally gets the guy she’s always loved. That’s the gist of it. That being said I can appreciate Perkins giving us a heroine who had absolutely no idea who she was but I think the problem I had with that is that since she had no idea who she was we, in turn, also have no idea who she is. The motivation behind her actions are as clouded to us as they are to her, I still do not understand why she started the fight with Josh the night of the Gala (other than obvious immaturity), but she also admits she doesn’t know why she started it either.

However, Perkins does wrap up the 3 stories in the end, we have a neat scene with all of the characters coming back together and we get a flash of how it might be in the future as they embark as adults into this world.

I think my favorite character in this story was Josh, I loved the entire of idea of his project and how that developed, I also loved Kurt her best friend without an agenda which is always refreshing. We did still have the problem here of the under developed side characters which was one of my annoyances in Anna and the French Kiss but Perkins did the opposite in Lola… so overall, better than Anna and the French Kiss but not as fleshed out as Lola (and distinct for that matter). I don’t think you have to read all 3 books to enjoy them individually, I think they stand well on their own. I don’t know if I’ll pick up more things by Perkins in the future. I think her books are good for teens but definitely lackluster to adults, I missed legitimate adult issues like we had in Lola with the mother.

These are cute, without a doubt –  I think I would give the overall series a 3.5/5 – recommend it for mature teens since there are definite sexual situations.

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