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Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterIsla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Genres: Romance
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars

Love 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.

Paris || Contemporary Romance || High School || Loving Yourself || Following your Dreams

Josh and Isla both attend an international school in Paris. The story starts out with them returning home to Manhattan for the summer. They live close enough together that Isla stumbles upon Josh in a local cafe late at night. He has recently split from his long term girlfriend and Isla has been longing for him for years. She makes a complete fruit cake of herself and then has to face her actions when they return to school in Paris for the start of the school year.

Cue the awkwardness…I don’t do awkward and the start of this book was so cringe I wasn’t sure I could continue. But I managed to persevere and I am some what glad I did.

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“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”


Character Breakdown:

Josh (The Slacker)

  • There is a misconception about Josh. People think he is a slacker with little intelligence or motivation to do better. We quickly learn this is all a facade and that he doesn’t care to stand out
  • He is working on a graphic novel of his time spent in Paris attending school and growing up
  • His family are politically motivated and he appears to be the poster child they need to win elections
  • He is a bit of rebel and doesn’t follow the rules…he is on his last warning! 

Isla (The Shy Girl)

  • Isla is insecure but head over heels in crush with Josh
  • She comes from a big family and is working on her relationships with her sisters
    • Especially her younger one who attends the same school as her in Paris
  • She is this good girl who works hard with no vision or ambition for where she wants to go once high school ends
  • She is learning to love herself and believe that she is good enough

Kurt (The Best Friend)

  • Kurt has autism
  • Isla describes him as high functioning
  • He is her best friend
  • I love the way Kurt is introduced and Perkins is able to bring autism to light in a positive way. She shows the quirks and impulses someone with autism would display in different social settings
  • I love the way Isla defends Josh no matter what and how he grows as a character

 


“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting.The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”


The Connection to ‘Anna and the French Kiss’:

This connection started out subtle, with brief mentions of Anna and St Claire. I like that this book felt some what similar. It played homage to all the best bits, without overdoing it too much or hitting too many cliches.

Then…

We get to the end of the book and I felt like it was a really cheap and cheesy way to introduce each couple. Normally this is something I would love with the finale. However it was far to cheesy and felt unnecessary to Josh and Isla’s story.


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Loves:

  • I am so glad that Isla and Kurt’s relationship is strictly platonic…even though he has seen her naked. This would have been so cliche if he had feelings for her and the book would have lost mega points if went down this path. Yay Perkins, thanks for not going there! 
  • We have gone back to PARIS! 
    • When I first read ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ I looked into getting a teaching job at an International School in Paris. I sent away for brochures and inquired with various organisations because they book just spoke to me. I so badly wanted to be transported back to that feeling. 
  • The ending felt abrupt, but I did enjoy it being left up to my imagination
  • The characters had subtle changes throughout the book the ultimately made them better people.

Dislikes:

  • The romance in this book moved so quickly that I felt like it was a blink between no connection to dating. This made me immediately anxious because I was just waiting for the inciting incident and conflict to arise.
    • Where’s the chase and challenge?
  • Isla begins the story with an almost negative opinion of herself. She tried to be the girl she things Josh would want, but then on the other hand she is trying to let herself down in case that doesn’t work.
    • This is so annoying to read, I felt like shouting at my pages “obviously you’re beautiful, cut it out!”
  • There was no conflict or tension
  • The plot was all over the show
    • I mean was it even there? 
  • Isla’s sister was such an unnecessary character, she brought the most tension to the text and I just wasn’t feeling it
  • This book was such a let down. 

‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and ‘The Girl Next Door’ are adorable flirty romance novels. They are easy light reads full of the usual high school tribulations. This book lacked all of that. There was no conflict or tension, except for Isla within herself…and well that was just annoying. 

Overall this book was good, not great. It is my least favourite book out of the series. If it wasn’t set in Paris I probably would have hated it. The cliches were to overdone by the end and Isla was really annoying. I was beginning to hope Josh would run off and meet this amazing girl and live happily ever after.

Oh well…on to the next contemporary romance.

three-half-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars