Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Daniela’s rating: 3.5 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.
I remember reading Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door years ago, and I remember loving the cuteness of both stories, and the characters were super awkward and adorable. In this case, we meet Isla and get to see more of Josh. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember either of these characters. I don’t know if their participation in the previous books is strong or not, so it was like I was meeting them for the first time.
Ok so, we’ve met at least Josh in the previous books. In this one, the story focuses mainly on his story and Isla. Isla is a shy girl, who’s had a crush on Josh since forever, but has never actually done anything to get his attention. Until, surprisingly, she gets it. So now we follow their story together, the way they fall in love with each other and how they react to certain situations in live. The story itself is good, if you’re looking at it from a teen’s point of view. There’s nothing too complicated in it, even though for the characters it seems like the end of the world, of course. It’s definitely a fast and light read, buuut it’s not my favorite of the three books of the series. I think Anna still wins.
We first meet Isla. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of hers. She grows along with the story, but her shyness and intensity towards everything were kind of off putting for me. I enjoyed reading about her most of the story, but the parts that annoyed me, annoyed me a lot. First, she feels kind of stalkerish and spoiled, which is not attractive or relatable. Also, her feelings for Josh came on way too strong from the very beginning and it didn’t feel real.
Then, we have Josh. You are cute and I think the best part of the whole thing. He’s a brooding artist. He’s not where he wants to be and he’s definitely showing it by doing everything in his power to get expelled from the school. He’s not happy and feels completely left out. I think many of us can relate to him, because he actually feels real. His actions, his responses to situations, his way of taking his surroundings and understanding them, everything about him felt relatable to me. I’m not entirely sure when his interest in Isla began to grow, but when it did, it felt progressive, not the intense and obsession that was happening with Isla, so that was refreshing. I liked what he gave to the relationship, being the one to take risks and push Isla to be more adventurous, even when those adventures came from that old need of wanting to be expelled.
And theeen, there’s Kurt. Ahmmm. Yeah, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, since I was sure he had a crush on Isla. Turns out, Kurt and Isla have been best friends since they could walk, so they’ve always been together, even slept together (like really slept, no funny business) in the same bed, and nothing’s ever happened? I don’t know, I don’t think that can actually happen between a guy and a girl. It might sound oldminded or whatever, but at some point there might be some attraction, confusion or even just curiosity. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a boy-girl friendship, it totally can happen and have absolutely no romance in it. But I do believe there should at least be some boundaries. So that was kind of weird.
Ok so… I’ll start by saying: they were cute AF. Whenever they were together, it felt like it was just the two of them and even though they were something recent, new, it felt good. Like, they’re obviously a good match. I enjoyed reading about them talking, kissing o even just looking at each other or doing some homework, it was obvious the chemistry was there.
The thing was… it felt WAY TOO RUSHED. They’re kids, I know this, and full of hormones and shit. But still, it felt like they were rushing everything, and you would’ve thought they’d been together for at least a couple of months, but the romance grows in just a few weeks. I kept thinking: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they got engaged by the end of the book…”, so when I came to this realization, it started feeling unrealistic to me.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s definitely a light read and something you might enjoy if you’re looking for something fast and light. It might even fill your heart with love 🙂 Just know that it is written to be experienced from a teen’s POV.