Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Book: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

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.


*NOTE: There will be a spoiler free section and a spoiler section of this review.YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


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Um yeah. I had to restrain myself on the gifs a bit.

People who have read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door will understand why I'm so happy, excited, sobbing with joy etc. (If you haven't read them... why are you still here GO FUCKING READ THEM I PROMISE YOU I HAVE CHANGED YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER NOW GO AND COME BACK WHEN YOU'RE DONE.)

Three years. That is how long I've waited for this book. It was worth it. To give Stephanie Perkins the time to craft something so beautiful, so heartwarming, something that gave me the feeling I had reading Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, and just ah.

Isla and Josh relationship took a different turn than how Anna and Lola's relationships happened in the previous two books. To me, Isla had a sharper sense of what it was, it was fun because it was real, and it represents the two characters very very well. Though I would say it's a little different from Anna and Lola (certainly a little steamier :P), it's very obvious it's Stephanie Perkins novel. There is the same feeling of wistfulness and sweetness and a romance to die for, set in gorgeous city settings that are seemly enhanced by some kind of magical Instagram filter.

I don't know how Stephanie Perkins does it, but it's like somehow her books stab you with sweetness so subtly, that you don't realize it until you're drowning in it. But it's like happy drowning. It just makes you so happy, and smiley and it seems like it should be sappy and cheesy but somehow it does what sappy cheesy clichés do without it actually being sappy cheesy and cliché. It's like Stephanie Perkins is a witch or god or whatever, working some kind of amazing magic.

Of Anna, Lola, and Isla, I connected with Isla the most. I think personally she's the most like me, and I would just totally do and say the things she does. Isla and Josh aren't my favourite couple (I have a certain love for Anna and St. Clair since they were what set me off on this journey) but they are a cute and a "fit together like a puzzle piece" couple. I loved getting to know Isla, seeing that faint glimpse of her in Anna made me excited to get to know this girl. And this girl feels easy and comfortable to be around. Her voice made her a comfortable presence as a protagonist. While Anna was kind of a pure adrenaline-y teenager, Lola the wild carefree outburst like a star, Isla was the quiet reassuring presence. 

Josh. Oh, I think personally I loved Josh the most of the three guys. While St. Clair was basically mouthwatering (there I said it. DON'T JUDGE ME) and Cricket was this geeky kind of awkward cutie (which is my type technically... this is starting to get awkward) Josh had this charisma, this vulnerableness that made him so open with Isla, and he is so loyal to St.Clair and ahhh so cute. He's kind of the complex artistic almost poetic guy. He and Isla worked really well together as characters, and they are perfect for each other in a weird way.

Enough embarrassing fangirl babble, GO READ IT. READ ANNA FIRST THOUGH. JUST READ THESE BOOKS. Please?


click away now.
any time now.


I FREAKED. OUT. I screamed at the top of my lungs as if the world had suddenly turned into cheese, and I kept chanting OMG OMG OMG OMG over and over and over again

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The fact he proposed on Point Zero. The fact that he worked at that theater in Lola was to buy Anna a ring.


And how Cricket and Lola came as well was so cute, and Calliope just added the cherry on top :)

JUST SEEING THEM MADE EVERYTHING BETTER. It helped my momentary depression from Isla and Josh being apart. :((((((

I kind of wish we got someone to illustrate a little of Isla, just to kind of emphasize Josh's artistic skills. But ahhh reading Isla reading Josh's book was kind of amazing, especially when she was summarizing everything that happened in Anna and the French Kiss from Josh's point of view and calling it a soap opera. I loved the fact that Stephanie Perkins kind of poked fun at herself.

And I was squealing through most of the first part (and the fact that Isla got a blood nose on their first kiss XD) and then bawling through the most of the last parts. I was just wanted them to be happy and cute and then everything gets lost to the wind and I'm like "STEPHANIE FIX THIS" and I kept telling myself, "it'll be OK, it says happily ever after on the cover, it's got to be a happy ending" but despite that it still hurt and it still gave me all the feels. And even though they were apart, there were worthwhile moments in there.

And what I loved also was the fact that Stephanie's books are never just about the romance. True, it's focused on the romance, but some of it is always about self-discovery and growth. Isla learning that it's OK to not know where your future leads, Anna learning to mend things between Bridget and her family, Lola about who she is as a person, they are all important aspects of the book. The guys equally go through their own journeys, with St.Clair coping with his family, Cricket going for his dreams for once and Josh coming to terms with who his family is and what he really wants, whether who he is or where he wants to be.

And the line where Isla's telling Josh it's okay to be a blank canvas to be inspired by artists and Josh telling her blank canvas inspire artists as well because of the unlimited possibilities- SLAYED. SLAYED. I lost it.

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So yeah. Um that's my fangirling review for the day. Go read this book guys, you really won't regret it. Of all the books I recommend people, these ones are always ones I can safely say that if you have human emotions, if you have a heart and you enjoy contemporary (actually even if you don't), you will love it.


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