Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


I waited almost three years for this book. Three years. There aren't many books I've had to wait that long for. But after finally finishing it, it was totally worth the wait.

Isla has been crushing on Josh since her first year at the School of America in Paris. That's four years of doodling his tattoo in her notebook and wishing from afar that he would touch her the way her way he caressed his girlfriend.

Now, it's their senior year and they are both single. They run into each other at a cafe over the summer and it slowly starts a romance that Isla had always dreamed of. But dreams don't always work out like they should. What starts out as a whirlwind romance hits more than one speed bump. Can their love last all the trouble of family and ex-girlfriends and jealousy and self-doubt? Will they get their happily ever after?

I loved this book. I really did. It was fun and hilarious and so sweet. I loved Isla and Josh's relationship; they were two people that loved each other fiercely and wholly. But a relationship can't be perfect. Every relationship has faults. It hit snags; and it's how you react when this happens that defines your relationship. So yeah. They didn't always act they way they should have. But it was good nonetheless and they learned from their mistakes.

The only thing I didn't like as much was the story arc. When I read YA Romances, I like the plot to go thusly: a slow build of the relationship until, at the end, they finally get together. You know, like both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. I like that better. The story arc that Isla and the Happily Ever After followed is one I like less: the couple gets together early on in the book, they have a nice relationship for a while, but then they get in a fight and break up--but at the very end they get back together. I've just never been a fan of the break-up part, especially when we know that they are meant to be together.

I really did love Isla. Unlike Josh, she was barely in Anna and the French Kiss, so we got to know her in this book and get into her head. And she was so believable. Her insecurities, the ones that caused her and Josh to break up, though annoying, are immensely sincere. They are truth. It's not uncommon to feel unworthy. And even though I hate when a persons dumps their partner to protect them, doesn't mean it isn't unnatural. Isla was so caring and took care of everyone else, she just didn't treat herself like she deserved.

The worst part of this book was that I couldn't help but compared it to the others. It's unfair. But I'm only human. And this book fell a little short in comparison.

But in the end, it was a satisfying conclusion to a beloved series.

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