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Monday, September 22, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
ISBN: 9780525425632
Publisher: Dutton Books
Released: August 14, 2014
Page #: 339
Source: My public library

"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 began 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, Etienne, 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."
First Lines:

"It's midnight, it's sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy - that guy right over there - that's him.
The him.
His posture is as familiar as a recurring dream."
Page 1

Stephanie Perkins is like a dream author for me. Every book I've read I have thought, "This is my favorite! How is she so good?! When does her next book come out? Why isn't everyone reading this already?" Hopefully they ARE!

Isla and Josh go to school in Paris, but they're both from New York. She's been watching him for years, hoping for him to notice her. Or, at least, more than just some girl in his classes. And when she gets her opening - and she isn't totally herself - she makes a move. It's a clumsy move, but it gets them talking and sets the future on course.

Man. I'm going to try not to gush here. Every step of the way, I was in love with this book. AM in love with this book. It's such a magical, romantic story about two people dealing with the ins and outs of true love. And it's not always pretty. You almost immediately fall in love with both of these characters and I cannot imagine something bad happening to either of them. Of course things fall apart in the middle, but in a way that makes sense.

Perkins is a master at the realistic romance story. And I absolutely adored the way she wove in characters from her previous novels. You don't need to know anything about them, and it's just a nod to the people who have read her other books. It's just so well done! (this is me. not gushing.)

One of the big things that Isla and Josh have to deal with is the college selection process. One of them knows exactly what they want and what it will take to get there. The other has no earthly idea and is contemplating just following the other person on their journey. I think that's an issue that many teens face - especially for those undecided people. It's nice to watch them work through those issues and figure out what it means for the two of them as a couple in the future. Lots of insecurities arise that I distinctly remember feeling as a teen.

There's something so magical about books that are set abroad - especially Paris. They're in this really cool situation there without parents and I think that's what fuels a lot of the story. They are on their own. They have to almost fend for themselves. It's very boarding-school-like, without seeming like an actual boarding school situation. The best of all worlds! And honestly, the immediate set-up had me hooked. The fact that she had just gotten her wisdom teeth out and was on medicine and wandering the streets... it's just so funny and I love the whole damsel in distress - but not really -thing.

Another thing I really enjoyed was Josh's graphic novel that he was working on. I am a person who reads a lot of graphic novels and I thought it was really cool to include that he is an artist who aspires to publish his work. I do think that's an area with growing interest right now - not just reading graphic novels and comics, but to create them. And how you do that effectively. Oh! And the fact that Isla is into comics, too! That was perfect. Thank you for making a girl character who likes things that are sometimes seen as "boy stuff!"

The romantic situations definitely push this book up to older teens, but I think it's fabulous and everyone should read it. Especially adults. I mean, it's just a solid romance that covers so much ground and is extremely well-written. I've said this before, but I'll officially read anything Stephanie Perkins writes. I've drunk the kool-aid. Give. Me. MORE! :)
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Dear Author
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