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
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it's not really described)
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.
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 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
Well, 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.