Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Published by Penguin Teen on August 14, 2014
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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 Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
Does it really come as a surprise to anyone that I absolutely adored the final book in the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy? No? Didn’t think so. Isla and the Happily Ever After may just be the best book of the trilogy, in my opinion.
Isla and the Happily Ever After brings the trilogy full circle. The story is once again mainly set at the School of America in Paris and the Paris scenery is just as wonderful as it was in Anna and the French Kiss. However, the book isn’t fully set in Paris. There is a little side trip to Barcelona as well as some time spent in New York City. Stephanie Perkins’ books may just be contemporary romances but the setting always makes things interesting. While I loved the Paris setting, I think Barcelona was my favorite part of Isla and the Happily Ever After. Just like Anna and Etienne have Point Zero in Paris, Isla and Josh have La Sagrada Familia and so many other places throughout Barcelona. They also have a few places throughout New York City and while a good portion of the book was set there, I felt more like their relationship was centered around Paris and Barcelona.
Part of the reason I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After so much was Isla. Josh too but Isla was really a mystery before this book and she quickly showed to be a complex character with a story that I really connected with. Isla never felt like she was good enough for anyone. It was pretty clear that she didn’t think much of herself and so why would anyone else? Her self esteem was beyond low but she was never a depressing character. She had her best friend, Kurt, who suffered from Autism. Kurt was a fantastic character. His personality was perfect for Isla. They grew up together and so they knew each other as if they were siblings, which they pretty much were. I also loved how much Kurt meant to Isla. She was willing to give up other friendships if the other person couldn’t accept Kurt. They showed true loyalty to each other.
As for Josh, he was a much more complex character than I ever could have imagined. Readers only get a glimpse of Josh in Anna and the French Kiss but you get his full story in Isla and the Happily Ever After. He seems totally carefree at first but it quickly becomes clear that that is just a facade. Josh is a deep character that balanced Isla perfectly. Josh and Isla were pretty much opposites but they worked together. Josh brought out a fun side of Isla and challenged her to try new things. Isla brought out a more serious side to Josh and forced him to really look at why he did some of the things he did. Their romance was a bit of a whirlwind but it was so much fun. I wanted to see them both happy and it was clear that they brought out the best in each other.
The cameos from Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket were minor but perfect. I expected a bit more of them than I actually got but I was actually okay with that. Their parts in the story were absolutely wonderful. Isla and the Happily Ever After tied things up for all three of the couples and I couldn’t have asked for more from Stephanie Perkins. The brief glimpses of Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket definitely left me with a smile on my face.
Overall, Isla and the Happily Ever After could not have been better. It’s the perfect ending to this trilogy and it left me eager to read whatever Stephanie Perkins writes next. If you haven’t already started this series, you should really get on that.
What others are saying about Isla and the Happily Ever After:
Reading Teen’s review: “Isla and the Happily Ever After is a charmingly sweet addition to the trilogy.”
Lite-Rate-Ture’s review: “Stephanie Perkins knows how to end her story so well, I just felt my tiny heart clench inwards.”
Jenuine Cupcakes’ review: “Isla And The Happily Ever After is intense, heart-wrenching romantic perfection!”