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anna lola isla stephanie perkins

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: isla and the happily ever after; stephanie perkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Penguin on August 14th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 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. Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

isla and the happily ever after stephanie perkins

this is one of those rare trilogies when each books progressively gets better and better.

it’s a lot like the movies valentine’s day and new year’s eve where there are three individual stories that connect together. reading it will leave you grinning from ear to ear. you won’t regret it. (warning: the first book is a bit unrealistic and cliché, but i promise it gets better!) this book is not my favorite of the three (actually i can’t decide. i think i like lola best), but this is definitely the perfect ending. the series is one of my favorite of all-time. if you haven’t already, please go read anna and lola.

isla was much steamier than the other two. it was much more mature. while anna and lola left me feeling cute and made of cotton candy, isla was much more emotional. there was was more angst and more frustration. it’s different, but they all compliment each other. i really don’t have much to say without spoiling anything, but PLEASE READ IT if you haven’t. if you like romance or contemporary or traveling or any of that stuff, GO READ IT.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.8

*spoiler-filled discussion beginning. please do not read unless you finished the book and the previous two books! enter with caution!!*

my favorite part, by far, is when isla reads the new manuscript. i wish i had an actual copy of the manuscript (aka i wish josh existed and will publish it soon). it’s when you see things from josh’s perspective and isla. it’s also the most adorable moment ever when he waits outside even though it’s a) snowing and b) he doesn’t even know for sure if isla is reading it or c) if isla even likes him anymore.

it was this part and when st. clair* proposes to anna. they’re all reunited and it’s just so happy. i nearly cried at this part because i was so happy and excited. actually, my ‘favorite part’ was the entire ending – from when isla gets the call from josh to when they meet at kismet. stephanie perkins is one of those few authors who know how to end a book/series (and happily!). i guess some authors enjoy ripping our souls out because we feel something more? personally, i like this type of ending much better than the heart-crushing ones. especially since it’s a contemporary, it gives me hope that happily ever afters could happen in real life too. (*i call him st. clair because i feel like only anna has a right to call him étienne.)

what i love about stephanie perkin’s writing is that her characters are all so solid. in anna, anna is a film reviewer; in lola, she’s always wearing a costume of some sort. but, in isla it was a little different. isla didn’t know where she was going in life, but she was still very grounded. she felt very real. isla‘s ‘solid’ character, i guess, was josh and his art. the characters sometimes made some stupid mistakes (isla why did you have to break up with him), but it made the story much more real. i liked it better than anna because i can totally imagine this happening in real life. anna and lola’s stories are both fairly extreme; st. clair’s mom gets cancer and cricket’s from the alexander graham bell family (also he has a twin sister that’s going to the olympics!). isla had an typical, but extraordinary love story. the writing was a little fast paced, but it wasn’t too fast, which i still enjoyed.

i also love how stephanie has a very clear appreciation for the arts. all of our main characters know who and what they want to be. they know what they represent, and they’re all related to art in some form. the most obvious was josh, after all he is a cartoonist/illustrator. lola was another evident one: she dresses in a different costume every day; she’s a deisgner. if that isn’t art, what is? anna writes reviews for films, which is another form of art. cricket’s sister, calliope is a figure skater. it was implied that isla could’ve been an architectect (or not), but regardless she clearly loved the arts. it’s very important to me because i feel like it’s usually dismissed passively. everyone’s too busy praising the doctors and scientist that they forget the artists.

some people say this book was very ‘insta-love’, but i don’t quite agree. although it seems like that on text, if i were to imagine it in real life i think it would be fine. but, there were a lot of make-out sessions that i would’ve been fine without (my only complaint, along with it being fast-paced). they had a lot of kissing, but also a lot of awkward scenes that made them my favorite couple out of the three stories. their first date was disastrous (bloody nose, awkward photographers?!), but it makes them even more adorable. i can’t help but beam in delight.

i love how the relationship grows between isla and hattie. clearly, hattie didn’t want to kick josh out of school, and she felt bad. i understand how it would look on both sides of the story and it was so fun watching it grow. it was nice how sanjita, of all people, would be the one to help isla out on the sister thing. (though i guess it makes sense. she has so many siblings.) it made me so happy when she ended up giving the key to the treehouse to hattie. and how hattie was the one to eventually save isla and josh’s relationship. *squeal*

isla isn’t my favorite book in the series (on some days it is), but they do have all my favorite scenes. it has such a happy ending. i can’t seem to get over it. anna and st. clair get married; calliope wins the olympic gold; isla and josh end up going to colleges near each other (and it’s basically a parallel with anna and st. clair, and we all know how they ended). i’m just so so so happy with this book and ending and everything!

– alexandra

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer or practicing yoga. she currently resides in los angeles, california.