Book Review – Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

February 12, 2015 Dani Dani's Reviews 1 Comment

Book Review – Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton Juvenile on August 14th 2014
Pages: 352
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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five-stars

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.

Anna and the French Kiss series

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins{Review}
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins {Review}

“Anticipation – of something – hovers in the air.”

First Anna, then Lola, now say hello to Isla. We briefly meet Isla in the first book as a fellow kind soul to Anna in a time of need. Since I was late to the series (and had the spoiler of book three’s title), I paid careful attention for mentions of Isla. Thankfully, Stephanie Perkins gave Isla her very own book and it was spectacular. The above quote completely sums up my feelings of this book. It was already pretty evident from my other reviews that I was probably going to be a total fangirl about book 3. And yeah, I totally am. I was so excited and it never faded during the length of the story.

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“Something is happening between us. Is it friendship? It doesn’t feel like friendship, but it’s possible I’m projecting my own desires. And I’m ashamed for even thinking about him like this after what happened last week. Because I’m not thinking. I’m hoping. People aren’t supposed to be able to change, but…I’ve never bought that.” 

Isla and Josh (who also makes an appearance in book one) meet in New York City one night after Isla’s just had her wisdom teeth removed. Little does Josh know that Isla has been crushing, HARD, on him for years at their boarding school in Paris. It is total “meet cute” with Isla hopped up on pain killers, a walk home in a rainstorm, and then nothing for weeks. The pair meet again when school starts back up and they begin a torturous friendship – even though to everyone else it’s clear they are madly in love.

“I want to weep with joy. He like me, but he thought he couldn’t like me. It’s difficult to wrap my mind around this idea. I suspected his attraction, but the full truth of the situation is unbelievable. How is it possible that my crush – my three-year-long crush – has a crush on me? This doesn’t happen in real life.”  

Isla is certainly the most real and honest of the three books in this series. I found myself holding my breath, laughing and crying with Isla. It was borderline reliving awful, angsty teenage years pining for the boy in calculus – hypothetically, of course.

“I stare at my hands. I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself? I thought honesty made people strong.” 

It would be very easy to chalk this book up as two little rich kids who fall in and out of love. But like Perkins’ other works, and even more so in this one, it captures so delicately and wonderfully the unsteady waters of a young woman’s heart and mind. Isla finds herself heartbroken and “drowning in a river of [her] own making.” The isolation to which Isla sentences herself is wholly authentic. Again, I found myself with another character in Perkins’ work that I could not only sympathize with, but empathize with. Isla is a best friend, a sister, me. Isla and the Happily Ever After is beautiful, captivating, and the most perfect ending to a fantastic series.

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