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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton
Published: August 14, 2014
Pages: 339
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars


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.

In short: Every emotion and feeling that was incited in me while reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was felt strongly and sincerely, and I LOVED it for that reason.
Ohhh the complete and overjoyed happiness this book brought me!! I mean, all of Stephanie Perkins' books have brought me happiness and swoons and squees and feels, but I think it's possible that Isla and the Happily Ever After tops them all (though it has been quite a while since I read Anna and the French Kiss so I might not be remembering correctly). Isla left me in a puddle of feels and happy tears when I finished it in the middle of the night and I loved every moment of it.

One of the things I love most about Stephanie's characters is there is at least one aspect in each of her leading ladies that you can identify with. But I think Isla is the girl that I relate to most. She's shy and has low self-esteem and she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. She prefers to read about adventures than go on them. Josh is her opposite in many ways and yet they connected and played off each other perfectly. I LOVED them together.

Of course it's no surprise that Stephanie Perkins got the romance right. She proved as much in Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. But I was reminded again - and more powerfully than ever - that Stephanie Perkins has a way of pinpointing and recreating the feelings and the ups and downs of first love like no other author that I can think of. The intense giddiness, the unwanted insecurities, the extreme elation, the bitter and unreasonable feelings of jealousy, etc. - every heightened emotion you go through when experiencing your first love is there (or at least the ones that I went through...). Stephanie Perkins handles first love beautifully and meticulously.

Every emotion and feeling that was incited in me while reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was felt strongly and sincerely, and I am totally CRAZY about this book for that reason. I am unbelievably bummed that this trilogy of Stephanie's has come to an end, but I am also unbelievably ecstatic that Isla and the Happily Ever After was everything I was hoping it would be and that we got to see Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket one last time (because I love them to death). I look forward to reading whatever Stephanie Perkins writes next!

Previously, my reviews of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Other Reviews:
A Girl, Books and Other Things
Pirate Penguin's Reads
Shooting Stars Mag

Author Links:
Blog
Twitter
Goodreads

28 comments :

  1. I think I may be the only one who didn't like this book which is sad, but I'm really glad that you loved it. :)
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

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    1. Aw, I don't think you're the only one. And not every book will be universally loved!

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  2. I relate most to Isla, which made reading this even more fun. And Josh! *swoons*

    "Every emotion and feeling that was incited in me while reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was felt strongly and sincerely, and I am totally CRAZY about this book for that reason." - AGREED.

    I'm so curious about whatever Perkins writes next. Especially since it will be a horror novel (it will be fascinating to see her transition from romance to horror)!

    Lovely review! :D

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    1. Yayyy I loved Isla and Josh sooo much! I can't believe she's writing a horror novel next! I'm definitely curious because it's so off base from what I expect from her!!

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  3. There were a lot of ups and downs in this book, and while it was sometimes painful for me to read it felt so real and I couldn't fault the characters for that. Stephanie Perkins writes, in my opinion, the best contemporary books and I'm sad that the trilogy is over as well, but that just means I can keep rereading the series.
    I'm glad that you enjoyed the book as well!

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    1. It was sometimes painful for me to read too because it just felt so real and authentic to my own experiences! And I'm definitely already planning a rereading of this series sometime soon. I just love them all so much :)

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  4. I felt like the ending was a teeeeeensy bit rushed (much like the original ending of the 2005 version of pride and prejudice w/keira knightly) BUT this book was so so so so so good words can't describe it. I'd need glittery cut out hearts and emojis lol. I'm happy you enjoyed it and thank you for linking me :)

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    1. Heh, I could see that. I think I liked the ending as it was though :) If I could have written my review in emojis, that definitely would have been the most effective way of getting my feelings across about this book!! :D:D

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  5. I know I am the last person on earth who hasn't read this series, so I guess I need to fix that, don't I? Everyone seems to love them SO MUCH.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. Heh, I'm sure you're not the only one :) I think you would genuinely enjoy them though, so I definitely recommend them!

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  6. Sigh. Gorgeous review Aylee :D I'm so so glad that you are loving these books so much. <3 And that this one was so amazing :D I have heard such good things about these books. Sigh. But I had issues with book one :p so I haven't tried the rest yet. But I want to. One day :D Thank you for sharing your thoughts sweetie. <3

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    1. Thanks, Carina :):) It's too bad t hear you had issues with book one, but I know you aren't the only one. I think I would still recommend giving the other ones a shot because you may possibly like them better. I hope you love them!

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  7. YAYAY I'm so so happy you LOVED Isla! I really enjoyed this one too, but it was actually my least favorite out of the three. I think ANNA will always be my favorite along with Etienne, but I totally agree with you on the fact that Perkins just KNOWS SO WELL about first love! Like how?! How does she do it? I'm glad ISLA left you in a pile of mush and feels--that's the best. Wonderful, gushy review, Aylee!

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    1. Aw, too bad this one was your least favourite, but the important thing is that you still enjoyed it. But yes, no one does first love better than Stephanie Perkins! I hope she continues to turn me into a pile of mush in the future X)

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  8. I think I liked this one the best as well! I loved Isla and I loved Josh, and I loved their imperfect relationship. I am a lot sad that this is the end of the series. I hope Perkins continues to write.

    Thanks for the review!

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    1. Yayy!! So glad you agree :):) Definitely sad to see this series end, but I'm looking forward to rereading it at some point, and of course to seeing what else Stephanie Perkins has up her sleeve.

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  9. I can relate to Isla's dilemma about not knowing what to do with the rest of her life, but found her to not be as memorable as Anna or Lola. In terms of the romance, I liked that this one didn't involve cheating but thought that Josh and Isla fell for each other very, very quickly. The romance also came off across as extremely dramatic. But, I'm happy that you enjoyed this one so much, Aylee, as I remember you were really looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Aww, too bad you didn't enjoy it as much. I felt that the romance in this one wasn't nearly as dramatic as in the other two and I actually related to it a whole ton, heh. And how quickly they fell for each other, it was exactly like that with my bf X) So yeah, that's probably why I dug this one so much!

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  10. I can definitely relate more to Isla than Anna or Lola, but I thought her relationship with Josh went too quickly for me. While I liked Josh, he didn't really blow me away. Overall I did like it but not as much as the other books.

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    1. Ah, well I think the quickness of their relationship worked for me because that was exactly what it was like with my bf and me X) Too bad you didn't like this one as much, but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it overall!

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  11. Oh wow, you're making want to read this author and her books more than anyone has ever managed to before! I don't usually do straight up contemporary romances but I am willing to make an exception for these now. I love the way you described how this book made you feel SO MUCH authentic emotion, both for the characters AND their romance. I may just be the last person alive who has yet to read this trilogy, but because of you I WILL BE fixing that soon! Sigh, gorgeous review Aylee^^ ♥

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    1. Heh, oh excellent! That means you must read her books right?! That's quite the accomplishment in my eyes because I low how you are with contemporary and especially contemporary that is primarily romance oriented. I really think you could find something here in the relationships, in the story, in the dialogue to relate to so I highly recommend them if you're looking to read some feel-good contemporary!! Thanks, Micheline :D

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  12. Isla and Josh felt like the messiest yet most realistic of the relationships to me. The problems weren't as big and dramatic as the others but exactly the kind that happens at that age.

    Lola and Cricket are still my favorite but I loved this one.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Ohh I agree, that's a good way of putting it :) The problems seemed more relatable to people of that age and I liked that because they were the perfect amount of dramatic. But I love Lola and Cricket too! :)

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  13. Okay, I only skimmed through your review because I still have to read Isla's book. I am so happy to see you give it full five shinning bright stars. I cannot wait to read this book!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. :) OMG can't wait to read your thoughts!!

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  14. This book has such a neat title. It’s kind of sad to see the series end, though I never made it through Anna… I mean, it’s been going since I started blogging! I watched all the reviews and though I never partook, it was always there. And I do plan on trying the books at some point, though possibly just this one, because though your review is the first that I ever read of it, it does sound rather excellent, and Anna and Lola don’t overly perk my interest. Also, the cover totally makes me think of Hogwarts or a fantasy land, though they’re sky scrapers.
    Amazingly lovely review, Aylee! You wrote about this with love and clarity and it was so fun to read. Xxx

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    1. Aww, thanks Romi :) It might just be that Stephanie's books aren't for you - you're not the only one. I can't believe it's over :(

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