{Review} ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins

After a long, long, LONG wait...
will be in bookstores everywhere this coming week!

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   IT'S MIDNIGHT, IT'S SWELTERING, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy--that guy right over there--that's him.
   The him.
   His posture is as familiar as a recurring dream. Shoulders rounded down, head cocked to the right, nose an inch from the tip of his pen. Absorbed. My heart swells with a painful sort of euphoria. He's close, only two tables over and facing my direction. The cafe is boiling. The atmosphere is clouded with bittersweet coffee. Three years of desire rip through my body and burst from my lips:
   His head jolts up. For a long time, a very long time, he just stares at me. And then...he blinks. "Isla?"
(Page 9, US e-ARC edition)

**ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER is so highly anticipated that I won't post about the story's plot itself in this review, but let you discover it for yourself. But you can get a sense of the book's scope based on all that I love and do focus on in the following review!***

ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER was everything I wanted it to be. I adored ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.  Adored. You all know that I'm not huge on contemporary fiction unless it really grabs me. Despite the cover, despite the title, Anna grabbed me and burrowed into my heart. I was so excited for author Stephanie Perkins' sophomore release, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, but it didn't manage to recapture that magic for me. I've been both anticipating and staying ISLA. Would it be more like ANNA or like LOLA? I've been afraid to find out.

My worries, of course, were completely unfounded. Perkins reminds me of why I fell in love with her writing in the first place. Within the first chapter, I knew. Isla has many vulnerabilities and a quirky personality that make her immediately endearing, just like Anna does. And both both books take place in Paris, which holds a lot of the charm for me. In ISLA, we explore even more countries, and cities are brought to life in a way that makes me yearn to visit.

The character development is gorgeous. Josh absolutely comes to life and becomes an amazing human being that I wish I knew in real life. I love how animate he is, how focused. We're always learning something new about him alongside Isla. He's always covered in ink or battling tendonitis or working on his amazing graphic memoir. Did I ever think I could love him as much as Étienne? *hides* But I do. And they're best friends, so that makes sense, right?? And Isla! In a way,  Isla reminds me a bit of Cress from Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. Both girls have obsessive crushes on the guy long before he becomes a real flesh and blood human being to them. They both have to adjust the way they think and adapt in order to find *real* love. Poor Isla suffers from so many insecurities due to this, but rather than being annoying, you just want to give her a big hug. Perkins truly excels at human interactions and bringing characters to life. She's also great at updating readers about previous characters without it seeming forced or awkward. (And I know the trilogy is over,  but I would so love a book -- or even a novella! -- about Cricket's twin sister Calliope, if only because I'm obsessed with figure skating novels...It doesn't even have to be a romance!)

Is ISLA perfect? No. I still liked ANNA better. I loved the tight-knit friendship of the first book and all the quirky adventures everyone got into together. Granted, ISLA still has some great adventures, too, and I especially loved the visuals of Barcelona (I really want to go there now because it sounds gorgeous!). I also loved the privileged look at the Manhattan elite, though some of the storyline does bog down at times here. I thought it was great that the main secondary character, Isla's friend Kurt, was autistic, and that Perkins was brave enough to include him as a central, important character. It only makes me admire her more.

After LOLA, I wasn't sure that I would continue to love books by Perkins, because again, contemporary isn't my truest love. Totally a me thing! But ISLA made me realize how much I admire Perkins' writing skills and ability to make me care about her characters (Yes, even Lola! I loved that girl's quirkiness!). I'll definitely continue reading her in the future and am excited to see who she chooses to introduce us to next. (Though not her next one, because, no, horror novels are not and will never be for me!) If character and setting continue to take on such a vivid life of their own through her writing, I will continue reading!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15+ ( sexual situations )
Language: PG13 ( F-bomb dropped a few times, sexual innuendo )
Violence: -- 
Other: ( a little drinking, but 18 is legal in Paris )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover treatment still isn't my favorite, but it is so much better than the initial cover treatment. I wish my previous two hardcovers had the look of the paperback! (But I wouldn't trade them for anything because they're signed! But still! ^.~ 

Using setting as the backdrop ensures that readers realize there's something different about this book. It will stand out and they will pick it up. In the end, that's all anyone can ask for, right??
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton // Penguin
Received: For Review

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


  1. I'm glad to hear you liked it. Contemporary fiction isn't really my thing either but I loved ANNA. LOLA was good but not great so I'm glad to hear that ISLA catches at least some of the old magic. I can't wait to read it!
    Great review!

  2. I just finished Lola a few days ago (I know I'm totally behind) and now I can't wait for Isla, I'm glad to hear it held up to Perkins other novels =D

  3. I ADORED Anna and the French Kiss
    and now, you are killing me
    I NEED to read this book right NOW!
    It sounds so amazing
    great review
    Your reader,


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