Isla and the Happily Ever After (Spoiler-Free)


I’ve been antsy to read this book ever since I saw Isla’s name in Anna and the French Kiss; there’s really no sense in downplaying it. There might have even been a bird-like squinty-eyed head cock when I first came across her name: “Wait – Isla? Like, Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After??” I loved the way Stephanie Perkins wove the stories of her characters together throughout this trilogy and I think Isla was the perfect conclusion. (But please, please, please write more, Stephanie – can I call you Stephanie? – because I loved all the characters and would definitely be all over future books! ….ahem…I mean…you know, if you felt so inclined….*forced-nonchalant-shrug-of-fake-indifference*) Read on for my spoiler-free and slightly incredibly fangirly thoughts on Isla and the Happily Every After.

YA Contemporary Romance – semi-light, fun, and flirty, with a pinch of drama…okay, maybe like a cup of drama. …scoop. A scoop of drama. …dollop?

Intended Audience
Young Adults and anyone who enjoys YA contemporary/romance

Overview (from Barnes & Noble)
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.

Isla takes place mainly in Paris and New York City, although we see tiny snippets of other locales too.

With this being YA Contemporary and all, the main characters are, of course, teens. I loved the uniqueness of each character – they had chemistry of all sorts, which made for great dynamics, and their personalities were distinct. I’m also a big fan of character development and I think Stephanie Perkins did a spectacular job of depicting their personal growth.

What I Liked
SO MANY THINGS! Isla was my fave of the three books for so many reasons!

I mentioned character development above and to expound on that, I felt that this book was more transparent than the first two in terms of the depiction of the characters’ struggles and how they attempted to solve them. This was due largely to the fact that we saw more of Josh’s perspective than we did Etienne or Cricket’s (although Isla was still told solely from her point of view). I also really enjoyed getting to know more about Josh in particular, especially since I didn’t think too much of him in Anna and the French Kiss. Probably because we weren’t supposed to, what with Etienne St. Clair and all 😉 But also because that was an important part of his development.

The writing was wonderful – none of it felt forced, every detail was deliberate, subtle, and meaningful. The pace was also well done – everything happened in its own time and the transitions and time lapses were seamless.

And cameos! We saw several familiar faces and got to hear what they’ve been up to, which is part of why I think Isla is such a fantastic conclusion.

Like its predecessors, Isla tackled some very relevant issues that teens and YAs face – identity issues, self-reflection, communication, and the nervous-sweat-inducing “what the **** will I do with my life?!”. And let’s not kid ourselves – yes, this is a YA book, but these issues are not exclusive to that age group. Adults face them too.

What I Liked A Little Less
Nothing! Oh, wait. The fact that I didn’t go to a European Boarding School.

5/5 stars! And I immediately searched for additional Stephanie Perkins books and short stories and promptly added them to my Christmas Wish List.