Published: August 14 2014 by Usborne Publishing
Format: Paperback, 375 pages
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Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
I read this in one sitting! It was gorgeous and beautiful and Stephanie Perkins writes the best books!
It’s been so long since I read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door that I forgot that we’ve already met Josh and Isla. I forgot!! It was great to be reminded that I already knew both of them from the other books 🙂
Isla and the Happily Ever After is a book of exquisite, beautiful moments. Like the other Perkins books, there’s a lot to love about the way that Isla and Josh fall in love. There are many butterfly inducing scenes and oh gosh, the wonder that was Barcelona. (No but seriously, BARCELONA).
It’s also a book of amazing relationships – even the ones that aren’t perfect. There’s the wonderful friendship between Isla and Kurt, the rocky relationship between Isla and younger sister, and the strained and complicated bond that Josh has with his parents. I was surprised that the book also spent time on the place that Rashmi, Josh’s ex, has in his life, although I shouldn’t have been. Perkins has always written great relationships, and this book is no exception.
This book is set back at the school that Anna and St. Clair went to, and it was awesome to go back there! But unlike the first book where Paris was tangible and vividly described, in Isla’s mind Paris is mostly a backdrop to her whirl-wind romance. There’s a tangible difference in the ways that Anna and Isla experienced the same city, which makes an impact on the atmosphere of the book.
I ended up liking Isla, but I have to admit it was hard. I loved her in the first chapter, but the first chapter is about an Isla with significantly lowered inhibitions who is cute and funny and a lot braver than she usually is. The next day, we catch up with ‘regular’ Isla, and it gets a bit weird. She has this all-consuming crush on Josh, and although I thought it was sweet at first, it quickly became way too creepy. Like, I wasn’t even embarrassed for Isla anymore, I just wanted her to STOP.
Josh was really awesome and he had some epic, swoon-worthy moments, but I think he failed to resonate with me as much as St. Clair and Cricket did (Cricket is my favourite). He’s also super sexy (the time he painted … not on a canvas) and really romantic (all the presents he gave Isla were perfect!)
I didn’t love Isla and the Happily Ever After like I did Anna and Lola, however, and it basically comes down to the fact that I don’t think there was a conflict there. It was just such a non-issue that I had a hard time believing that it caused so many problems. It was still an amazing read and I couldn’t put it down – I ended up *just* making an appointment because I was too busy reading it.
Fans of Perkins’ books will love her latest offering, and I strongly urge those who haven’t tried her books to do so! She writes great romances 🙂Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.