Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

In the third novel of the sries, we return to enchanting Paris. Isla, who we were introduced to in the fist novel now takes centre stage. Familiar characters like John and Rashmi’s younger sister Sanjita join her. We didn’t know much about the artistic Josh beyond his love of snogging and frequent altercations with his girlfriend Rashmi. I am pleased to be able to watch his character develop.

The banter, or lack thereof, between Isla and Josh just makes you smile. They’re both endearingly awkward and adorable together. When they go to the comic book store and Josh finds out Kurt isn’t her boyfriend, the interaction is very authentic. You can almost feel his dismay turn to confusion and then happy relief.

Despite the fact that Isla has had a crush on Josh for three years, its nice to see that it doesn’t come between her and her best friend, Kurt. (Well, most of the time.) Loyalty is very impotant and she won’t let anyone treat him badly. Her only other relationship ended because the boy she was dating couldn’t get along with Kurt. She’s not the best at confronting people and speaking up, but she never lets people take advantage of her best friend or mistreat him. That person will no longer be a part of her life.

Unlike Anna, when I read about Isla and Josh they feel like the shy, exhuberant high schoolers that they are. They experience the awkwardness of first live and the misunderstandings or insecurities that come with not being entirely confortable in a relationship yet. Falling so hard and so fast, but faced with the crippling fear that the rug is going to be pulle out from under you. Isla and Josh experience it all.

Just as I hoped, the Olympics brought the gang back to Paris – plus their new additions. The inseperable Anna and St. Clair, Meredith, lovebirds Lola and Cricket, and Josh. They claim they’re back for the Olympics, but something even more important and magical happens. A proposal, in Paris, on the famed bronze marker. It was a return to the city where Anna and Etienne found their other halves and officially began their happily every after. It was a simple, yet touching scene.

I’m glad we find out how Calliope does in the Olympics, although there is very little detail given. I think her story would lend itself well to a novella. But, I’ll be happy with what we were given even if that does not happen.

Despite all of the struggles and heartbreak, insecurities and mistakes – Isla and Josh still find their own happily ever after. The story and sweet and heart-warming. J’adore mon petit chou… mon livre – I fell in love with the series “the good parts and the ugly parts” and I hope you do as well.

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