Isla & the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
Published: 14th August 2014
No. of Pages: 339 pages
Series: #3 in Anna & the French Kiss (not really linked)
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Read on for a spoiler-free review of Isla & the Happily Ever After.
My Stephanie Perkins discovery started three years ago, and I've also neglected all other contemporary YA books except hers. I've followed Isla's publication carefully and anxiously, without expectations. And when I read the book, I was reminded of why I loved her books so dearly. How relatable these characters were. How imperfectly perfect their lives were, and how easily I could fall into the world of contemporary fiction.
Also, if anybody was wondering, I read this book off of my Kindle. But I know for a fact that Kinokuniya has it in stores, and you can also opt to purchase it online either on Periplus or on Books & Beyond.
I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. It is definitely my favourite among the three. It doesn't show off Paris' lavishness, or the characters' wealth. The plot is largely character-driven, but I didn't mind it at all. It didn't remind me of her other books because it wasn't as cheesy, but mind you, it still made my heart flutter innumerable times. It was nostalgic to return to SOAP and mingle with the students once more. I really don't want to give anything away, but basically, the plot is great. It disappointed some people, but I wasn't one of them. I love it. Love it love it loveeeeee it.
AND THAT ENDING.
I'm aware that YA Contemporary books are not what literature is based off of, but Stephanie Perkins' writing style doesn't lack depth. It is fluent and lyrical, and it's not too simple nor too complex. She sucks you in so deep you never want to put the book down, and creates just the perfect balance of fiction and reality that you never have to separate yourself from both. Needing a pick-me-up from your eternal reading slump? This book surely did the trick for me.
This is where it gets interesting. I don't know why, but from Isla's lighthearted, witty character, I instantly connected with her. I might not be as much of an introvert as she is, but she felt so real, so raw, so loveable. I've read other reviews outlining her immaturity but I think this is to be expected from an insecure 17 year-old who's... yeah. (Trying my best to make this a spoiler-free review, guys!) Josh is another amazingly flawed character. The mysterious, artsy, bad-boy who makes outstanding grades. He, however, is also insecure. He feels distant from his family members, and he copes with isolating himself with his art. He is beautiful.
Every single character that was placed in this book made a different sense of impact on the reader. I could relate to every single one of them in different ways, and I think that's how characters should be, even side-characters.
The characters make Paris and the story so much more believable. That in the midst of the grandeur, we are simply flawed citizens who look up to these. The city of lights and love is simply as stated - the city. Those who occupy the land are onlookers, and sometimes, in the most visited, adored, admired land on Earth, live the most inconspicuous, lonely people.
But when these lonely people come together to develop bonds and ties, the love of the city seeps into you. And you simply cherish the land even more.
Moral of the story: find love in Paris.
Just kidding. But seriously, though, read this book.
A fan of Stephanie Perkins? Why are you even hesitating! Give this book a shot right now. If you've never read her books and reaaally want to read this, do it! You'll understand the plot completely, and will only be left out on some of the feels. Because characters from her previous books do pop up in this one - which I felt was amazing. The book ended with a pretty bow tie that I never want to ruin, because it was perfection. The characters found themselves, and I feel that's incredibly important in a character-driven book.
This isn't a book about romance and pretty boys. It's a tale about humans, their flaws, insecurities, worries, jealousy. About how our thoughts shape us, how our words ruin us, and how or if we can change any of them.
So with that, I shall leave you all to start this adventure on your own. Go into the book with no expectations, and you'll find yourself in a turmoil of delight.