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Friday, September 12, 2014

Novel Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3) by Stephanie Perkins



Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. Of course, it drives me crazy that it doesn't match the previous books on my shelf, but I still think it's really pretty. It's simple, modern, very pretty to look at. The background represents the setting in the book (which is significant to the books), as well as giving a kind of understated love story feel. The physical books also have that odd (rubbery?) finish on them that I think fits. I think it's lovely.

Quotes:

  • "My mouth is painted red. Maman once told me to place the boldest color where I want people to look.” (Hardback, pg. 76-77)
  • "'For a certain type of person, high school will always be brutal,’ the head says. ‘The best advice that I can give you is to figure out what comes next, and work toward that.’” (Pg. 221) [The head, as in the principal of the school.]
  • "'And it started these ideas in my head about how maybe I wasn’t the person that I thought I was. Maybe I’m not a city girl. Maybe I was only thinking about Paris versus New York, because nothing else seemed real, somehow. Like, everywhere else just seemed like something—‘
    ‘You’d read about in a book.’”
    (Pg. 298)
  • "'Artists are inspired by blank canvases.’ […] ‘A blank canvas,’ Josh continues, ‘has unlimited possibilities.’” (Pg. 329)

Review:

This book was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. I mean, I don’t think anything can beat Lola and the Boy Next Door, but this one was just as good as the first. I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Isla has been in love with Josh for about four years now, but she’s barely talked to him, and is pretty sure he doesn’t even know she exists. Her best friend, Kurt, has autism, and they’re pretty much loners. But then Isla runs into Josh while high on Vicodin, and thus starts her budding romance with him.
I liked Isla, a lot. She’s shy, clumsy, and doesn’t know how to really make friends. She does some growing up, though. She’s a little angsty over Josh for a while, but not in a way that bothered me even a little (although, I don’t know, maybe it will some people?). But she realizes that she’s her own problem, and she needs to put herself out there and grow. I think I actually related to Isla the most of the three so far. Kurt was great, too, and it was nice to see them grow apart while still being best friends.
Josh is great. I really like that both characters have to do a lot of growing up, together and apart, and that they realize this. Josh has to grow up about his parents and his life, and he has to learn to look at his comic with at least some objectivism.
Similar to in the previous book, the characters realize that they need to know who they are as a person, on their own, before they can really be in a committed relationship with someone else, but that they can also learn and explore who they are with someone else. That’s important, and I like the focus it had.
The writing was great, and the book went by much too fast. The pace was perfect, I think, not too little or too much time on anything. The only reason I would have wanted more would be to have more time with the characters. There were cameos from the other characters, and I loved that. I always want more time with the previous characters (always), but we got enough of a glimpse to really see them, see how they’re doing, along with a very nice update on two of them.
The humor was perfect—I’m always smiling and laughing while reading Perkins’ books. The romance was also very good, with a lot of swoon, a lot of cute and sweet scenes. The ending was fantastic.
Overall, this book was everything I wanted it to be. I’m perfectly happy with it, and of course excited for anything else Perkins publishes next.

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