Isla and the Happily Ever After
by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Affiliated with Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door
Published: August 14th 2014
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Date read: August 27th 2014
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”
After anticipating this book ever since I finished Lola and the Boy Next Door, I was absolutely thrilled when it finally came out. Sadly, I was in the middle of City of Heavenly Fire when it came out, so I had to finish that first, before I could pick up Isla and the Happily Ever After. The week after the book came out, my senior year in high school started again, so I had less time for books. But I finished CoHF. So finally, after much anticipation, I opened the glorious book, that was going to be the last installment in the Anna and the French Kiss serie. It’s the end. The Final.
Isla is spending her summer in Manhattan before going back to Paris for her senior year at SOAP; School of America in Paris. But before summer ends, she meets Josh, the crush she has had since freshman year. They strike a conversation but never see eachother again until school starts. Then amazingly enough, they end up together. But that doesn’t mean that she has gotten her happily ever after just yet.
Isla Martin: At first, I felt Isla came off as a little too childish. Then I remembered that she was the same age as Josh. And that Josh, as a matter of fact, was a year younger than St.Clair and the gang. But througout the story, Isla seemed to mature more and more. During the first course of the story, I felt her crush on Josh was a bit extreme. She was at the verge of obsession, and well. Extreme, as I said. But then, crushes are like that. They are silly, and tiresome, and sometimes, just sometimes, a bit obsessive and stalker-ish. (Come on, she knew every little detail about him…) But I grew to love her character. She was more relatable, when you put the obsessive love aside. Her inner struggles are struggles I’ve felt before, and I could take with me the realizations she got; how she grew and how she developed into a young lady with a more independent mind. At least I think so. Heheh..
Josh Wasserstein: Josh’s support role in AatFK made it hard to imagine this guy to the best. I felt I didn’t have enough details about him to actually know him. After all, the book was about St. Clair and Anna. But in this beloved book, his character got a lot more attention, and I felt like I got to know him all the way I couldn’t before. I got to know his different sides, and how much depths there really was to young mr. Wasserstein. Being the son of New York’s senator cannot be easy. But he managed. And he finally stood up for himself. Gosh this dude. He’s the perfect boyfriend for a certain girl I know.
The story opens up in Manhattan, where Josh and Isla is spending their summer vacation before going back to Paris for their senior year at SOAP – School of America in Paris. Isla had just had her wisdom teeth pulled out, so she’s high on painkillers and tumbls into this café names Kismet, which is Turkish for “fate”, at midnight. In there, as if by fate (I had to), she meets Josh, her three-years-long-crush. And he’s alone too. Dun-dun-dun. This ought to be interesting, I thought. And damn was I right.
She gets his attention and goes over to sit with him while he doodles his surroundings. She then tells him he can draw her, just as her food arrives. She eats it and passes out. Literally. Her painkillers knocks her out and she falls asleep right there on the table. After some time she wakes up and he insists on following her home, because she clearly is not capable of doing so in her current condition. Meanwhile, it’s pouring down outside so they both have to run most of the way. But he follows her all the way and wishes her goodnight.
The day after, she tells her best friend, Kurt, that she can’t remember much and insists on him going with her back to the cafe later in the evening to see if he’ll be there. He’s not. Turns out (which we get to know later on) he was there. But he saw her with Kurt and misunderstood them for a couple and walked away, cursing himself. When I read this, I felt slightly heartbroken, imagining how this must’ve looked though his eyes. But things worked out after they’re back in Paris. After some tensions the first two weeks or so, they finally solve everything, and get together. (Eeeep!)
That’s one of the things I like most about this book; Josh and Isla get together early in the story, so there’s more couple-scenes for them. While St. Clair and Anna, and Cricket and Lola, didn’t get together before the end of the story, so there’s not a lot of story for them. Which is sad, because they’re all perfect. And I want to know more!
So after getting together, they escape to Barcelona one weekend, and. get. caught. Of course. But while there, they experience so much together and it’s such a beautiful part. I love the whole travelling together concept and experiencing the world together. I just sat at home and read this whole part while sobbing over how I’m stuck where I am. Single and stuck. (ugh)
Their bliss is put to an end when they get caught and Josh is expelled. Which means he has to move back to New York. So when this happens, Isla is a mess. Which kind of annoyed me. I get the whole part that her boyfriend is in another continent. And that his phone and everything is taken away, but still. I don’t know, it just bugged me a bit. At the same time, I do get where she might have got it from. She did have all of her doubts and self-loathing from time to time which made it hard for her to trust their relationship.
The saddest part must be during Christmas break, when they had the fight which ended their relationship. Or more excact, where she dumped him. The whole thing about Rashmi bugged her so much to the verge of destruction and she took everything out on Josh. I felt so bad for him, but I also can’t blame Isla. She was so tormented by the whole life Josh had before her, and the way he acted towards everything made it hard for her. So I guess that’s what happens when you put a lid on a boiling pot; it will boil over.
Thankfully they meet again when it’s the Winter Olympic and everybody, and I mean everybody; Anna, St. Clair, Lola, Cricket, and even Meredith, travels to Paris to cheer on Calliope. Josh is there as well and when he asks Isla to meet them at the pizza place, I just got my hopes up again. I absolutely love how everybody was there and they just all got to know each other. They just clicked so well. *wipe a tear from my eyes* ahh.. Friendships.
But the best part must be when St. Clair stands up and tells everybody that he’s got something special for dessert for his special lady friend, (OMG, THE FEELS) and drags Anna out. And when they left, and Josh and Cricket get this silent communication going on and then everybody is walking out towards the Notre Dame. I was in the dark for a moment before I understood (as slow as Isla); standing on point zéro are Anna and St. Clair. AND HE FREAKING PULLS OUT A BOX. GOES DOWN ON HIS KNEES AND PROPOSES. HE FREAKING PROPOSES. I almost fell off my chair at this moment. The joy, the glee, the happiness. I was so happy it was incredible. I can’t believe that they are actually engaged now, and I’m so happy for them, The thing about these books is that you feel like you actually know them. My cousin and I actually talk about these characters as if they’re real and the event actually has occured. It’s just amaizing.
Chapter 33. You know what I’m talking about 😉 Holy mother shit. St. Clair. Anna. OMG. THEY ARE ENGAGED. I snapped. I have never been so happy for two characters before. They are perfection, and I love the fact that Stephanie Perkins gave them an engagement. I know this book is about Isla and Josh. But come on. This has to be the best part for everyone.
All in all:
Recommendation: An absolute recommendation. This book is pure Stephanie Perkins gold. I loved it almost as much as its ancestors.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Originally, I wanted to give it 4.5 stars. BUT. The proposal. THE PROPOSAL. I just had to give it 5 out of 5).
UP NEXT: Not really sure what’s coming up next. I’m working on the ultimate review of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. But that might take some time. I’m not feeling very motivated, sadly.