Friday, August 15, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): A return to Paris to find the courage to accept love.

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Info: Dutton, copyright 2014, 339 pages

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.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Isla has been in love with Josh for three years (or two books :), but her shy, meek personality always makes interactions with the mysterious artist a bit painful.  Until she's doped up with painkillers after having her wisdom teeth removed.  Then she's bold, outspoken, and extremely embarrassed in the morning.  But it worked.  She's on Josh's radar, and when school starts back up at their boarding school in Paris, there's no more admiring from afar.  He's looking directly at her, and life for Isla is about to change forever.

Have you found that author yet?  You know, that author that seems to write just for you?  Stephanie Perkins is my author.  I knew it after Anna and the French Kiss, was sure after Lola and the Boy Next Door, and now, with Isla and the Happily Ever After, I can proclaim it to the interwebs.  Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that she was once a librarian.  That's so cool.  But it's definitely in the way that she build character, appreciates dialogue, and has a heart for, well, heart, love, friendship, and hope.  All of the stories at face value are pretty basic.  Girl meets boy.  Girl falls for boy.  Miscommunication.  Heartbreak. Realization.  Love.  But her girls and boys are real.  They're flawed and emotional.  They're quick witted and stubborn.  And they're hopeful.  The happily ever afters are won only after the most important battle, the discovery of self and the courage to open up to possibilities.

I love companion novels as opposed to series.  They weave in connecting storylines but have the ability to stand on their own.  I was waiting the whole book (which I read in one sitting because I just had to) for the moment when I would see my old friends again from books past.  They came suddenly, and while it felt a little forced, I'm totally okay with that.  Because they were there.  As friends always are.

My one pet peeve is the cover.  I will be buying this one to complete the trio, but this new cover looks NOTHING like the first two.  You won't even know it belongs, and that makes me so sad.  Why publishers?!  Why do you spit on continuity?!  I understand a new cover for a paperback, but for the hardback?!  Evil, I tell you.  The publishers are evil.l

Isla and the Happily Ever After was a long time coming.  But it was worth the wait, and I can't wait to see what else Stephanie Perkins can deliver.


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