Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Dutton on August 14th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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.
Have you ever had a book give you butterflies? I have, and that book was Isla and the Happily Ever After. By far my favorite of Stephanie Perkins’ books, Isla is dripping with chemistry, happiness, and love. I can’t even describe just how happy this book made me. It is fluffy romantic perfection.
Right from the start, I knew this book and I were golden. I had recently reread Anna and the French Kiss, so I remembered seeing Isla fawn over Josh from afar, and in essence I already shipped it. Isla’s voice is so freaking wonderful. She’s a bit nervous, a bit insecure, and that was all so relatable. Though some might say that her feelings for Josh were all instalovey, I didn’t really see it that way. I was transported back in time to high school, when a young, naive Debby had her bouts of intense unrequited love. Her crush was deep, but knowing Josh from Anna and the French Kiss, I totally understood that. She may have idealized him a bit, but who among us didn’t have a crush like hers in high school? And she’s not just all about the romance. She has real struggles with deciding what to do with her future and finding out where to place her romance on the priorities list. I loved that. It was so realistic.
I was flailing with shippage within the first chapter. Honestly, Josh is such a dreamboat. I love the repressed artist kind of thing, but more than anything I loved the balance that he and Isla created together. And he was blind to her at first, but then was swept away as any romantic artist would be with his muse. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, aww-ing, with butterflies in my stomach, for most of this book. And it just made me so happy. The first half is so lovely and wonderful and romantic, but warning bells were going off in my head. As much as I wanted them to keep kissing for the rest of the book, I knew something bad was going to happen.
This is where Stephanie Perkins excels: she writes realistic fiction, not escapism. The struggles Josh and Isla go through are so real. Yes, it was painful. Yes, I threw down my book and yelled at the ceiling, “WHYYYYY?!!?!” But it was all good in the end. The physical chemistry was definitely there between Josh and Isla – and it was so powerful, omg, please never stop kissing – but the distance ultimately benefited them to become a real couple. There were obvious topics that they needed to talk about – other ways in which they still had to get to know each other – and they needed to find themselves still, especially with college looming. I haven’t even mentioned how dear to my heart Isla’s narrative about being a child of two cultures is – it’s basically my life story with all its complexities, doubts, benefits, and feelings of never fitting in. So while this book delivered MUCH PAIN VERY INTENSE PAIN, I was glad they went through it, because it made them both stronger in the end.
The ending was absolutely immaculate. Honestly, I could gush about its perfection all day erry day. Not only do we get to reunite with St. Clair, Anna, Lola, Cricket, and Meredith… which has some very exciting !! moments… but then it’s all about Josh and Isla again. They are absolutely perfect together. Like Sanjita tells Isla, she supports him in his art and never wants to change him – which makes her the best companion for him. And Hattie, Isla’s sister, is so cute, and how she helps Isla absolutely caused my feels to explode. Seriously, Stephanie Perkins makes the best secondary characters. They all, in the end, help in small ways to bring Isla and Josh together and it is absolute perfection and I LOVE THIS BOOK AND I CAN’T HELP IT – I CANNOT – I HAVE TOO MANY FEELS – OKAY – GOODBYE.