Author: Stephanie Perkins
Title: Isla and The Happily Ever After
Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genres: Romance, Humor
Published: August 2014
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.
I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this book! It took me much less time to read it compared to Lola and The Boy Next Door; I think this is because of the return of all of the original characters from the first book in the series, Anna and The French Kiss. Anna and Etienne made an appearance in the second book, but I was really pleased to see Isla and Josh (obviously), and even Meredith briefly. Add these characters to Lola, Cricket, Calliope and some interesting new characters, you have a great mix that make for a great story.
The variety of locations made me fall in love with this book even more: Paris, New York City, Barcelona! I will be eternally jealous. The descriptions of some of the buildings in Barcelona stand out for me – they were so beautiful and really made it easy and lovely to imagine these structures for myself.
There was a lot of drama (I think more than the other books?) that was really exciting to read about, which involved many of the characters. I was interested to see how each of them dealt with the various issues, and whether the bonds in the relationships were really as strong as they were made out to be.
Isla was briefly mentioned in Anna and The French Kiss, as a shy, quiet girl who was focused on her studies and not overly popular. She has always had her best friend, Kurt, and now she has Josh, who she has quite an idealistic view of – a perfect image that doesn’t ever waver in her mind. However, as the two get closer, she does realise that he isn’t as perfect as she always imagined and has some faults, as everyone does.
Josh, the main male character, is Etienne St. Clair’s best friend from the School of America in Paris, where they spent a few years together. They were in different years (Josh was a junior whilst Etienne, Anna, Rashmi and Meredith were seniors) so were separated for the year that this book is set over, as Etienne is with Anna in her hometown, and Josh is obviously still at school.
The fact that Josh is an artist is a pretty important part of the story, as a lot of the things they do for each other are somehow based around or are to do with art in some way. Rashmi, Josh’s ex-girlfriend, is also mentioned on a few occasions, and features briefly towards the end of the book, though not in her human form… (not as weird as it sounds)
In Anna and Lola, it felt as if the entire storyline was based around the two main characters getting together, whereas in Isla, she and Josh get together fairly quickly and the majority of the novel is about their relationship once they are a couple. That’s not to say that you don’t find out anything about how the relationships of Etienne and Anna or Lola and Cricket are, just not as much. I also thought that the circumstances in which Josh and Isla started speaking to each other were especially cute.
Though I have referred to the novels as a series, you could definitely read the books alone and the stories would still make sense. So, if you like the sound of one, don’t let the fact the characters intertwine or that stories relate to each other put you off! If you are interested to read my reviews of the first two books, I will link them again below:
Star Rating: ★★★★☆