Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Published: August 14, 2014
Source/ Edition: Present from Veronica, Hardcover
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.
I enjoyed Isla so much! It’s my favorite out of the three books from Stephanie Perkins. I can’t pick between Isla or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! They’re both so relatable to me. I think that’s why I loved them so much. I could identify with the characters. I don’t think I have a review when I first read Isla so this will be a fusion of my first review and my reread. This book made me laugh, smile, and cry. I thought that the story was great from the start and pulled me right in. We’ve heard of Josh before and Isla was mentioned once in Anna and the French Kiss. It’s great getting a book with a familiar character (Josh) and we get to learn more about him. The story was gripping and beautiful and tragic and goes so much deeper than it lets on.
I think what really makes me see myself in Isla is the way she sees herself. She’s surrounded by people who know their passion, who know what they want to do and are ready to chase. She doesn’t know what her future holds and having that thought cripples her. She sees herself as a blank canvas and on many occasions in my life, I’ve thought the same — maybe not a blank canvas per se but she described my thoughts perfectly.
“I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s okay to be a blank canvas. Maybe it’s okay that my future is unknown. And maybe, it’s okay to be inspired by the people who do know their future.”
“It goes both ways, you know. Artists are inspired by blank canvases.”
“A blank canvas…has unlimited possibilities.”
“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”
The relationship between Isla and Josh was also great! It was natural and didn’t feel forced. They meshed together really well. They had to really learn about themselves for their relationship to be at their best. I just really like their story! It reminds me so much of the relationship I have with this certain guy I know — thus, making me like their story much more! Isla is me and I am Isla, and Josh … the guy I like is Josh. I’ve got my own real life Josh! I felt like this book was written for my life.
“Crushes are so awful. I wonder if they suck worse for the crush-er or the crush-ee. I consider my three years of watching Josh from afar. Yeah, definitely the crush-er.”
“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting.The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”
“Because I see it in his eyes, I feel it in my heart. He takes my hand. His skin touches mine, and he’s real again. And then we lose restraint, and he sweeps me into an embrace and kisses my cheek. And then again. I hug him. He squeezes me too hard in return, but it’s wonderful and perfect and sublime.”
My absolute favorite part about this book was Josh’s manuscript. It was like getting two point of views in the book! We get to see Josh during Anna and the French Kiss and we see his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. We see his growth, his inner turmoil, his most private and intimate moments — seriously intimate. What’s even better was when Isla starts appearing in his manuscripts. I love that we were able to see Isla through his eyes! It was so beautiful. I think that what really got me was that Isla broke up with Josh for the same reasons I would break up with someone. That really hit home and got me crying so much. I wish the book was longer, only to get more scenes on their reunion! It was seriously one of my favorite reunions I have ever read! On the last pages of Josh’s manuscript, he draws Isla reading his manuscript and himself waiting for her outside of her dorm in the snow. On the page she runs to him and he tells her he’s in love with her. He tells her to wait for him and that they’ll never be apart again.
” climb out of bed, pull aside the curtain, and peek out my window. He’s there […] I yank on my books, grab my key, and race down the hall. I throw open the door, and he must hear me running, because he turns the corner just as I reach it.
“You forgot to call,” he says.
I throw open my arms. He pulls me not him, and we kiss, and his lips are cold, and I think he’s crying, and I’m definitely crying, and I pull back to say, “I am so in love with you, Joshua Wasserstein. Of course I’ll wait for you.”