Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication date: August 14th 2014
Source: Review copy received from publisher (Thank you sooo much, National Book Store and Penguin!!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
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 Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)
Books like these make my life a lot more optimistic. From the first page to the last, this book radiated romance and kilig-ness (is there an English translation for that?) I love how it started with a silly Isla and not a perfect goddess of sexiness. It adds a touch of reality to the story. I also love how their problem seems to be a real possible problem, one that is not too overused either. I mean, I know how parents can be so unaccepting of young love and how someone always cheats on the other but Isla and Josh's problem seemed so crazy and wild that I just immediately knew it could happen somewhere, sometime. In all it's glory, Isla and the Happily Ever After is definitely something I would read and re-read and let others read. (Yup, that great).
I feel that Ms. Perkins' writing style really grew all the while staying true to the sweet, romantic prose she is known for. Isla's story-line is more "filled" and well constructed compared to Anna and the French Kiss. Though Anna was as great, I just feel Isla had a bigger impression and impact on me in comparison to her two previous works.
Isla made it into my "Fictional BFFs list" because 1) Her personality is like a thousand watt light bulb (super bright once you turn it on) 2) She is sensitive and in an okay way. She takes notes on the people around her and how they react to what she says. Some people may find that weird, but I think it is a great quality. 3) She is smart and sensible but reckless and spontaneous at the same time. 4) Josh is her man-candy. Which makes me friends with him too. Perks!! Josh also makes it into my "Swoon" list because he is as cute as he is complex. I really dislike it when characters are too predictable for their own good. One can only read too much YA books and not know that that seemingly perfect goody-two shoes will be the one who will cause the relationship to fail or that mysterious, brooding punk is the perfect boyfriend. These days, few twists and problems actually push me to think if they can happen and "reckless" behavior sometimes is not so reckless for me anymore but Isla and Josh proved themselves different from the lot. Their relationship is not as whirlwind as the rest and that is what I liked about it because it gave me the impression that even long after I read the last page, their love will still go strong.
Supplementary characters like the lovebirds Anna and Etienne and head over heels Lola and Cricket really adds a touch of humor/friendship to the story. I do not know why, but I have always loved books that incorporate characters from previous books into the new one. It makes me feel smart for some odd reason.
Isla and the Happily Ever After (whew, what a mouthful!) really shed a new, interesting light on how teenage love affairs can be and how sometimes even the best of people make the worst of mistakes.