Review & Giveaway – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

January 22, 2015 Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 41 ★★★★

Review & Giveaway – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss
Published by Penguin on 8/14/14
Genres: Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it's not really described)
My rating:
4 Stars

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren't always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

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My Take

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a fun, romantic read that’s pretty much right on par with its predecessors. While this story is a bit different than the first two (since it explores Isla and Josh’s relationship after they become a couple instead of focusing solely on them getting together), I felt like this book was a fitting end to the series.

What I enjoyed:

  • Isla and Josh. Just like we’ve come to expect from Perkins, Isla and Josh are both believable characters who shine. I especially loved Josh and how he expressed himself through his art (see my next bullet point). Isla is a little more vanilla, but that’s actually kind of the point – she doesn’t know who she is really, so it’s hard for us to get to know her completely either. I thought some of her best moments, some of the times that we really got to see her, were when she was interacting with her best friend, Kurt (who has mild autism, and who was portrayed really thoughtfully and positively). I loved that Isla stood up for Kurt no matter what and didn’t let anything get between them. Isla and Josh as a couple were sweet and fun and romantic, and I just really enjoyed getting to see how their relationship developed!
  • Josh’s graphic novel. I loved the idea of Josh’s graphic novel and how it was used throughout the story. Josh had spent years turning his life into a graphic novel, and the contents of the novel have some interesting repercussions on Isla and Josh’s relationship (and I actually kind of loved that he was clueless about that – because it felt like something a guy might be clueless about). I appreciated that Josh stayed true to himself ad his art throughout the book, but he also realized that he had some growing to do (which Isla helped him realize).
  • Old friends. Just as promised, we got to check in (briefly) with friends from the first two books in the series!

The negatives:

  • The conflict. The only issue with this book was that we get to see Isla and Josh fall for each other, and then there’s this period where they’re together and I found myself just kind of waiting for the conflict. By this point, I had pretty much assumed what was going to happen that would tear them apart (and I was correct). Still, the true conflict didn’t come until later, and I felt a little bit like it just suddenly came from nowhere. It didn’t exactly – it was all born from Isla’s lack of confidence, which we had seen somewhat throughout the book, but it seemed like it just suddenly turned into something huge, and I didn’t completely see the transition happening. Still, I liked the final message and the lesson that Isla learned, so I could forgive.

 I felt like Isla was a great wrap-up to this series. I can’t wait to see what Perkins has in store for us next! I give this one 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Stephanie PerkinsWell, hello! I’m Stephanie Perkins, and I write novels for teens (and for adults who aren’t afraid to admit that teen books are awesome). I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, attended universities in San Francisco and Atlanta, and now I live in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Our house is almost a hundred years old, and every room is painted a different color of the rainbow. We share it with a cat named Mr. Tumnus.

I’ve always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. On weekdays, you’ll find me at my desk, typing away, downing cups of coffee and tea. On the weekend, you’ll find me at the movies, waiting for the actors to kiss. I believe all novels and films should have more kissing.

For more information, please check out my F.A.Q.

Author Links:

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Giveaway
I loved this book, so I wanted to give someone else a chance to enjoy it too! Enter for a chance to win my signed hardcover copy. (Sorry, US only).

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41 Responses to “Review & Giveaway – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins”

    • Nicole

      I did relate to Isla in some ways too. By the end, I think I connected to Isla a lot more than I had in the beginning.

    • Nicole

      Yes – I’d say Lola (from the second book) is even more unique than Isla, but I agree that Perkins’ characters aren’t the stereotypical teens.

  1. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    Honestly I just want an entire book about Kurt. Everything about him was amazing!

    The conflict is the reason why this wasn’t my favorite out of the series – it just seemed a wee bit inorganic. But the last 50 pages made up for that for sure! Especially page 313 ^_^ Still squeeing!

    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted: Tagged: The Reader Problems
    • Nicole

      Now I have to go back to page 313 and remind myself what happened there! Totally agree with you about Kurt – loved him!

  2. Misti

    I love all these books and Isla was just the icing on the cake. They completely grab my attention and make me fall in love with the place their in and the characters throughout the book. I enjoyed everyone. Thank you for your wonderful review and the chance at winning my very own copy.

  3. Kim

    I’m glad that you liked it, but personally it was not for me. I loved the first two books, and I don’t know why this one didn’t work. Anyway, great review! 🙂
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

    • Nicole

      Sorry! I know you guys always get the short end of the stick for giveaways. Wish I could afford to send the book to Sri Lanka!

  4. Anita Yancey

    I would like to read this book because it sounds like a fun and interesting romance. It is so touching that Elsa stands up for her friend Kurt. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  5. Bregje

    I’m usually not a huge fan of contemporary, but I picked up Anna and the French Kiss not too long ago because I feel like I might enjoy Perkin’s books. Do you have a favorite amongst the three books?

    • Nicole

      Hmmm … I think Anna is still my favorite, but this one is close. I actually wasn’t as crazy about Lola, but lots of people love it.

    • Nicole

      The first book in the series was one of the first YA contemporary romances that I read – and it made me realize that I really love the genre!

    • Nicole

      Yes, I agree that their conflict was realistic, even if I didn’t quite get where Isla’s insecurities were coming from at first. But that’s the thing about insecurities in real life, right? They’re not always completely rational!

  6. Nikki Ooi

    I JUST finished this book. Anna’s still #1 in my books with this as #2. Enjoyed Kurt and the Isla-and-Josh (readers will understand this one) bit but yeap the conflict part was a little off. Pretty abrupt ending too.

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