Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Summary: “Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Isla and the Happily Ever After is cute, insightful at times, I’ll give it that, but it falls short of anything better. In fact, it defined the word “immature” for me. Isla (pronounced eye-la, which is a lot prettier than I initially thought) starts off as a sixteen (possibly older, I can’t bring myself to find out because I’m lazy and frankly, do not care) year-old girl head over heels in love with a boy who doesn’t even see her as a friend. I’m sitting over here flashing back to when I was head over heels in love with a boy who still doesn’t care, despite being “friends” for some time. So why might I be hesitant to believe that he rather quickly falls in love with her back? Hmm, let’s think, because it’s SO SO SO UNLIKELY.
They then proceed to have a relationship that progresses rather quickly and has it’s climactic “oh my god, it’s the end of the world” moment in the middle of the novel, rather than the end. It felt rushed and overdramatic. I was cringing the entire time and wasn’t overly sympathetic when the world was “ending” because, in all honesty, they deserved what happened to them. And it wasn’t the end of the world. Sure, it did suck, but they’d both survive.
Then of course, I suffered through a good hundred or so pages of Isla pining after her boyfriend whom she couldn’t see. Fun. Exciting. Riveting, in fact. Wrong. I do not need to read a million pages of a girl lovesick and devastated over a relationship that she’d had for possibly three months. Through this time, she managed to ignore her best friend and the only character (aside from the cameos of Anna and Etienne) who was of any value in this novel. Kurt was precious, adorable, and did not deserve any of what he was given. And there were hardly any apologies from Isla for her treatment of him. I would have walked away if I were him, but I guess that’s what love does, even platonic.
Not to mention, Isla was insanely jealous of Josh’s ex-girlfriend. Get. Over. It. He’s not in love with her anymore. And for the record, I’m going to cringe and internally vomit whenever a rabbit is mentioned. Was that even necessary?
Anyway, this book did have enough benefits to knock it up to three stars. I considered it fairly cute, and liked Josh’s character for the most part. The message it sent was fairly decent, about having a plan for the future and friendship. What I do love about Stephanie Perkin’s books is that the morals of her books are usually rather strong and messages you don’t see too often. While the one in Lola and the Boy Next-Door failed miserably, the one in Anna and the French Kiss and in Isla and the Happily Ever After succeeded well.
Not to mention, I think the mere existence of Kurt deserves a star. He’s so precious. Plus, he has autism, and the one good thing about Isla is that if someone dislikes Kurt or treats him poorly she does something about it!