Friday, 15 August 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After
Stephanie Perkins
Dutton
[August 14, 2014]


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

Obviously I had to read this as soon as I got it. I mean OBVIOUSLY. I've only been waiting on this book for like three years. And man did it not disappoint.

Isla is me. Basically. I spent the whole book trying to separate my feelings from hers to figure out exactly how it was ending and being entirely unable because they were the same. Years ago, I talked about wanting more books that realistically portrayed insecurity and Stephanie Perkins absolutely nails it. It was exactly what I wanted: her insecurity wasn't necessarily spoken about and declared on every other page and it never just magically stopped, but it was an inherent part of Isla, from her own thoughts to her ever-present heels. And I couldn't help but connect to that so much. SO MUCH. And it hurt and helped make the story a little more interesting and a little less predictable and it was so excellent. But she was also so likable and intelligent and fun and creative. I loved every bit of Isla. Every single bit.

I think one of my other favorite things about Isla and the Ever After is that it WASN'T super predictable. I mean, teen romances are pretty much always going to end the same way. But I wasn't as convinced in this one for several reasons. From the summary to certain things that come up in the book, combined with Isla's insecurities clouding things, I really wasn't sure if the happy couple was the happily ever after needed. Isla and Josh were unpredictable and the story was unpredictable and it wasn't obvious.

Then there was Isla and Josh. They were this adorable, too-good-to-be-true couple from every side. But when two people are that adorable HOW CAN IT WORK I DON'T KNOW. Obviously this is not the only reason I had some doubts about them working but ughhhh they were so adorable. JOSH was so adorable. And ISLA was so adorable. I could go on for days about how adorable they were.

The settings were so well built, both in NYC and Paris. I want to find Kismet cafe and go there and understand where they lived. I want to find the Treehouse. And it was so nice revisiting old haunts and old favorites like St. Clair, Anna, Lola, and Cricket. Their appearance is FLAWLESS, guys.

Stephanie Perkins is so amazingly talented and that hasn't changed. If anything, she's just gotten better. She's been an auto-buy author for me for some time now, but there really is no doubt that she can create such immensely complicated characters and relationships. She's astonishing. 

I just...I'll never be able to describe how thoroughly I loved this book. Or any of Stephanie Perkins' books. I want to meet her and hug her and thank her because reading Isla was just so incredibly eye opening and heart-explodey and perfect. It's perfect.

--Julie

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