Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Set against the stunning backdrops of New York, Paris and Barcelona, this is a gorgeous, heart-wrenching and irresistible story of true love, and the perfect conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
First published: 2014
I’d been looking forward to reading Isla and the Happily Ever After for a really long time after absolutely loving both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, the other two books in this series. It seemed like the perfect summery read so I’d been saving it until after I finished my dissertation and I finally got around to it a few weeks ago. It was glorious.
Ever since first finishing Anna I’ve been slightly confused as to why I love these books so much. Generally speaking, I’m kind of over high school romance novels, but these books… I’ve given all of them 5 stars, and I don’t doubt that I will reread them in the future. Like the other two, I had trouble putting Isla down – I just wanted to keep on reading for ever and ever.
I think Isla is my favourite protagonist out of the three, since I related to her the most. She has a pretty big inferiority complex and has trouble seeing what other people could find interesting in her. She’s pretty shy but not around the people that she loves, and I liked seeing her interactions with her best friend Kurt, who have an interesting relationship. I liked Kurt, but I would have also liked to learn a bit more about him.
One of the things I liked best about Isla is the fact that she’s not as “inexperienced” as people think her to be. She has had a serious boyfriend before, and she has also had sex before, but it is not made to be a big thing – which I loved. So much so that I’m going to write a separate blogpost about it some time soon (probably on Sunday).
Josh was a cool character as well, and I thinked I would’ve liked him eve more in this book if I’d remembered him from Anna, in which he is one of the side characters. Oops. Isla and Josh were really sweet together, and I liked them as a couple although the intensity of their relationship was a bit too much at times. I guess that’s part of this series, though, especially considering what happens with Anna and St Clair in this novel (I mean, wow).
Speaking of Anna and St Clair, it was so much fun to get a glimpse at the lives of the other two couples – Lola and Cricket being as adorable as ever, of course. That’s one of the things I love the most about this series, I think: the way the other stories feature in the new ones.
In short, I loved this last book to the series, and it might even be my favourite because of the protagonist as well as the return to Paris (and they visit Barcelona!). I’d definitely recommend reading these books if you’re looking for a light feel-good read.