Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins
Published August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton

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 √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

My Thoughts

Worth every second of the wait! Yes, I have been pining for Isla and The Happily Ever After for close to three long years, but as Stephanie Perkins proves… perfection shouldn’t be rushed. It was absolute bliss re-living what reading a Perkins book does to me… I had the goofiest smile on my face for most of the book… I giggled like a little girl… I gasped liked a love struck teenager… and I just about broke down in tears during certain moments of heartbreak. I.FELT.IT.ALL!!

Thank you Stephanie Perkins for going through hell and high water to deliver this book to your fans. I understand the road to publishing Isla and The Happily Ever After was not easy, but to feel the effort and heart you put into this book made the reading experience even more meaningful. Again... Thank you.

In this latest Perkins novel, we get the pleasure of traveling back to Paris to experience Isla Martin (pronounced eye-LA) and Josh Wasserstein’s senior years at SOAP, School of America in Paris. Isla has had a huge crush on Josh for three years, and a chance meeting in Manhattan prior to the school year starting puts these two characters on each other’s radar. When they begin to explore a relationship, several obstacles fall in their paths, and a happily ever after becomes more and more unlikely.

One of the things I enjoy most about Perkins’s writing is her ability to transport her readers into the time and place of her characters. Having never been to Paris, Perkins makes the journey seamless. I can literally picture the streets of Paris, the scenery of Spain, the cafes, parks, architecture and balconies that were in the novel. It was amazing!

In addition, Isla and Josh were an absolute perfect pair! I loved their features, flaws and faux paus… That’s the beauty of Perkins’s writing. She creates her characters with a meticulous blend of flawless and imperfect, which makes them both relatable and appealing. You get to see that in all of her characters because each one brings a characteristic that is unique and immediately likable. What's even more exciting is that we get to re-visit with some of our previous faves including Etienne, Anna, Lola and Cricket. Having them in this novel was a fun surprise!

The drama in the book was steady and peaked at precise moments, which makes the reader feel completely connected to the characters. I enjoyoed how steadily we were able to fall in love with Isla and Josh before we experienced their heartbreak. Most of all, I loved the feeling of accomplishment and self-discovery each of them realized throughout the novel.

Overall, I have to say that Isla and The Happily Ever Afterwill probably land as my favorite YA Contemporary novel for 2014. But no surprise… Stephanie Perkins has always been able to put a smile on my face when I need it most. Gorgeous book that filled with heart!
5 Snowflakes