Isla and the Happily Ever After

Synopsis

rom 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 Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Review

I already want to re-read this entire series. I just know that I’d catch so many more details! I loved this book. I have an overwhelming sense of calm washing over me right now. This is the book I was waiting for.
There are so many things to appreciate about Isla and the Happily Ever After. Nothing about it is rushed. It is paced impeccably. Each moment is carefully considered for its importance. I remember feeling so frustrated every time this book’s publication date got pushed back. Another few months. Another half year. Another year. At some point, Stephanie Perkins spoke up about her journey with this book, and I found so much appreciation for authors and what they do. There was so much PRESSURE leading up to this conclusion. And this book pulled it off!

My only hang-up was the name “Isla.” EYE-la? Like Lilah? Would someone ever go by Delisla (Delilah)?! It was such a ridiculous thing. Manhattan was obviously important, France was obviously important, but PEI? Okay…
Isla’s name made the scroll gift more impactful though. Gosh, did Perkins have that all planned out THIS WHOLE TIME?

I read this series out-of-order: Lola first, then Anna, then Isla. I remember thinking Lola was pretty good, and then getting BLOWN AWAY by Anna’s story. There was a marked difference! With Isla, I’m so glad we got to go back to France. Reading Perkins’s bio, I realized that she knows Atlanta and San Francisco well. France is like her “Dartmouth” (referring to this story). You can tell that there is RESEARCH and CARE brought into France (and Barcelona!). At first I was taken aback by the use of “joyeux anniversaire” as opposed to “bonne fête” for birthdays, but looking it up… I found out that “bonne fête” is a French-Canadienne-ism! So that was an exciting moment of revelation.

These comments are all over the place. The story is lovely. It is pure romance. I can’t get over the pacing! We get this spellbound, enchanting love story for so long, without the usual angst. Yes, there is that sense of impending “doom” and the wonderment about whether or not it’s all too good to be true. When we hit the brink, the sadness still brings forth hope. Even the gutwrenching moments are sufferable, because we see them suffer. It makes the payout at the end so worth it.

Also, I loved seeing all the important characters from the past. The part about Point Zero was like a rainbow bursting through a raincloud. The Olympics shone brightly. But more than the cameos and references, this book held its own. I’m proud of Stephanie Perkins for finishing it, but I’m happier that I got the pleasure to read it.

Related Reading

  • Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
  • The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith
  • Stories about people being their own worst enemy
  • How to Love – Katie Cotugno
  • We Were Liars – E. Lockhart (feeling empathy for the poor little rich girls)

Rating: 5/5

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