Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is probably safe to say that I have been waiting for Isla and the Happily Ever After for a long time…I believe that my goodreads shelf says I added it to my to read list two years ago. All I have to say is it WAS TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT!!! Yes, I was shouting that…If I could, there would be rooftops involved. I loved this book and if you have enjoyed the other books in this series and I am pretty sure you will be fangirling alongside me once you get an opportunity to read this book. Perkins writes lovely characters (always) that I want to be friends with, give hugs to, and just really hang out with – Isla and Josh are no different.
Isla has had a crush on Josh Wasserstein for three years and every time she sees him, she feels like she makes a complete fool of herself. Home on summer break, Isla happens to run into Josh at a coffee shop after she has gotten her wisdom teeth pulled and is on pain killers and just when she thinks she has a chance, he vanishes and Isla doesn’t see him again until they are both back at school for the fall semester of their senior year. Once Isla realizes that Josh has feelings for her (and vice versa) and they begin to open up to each other, the story really picks up. I loved seeing the two get beyond the crush stuff and move into a real relationship – don’t get me wrong, I loved the crush stuff but I really loved the other stuff too. Along with a real relationship though, they have to figure out how to deal with real challenges like what to do after graduation, figuring out how to deal with the aftermath of a (possibly) poor decision…you know, life stuff.
Characters are what typically pull me into a story and Perkins has done a great job with Isla and Josh. As usual, there are a number of secondary characters here that are great too…including cameos of some favorites in Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket. Kurt was probably the most visible as he is the closest person to Isla (outside of her sisters) and the person she relies on most while at school.
What I really liked about Isla is that she really sees Josh has taken the time to observe and understand what is important to him. She knows he is smart and sees the mask he puts on when interacting with others. Isla is also loyal which comes out in her friendship with Kurt. I loved that she was willing to say goodbye to someone just because they weren’t supportive of Kurt and his challenges. It says a lot about who she is and what she values.
Along with all that, this book was packed full of swoons and I have to say….Josh is my favorite of all of Perkins’ lead boys. He is funny, smart, sensitive, and I adore him. I can’t give everything away but I will share one of my favorite quotes.
“I love you!” I say.
“I love you, too.” Josh laughs in surprise. “Thanks for the enthusiasm.”
“I didn’t get to say it last time.”
“Ah, well. From now on” –and I hear his smile grow into a dimple-bearing grin–”let’s start with it.”
And that is only one example of the reasons he is so great. I really have nothing more to say about this other than trust me…if you liked St. Claire, you better get ready for Josh.
I feel like I really shouldn’t say much more (so I won’t) as I don’t want to ruin any part of this book for anyone. Trust me when I say that Perkins brings you back to Paris with these two and I really never wanted this book to end. I loved how she tied Anna and St. Claire back into the story and I have to admit…there are quite a few stickies in my book after reading this one. It has also made me think I need to do a re-read of Anna and Lola before I say goodbye (for now) to the series. If you like a story filled with funny stuff, serious stuff, and a lot of swoons, definitely check this out when you can!
My initial reaction above still holds true, even 3 days after reading this!
How do I explain for you the perfection of this book… I’m going to come clean here. I was worried. Like SUPER worried about how this last book was going to turn out. I mean, it kept getting pushed back further and further from existence and for as much as I loved Anna, I didn’t fall for Lola quite as much so can you see where this is going? Can you see how I might have been worried about what would happen with our much anticipated ISLA?
I’m here to reassure you that there is absolutely NO NEED TO LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS!!
My reaction upon grasping Isla to my bosom
Stephanie Perkins can write swoon like nobody’s business and she totally delivers here. JOSH YOU GUYS!!
Like I said when I finished, I couldn’t even remember who the heck Etienne St. Clair was anymore … not after reading this story.
You know I’m just exaggerating – but In all honesty Josh has me considering me making him spreadsheet official … you know what this means right? I love artsy, romantic guys and he’s most definitely that.
So, I probably should have gone back and reread the first two books just as a refresher on who some of the characters are here, though it’s not totally necessary, I just couldn’t remember either of these characters from the other books until I was prodded via the story. Like I said, not necessary to reread, but why not – extra swoons for those that do and you have a little time!
Now you know how much I loved Josh, but I also really liked Isla – She sticks up for her friends and loves her family and she’s smart and funny! Though I will say that I felt her lack of confidence and self- worth didn’t really click with me. It almost felt like her big issues came out of nowhere – okay – see there, that’s my only complaint about this whole story!
I read this book in one afternoon – I didn’t put it down to feed the kid or cats. I don’t even think I got up to go to the bathroom. I just couldn’t stop once I started. I love falling in love along with my fictional characters and you definitely feel every bit of Isla and Josh’s story and my initial reaction upon finishing was that I immediately wanted to start all over again just so that I could experience it again.
And I will… over and over and over because I have preordered it and I’ll be rereading all three of these books back to back to back, once I get my final copy in my hands!
This book was everything I had hoped it would be… sweet and lovely and just the perfect end to a great series! I’m only sad that we won’t have any more of these to look forward to!
Thank you to Erin for winning a copy of this book and then letting me read it. (there would have been a big fight if she hadn’t)