October 3, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Honestly, it pains me to write this review. I've read and loved Anna and Lola, and I've been eagerly awaiting and expecting Isla. The many five stars reviews that flooded the net before and after the publication stoked my excitement even more. I couldn't wait! I opened the book the very same day I got it, and at first, it seemed perfect. But then, something shifted. The veil has lifted, if I was to be dramatic about it, and I realized... well, I realized this book was nothing special.

At first, I was thrilled (and, honestly, surprised) we didn't have to wait the whole book for them to get together. They were so sweet and adorkable, and it made me happy. But I guess here is the problem with this book; because it didn't have 300 pages of not being together to occupy the plot, there had to be some other problems ahead of them--and those "problems" were really annoying, and made me hate Isla, the main character.

From the moment their "problems" started popping up (mainly Isla being impossible and stupid and mad at the silliest things that Josh couldn't help any more than she can! He has a past! So do you! Get over it and stop being a bitch!) it was SO hard for me to read this book. And those are words I never thought I'd use for a Stephanie Perkins novel. I had to convince myself to continue, and mostly I found other things to occupy my time (like, the internet). It took me five days to finish the book, and for me that's a lot. Especially for a book I was so excited for, whose seniors I've finished in a day each.

At the end, this book never managed to get me to fall in love together with Josh and Isla. Frankly, it couldn't even convince me of that love. That's right - I didn't believe the love in a Stephanie Perkins book. I know, this is probably blasphemy. But it's the unfortunate truth. At a certain point I was just like "why are they so in love? Like, seriously. What's holding them together?"

Also, book-wise, it felt to me like this book tried too hard to be... sexy? And I know, the word "adorkable" and "sexy" sound weird in the same context, but there you have it anyway. The "heat" in this book is umped up, and I can't say I loved it because it didn't feel natural to me.
Plus, I really disliked Isla telling Josh's story through his memoir. I don't know, it kind of bored me, even though it shouldn't have.

BUT, all that being said, I did enjoy the beginning and end of the book (from the moment Isla got over herself). And I do think this is a fun contemporary. It just didn't live up to the standard I've come to expect from Stephanie. And, I'm a minority, so don't let my rant-ish review to deter you from reading this book, okay? ;-)

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  1. I loved that we didn't have to wait the whole book for them to get together, that was a nice surprise!

    "Isla being impossible and stupid and mad at the silliest things " - Yeah, I found that a bit frustrating, but felt like it was realistic considering their youth.

    Nice honest review :)

  2. I really liked that we didn't - but I hated the "problems" that rose because of it.
    I'm not saying it's not 'realistic', but I think that the choice of problem is ridiculous. She was mad that he had a past she wasn't a part of. How can anyone help that, really? She's had a past he wasn't part of, too, and you don't see Josh blowing the gasket over its existence. I could understand her pain about the memoir - that would be difficult for every girlfriend to read, but not about the other stuff.

    Thank you! Glad you liked it even if our opinions are slightly different ;)
    Thanks for taking the time to comment, it means a lot to me!

  3. I am surprised that you didn't like this book,Nitzan.I saw a lot of 5 star reviews for Isla.

    I didn't like Anna much,which made me feel like the odd man out,so I didn't try out the other books of this series.
    Nice review,by the way.

  4. I hate the covers of this series.You know how much I love this series,so it pains me to see how poor the covers are.The spanish cover is beautiful,though.But it doesn't look unique.The covers make the series look like a stereotypical vampire story.
    And God,the turkish cover is going to haunt me in my nightmares.The model looks likes someone from a zombie movie.

  5. Yeah I know... I expected to love it too. I'm kind of heartbroken that I didn't, but that's just the way it is.
    How much didn't you like Anna? Was it like a one star, or a three star ish? Because if the latter, I think you should give another Stephanie Perkins novel a chance at one point in your life. Not saying it because I love her, but rather because my experience shows sometimes it's the characters in the book, not the writing/writer that makes you hate it, and so I always kind of double check if I didn't REALLY hate the book. If I really hated the book than I'll have a really hard time convincing myself to open another by the author xD

  6. I know, it doesn't make any sense! It's such a well loved series, it should have pretty covers!
    Yes, the Turkish version is frightening. I do not get WHY that was necessary.