September 7, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins

Young Adult
Pages: 352
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Goodreads / Amazon
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.

HOLY SHIZBALLS. How on earth did I live in a world without this book for so long!??

Talk about worth the wait.

I'm somewhat torn because I didn't honestly think that Anna could be topped. I knew I HAD TO read this one, and I was fully excited to be back in Perkins' world, but I sort of assumed it would just please me enough, make me smile, like Lola did. Oh, Isla, Forgive me. I was so wrong.

How did I ever swoon over St. Clair for so long when Josh was standing right next to him?

THIS is how YA romance should be written. This is it. It's reached a pinnacle that I though had been reached before by Anna. And I SO hope Perkins writes this kind of book all her life and proves me wrong again and again and again.

I have to admit that having this be back at SOAP was a relief. I was a bit worried we would not actually come back to this scenery, but the boarding school/Paris background was flawless. The scenes between Josh and Isla, every exchange was so freaking perfect, ridiculously and painfully perfect. Isla and Josh's growth throughout the story is palpable, as it should be. Isla as a character was the picture of an adolescent in her transition to adulthood tumult. She's insecure, somewhat selfish and yet selfless at the same time, and a hopeless dreamer that resembles so many of us during our teenage experience.

This book captures the essence of first love without it being the first, the essence of friendship without constant nearness and the essence of the confusion of the self as an individual when one is involved in a relationship. Unlike Anna & the French Kiss which is a book perfect in its perfection, this one is a book perfect in its imperfections and that makes it much more valuable. And obviously the fact that the sexiness level of this story is much more heightened than any of Perkins' previous books has a LOT to do with my most important statement--it's my favorite book of all three.

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