Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Isla and the Happily Ever After

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After
by Stephanie Perkins
To be published by Dutton
on August 14, 2014

Source: bought

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My take: First off, while I think these new covers are beautiful, I realized that I also kind of miss the old ones, because I'd get to see what Isla and Josh look like! Then, as I read that very short synopsis above, I realize that Isla and the Happily Ever After is a bit different from the prior two companion books. While Anna and the French Kiss chronicled Anna's amusing fish-out-of-water struggles to adapt to Paris, and Lola and the Boy Next Door featured Lola's spirited squabbles with her dads over her wrong-for-her boyfriend and her slow realization that the right-for-her boy might be closer than she thinks, Isla and the Happily Ever After is really more of a straightforward relationship story. Yes, it was romantic, but in a different way than I expected.

Isla and Josh are classmates at an American school in Paris and Isla has long been crushing on Josh from afar. As the story opens, she runs into him in a New York cafe and, drugged up on painkillers, pretty much throws herself at him. After that, the two head back to school in Paris. Isla becomes her normal, reserved self, and goes back to pining after Josh. (At first I couldn't figure out why he doesn't make a move, but that is explained.)

I must admit that I was a little surprised at first at Isla's ... ordinariness, for lack for a better word.  Isla is not adorably awkward like Anna. She's not bold and eccentric like Lola. Her red hair is probably most vivid and remarkable thing about her. But then I decided that it's nice once in a while to have a romantic heroine who isn't fantastically talented or stunningly charismatic -- just a regular person. And it was nice that Isla didn't have the requisite adorable younger sibling -- her younger sister was hilariously obnoxious.

Speaking of flawed characters, I also liked the fact that the two main characters in this book were likable yet very imperfect. Josh is rebellious and privileged and prickly. Isla is, at times, very insecure and jealous, even a little manipulative. But this made these two and their miscommunications and misunderstandings feel more like a real relationship between two eighteen year-olds.

If you're hoping there are cameos from past characters -- yes, there are cameos!! I liked the fact that they didn't take over the whole book, but still added something very special.  If you've loved the travelogue aspect of past books, you will definitely not be disappointed either -- three very magical cities are featured in a way that will make you want to pack your suitcase and head to the airport.

While Anna and the French Kiss is still favorite of these books, and Cricket will always be my favorite of the guys, I think fans of these stories will find Isla and the Happily Ever After to be a charming end to this threesome of companion books.

45 comments:

  1. that is a quirky title I must say. the story seems interesting

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    1. It was different from what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it!

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  2. Thanks for the review!! I love a good romance that feels real :)

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    1. I like both -- the swoony, unrealistic stories and the more realistic ones :)

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  3. ACK! I can't wait to read all of this. I read a sneak peek I got from NetGally, but that wasn't nearly enough. I loved Anna and can't wait to get to know Isla and Josh. Your review just makes me want it even more. :) And I agree - I, for once, like the people covers better. I usually sway toward the non-people covers, but Anna and Lola were just so darn adorable that it worked for me.

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  4. I haven read any of these and I really should. I adore the new covers www.afternoonbookery.blogspot.com xxx

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  5. I thought that Josh and Isla were the most realistic (& yeah a little annoying) of the three couples. They had that OMGICAN'TLASTTHEWEEKENDWITHOUTYOU thing going on lol While we all wish to be above that it happens and I liked seeing it develop into something more mature over time.

    Great review Jen!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  6. I've skipped a bit on reading the review, cause I cannot wait till my Kindle eBook arrives onto my tablet already!! Tonight!!

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  7. I'd be jealous, but my copy arrives tomorrow, so....yeah. Not too much longer. So glad to hear that Isla doesn't disappoint. I read the excerpt and I was pretty sure I was going to love her. :) And Josh! :D

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    1. Yep. :) Isla did seem very normal compared to the other MCs, but I think I identified with her most. She seemed the most REAL to me. I still have a special place in my heart for Lola, though...she's the girl I WANTED to be.

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  8. I'm probably in the minority that didn't like Lola, but Isla sounds like a more compelling story to me. It seems to be about someone more normal, so I'm curious to see how that goes. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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  9. I hate that the new covers aren't available in hardcover. Don't they know what this does to us booklovers???
    I can't wait for this. I think I'm gonna listen to the audio instead.

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    1. Yeah mine are a total mismatch. I have an Anna ARC then a Lola HC with old cover and now Isla HC new cover ...

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  10. I finished this, this weekend and I absolutely loved it. Beyond amazing. I love how ordinary Isla is and I love how that's the problem of the story and I love Stephanie's answer to that problem. I think this was the perfect ending and I felt like it was the perfect goodbye.

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    1. I'm sad that this is goodbye but loved that cameo ending :)

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  11. I love this series. I'm looking forward to Isla. I like the fact that the characters are not perfect, but just regular people. There are not many books like that. Most of them have characters who are exceptionally beautiful, smart, intelligent and what not. Once in a while it's good to see your average Jane and Joe.

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  12. I have these on my TBR pile, and I cannot wait to read them. Great review.

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  13. Eeeep! I'm so excited for this!! XD I'm not usually a huge fan of contemporary romances, but Stephanie Perkins' characters are amazing and fun and really relatable. I think I like Lola and Cricket the best. I really thought I wouldn't like it, but I absolutely adored it...and I adore the cameos! I don't even know why...they're just SO awesome! ;) I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

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    1. Look forward to hearing what you think... I love how we all have different favorite characters and books...

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  14. I actually didn't like Anna much because it was very frustrating with way too much back and forth and lack of communication which I am afraid may piss me off with this one as well based on some of your observations. Cricket and Lola were my favorite and I'm mostly reading it to see them again! LOL

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    1. Yes, if you are not a fan of the "this could be cleared up with a simple conversation" then you will probably still prefer Lola...

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  15. Ooh I still need to get my butt moving and read Lola! I am very excited to meet her. Isla sounds like a great book as well, and I guess it's nice to have an ordinary character once and again as long as everything else is kept interesting.

    Awesome review, Jen! <33

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    1. I will be curious to see what you think of Lola. (I liked her!)

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  16. I'm so happy to hear this. I loved both Anna and Lola's story and this is actually one of the rare contemporary series I still enjoy. I cannot wait to read Isla's story and do I have to mention Josh! He sounds really good. Needless to say we need to make some agreements about Cricket. I'm not letting him go ;) Great review, Jen :)

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  17. I'm dying to read this book. So jealous you read it already. Need to buy it soon too. Great review, Jen!

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  18. Great review Jen! I need got a chance to pick up the first one, but who knows I might pick it up soon! And I really liked how you mentioned Isla was a normal character since we rarely see that.

    Happy Reading!
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  19. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I cannot wait to read it, (though I still have to wait almost a month for my copy to arrive).
    Great review! It makes me want to read the book even more!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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  20. The likeable characters that are easy to relate to because of their flaws and can see a big growth in sounds great.

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  21. Great review! I loved the first two books and I wanted to read Josh s story since I met him in Anna and the French Kiss. I am glad you liked it. I am also glad that this book will be an opportunity to read about someone who is not perfect, it makes the story more real and believeable. I cant wait to read it :)

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  22. I really need to read Stephanie Perkins books! I keep hearing about how good they are!

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  23. I like your point about the covers! So true. These covers are really beautiful (and the old ones really are not) but you are so right about having a visual for the previous two couples! I hadn't even thought of that.

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  24. I loved this one - it turned out to be my favorite of the three! I agree, it was lovely to have a heroine who wasn't overwhelmingly quirky or special, with real insecurities and uncertainty about life. Loved the cameos too!

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  25. Such a beautiful review, Jen! I'm so glad to see that Isla proves to be a very good fluffy read. I'm like you - I actually want to read more ordinary people than fantastically special heroines :P I mean they're cool but I think it's time for me to actually relate to them now (as much as I want to think I'm as talented or eccentric or adorable, I really am not haha).

    Faye at The Social Potato

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  26. Yes, I absolutely loved the straightforward relationship Isla and Josh had with this book and their flawed personalities. I'm a little underwhelmed with Lola so I'm very glad that the spark I had with Steph's books is back. Like you, Anna is still my favorite, but I enjoyed and adored this book as well. Fab review!

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  27. I completely agree with you! While I really loved Isla and Josh, Isla didn't have the memorable character quirks Anna and Lola did. And Cricket Bell remains my number one!! :) Love your review!

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  28. I'm excited to read this book! I love this series.

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  29. I'm really looking forward to this one!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

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