It’s been a little while since I’ve written a Book Talk. Two reasons–scratch that–three reason for that: 1. Life. Life’s been…well, it’s been “special”. 2. I’ve been on a New Adult trip this summer. Many ‘yay’s’ and MANY more ‘nah’s’. None really that make me want to Book Talk about them so hence, the silent treatment on the blog in regards to Book Talks. 3. Writing! I was writing a lot these past two months because as many of you know, I finished my draft for book one! *skips up and down* Still surreal.
Anyway! What are we talking about today? Well…
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.
Let’s review the companion series at a glance, shall we?
Anna and the French Kiss was my favorite of the first two. I loved the setting in Paris. I loved Anna and her personality. I loved St. Clair and his charm. He frustrated me and equally made me swoon. Lola and Cricket. In Lola and the Boy Next Door, I loved Lola’s quirky style. I love that she was unapologetic about it. I loved that Cricket loved it. Cricket was truly the quintessential ‘boy next door’. He was just wonderful. I liked their story. I liked the characters. I LOVED Anna and St. Clair’s cameos! In the end, it left me wanting but I still enjoyed it.
I love the quirks Stephanie Perkins gives her characters. I thought it was cute that Anna has a gap in her teeth and that St. Clair is shorter than her. Lola dresses in costume every day of her life and she’s as blind as a bat–like me–without glasses or contacts. Isla is shy, awkward and so short compared to Josh.
At first, I didn’t remember who Josh and Isla were…then, as I read ISLA and the HAPPILY EVER AFTER, it all started coming back to me. Josh was the slacker who was dating Rashmi!!! OMG! That shocked me. Isla was the shy redhead who helped Anna. This was SO cool to now be embarking on their journey within the same settings we became familiar with in book one, Anna and the French Kiss.
Let’s talk ISLA and JOSH
(Keeping this as SPOILER-FREE as possible)
Seriously. Page 2, guys. Page, freaking, two. I don’t think I have ever written a Goodreads status so early on in a book, ever. I was already laughing, cringing, begging Isla to stop the crazy. The mortifying, ‘please stop talking’ verbal vomit that ensues when you’re shy, awkward, and around the guy you like. IT WAS WONDERFUL!
I literally Instagrammed Chapter 2 page. Why? Because it was HILARIOUS. Because the entire page and chapter was one sentence. One brilliant and hilarious sentence. No worries. It doesn’t give anything away…See?
As it says in the Synopsis, this chance encounter in Manhanttan during their break from SOAP (School of Americans in Paris) is what starts off the book. It’s full of awkward, fun, delirious charm. Next thing we know, we’re back in Paris. It’s their Senior year and the chance meeting three months ago remained a one time thing. With Josh on the mind (as it has always been since freshman year), Isla and best friend Kurt go back to their usual routine. They’re not popular. It’s Isla’s mission to never be noticed because it’s safer that way. Enter Josh. Finally, they see each other for the first time since that summer evening and our story takes flight!
I love how the first half of the book builds on their possible relationship. We’re instantly thrown into their story and not needing to wait for so many outside, individual circumstances to finally bring them together. We get swoon worthy moments almost instantly. Let me say this. Stephanie Perkins, I did NOT know you had ‘sexy’ in you! ISLA definitely ups the blush factor compared to the first two books. I have giggled, gasped, swooned, smiled like a fool, and then blushed through elevated breathing. Ha! Thank you Mrs. Perkins for Josh. Interesting how in ANNA, I barely blinked twice at Josh. I saw him through outsider’s perspective. He was–in my head–some delinquent slacker who skipped class and sketched a lot. Oh, and made out with Rashmi in public–a lot. That was about it.
Now, seeing Josh through Isla’s perspective let’s you see the real him. The him no one cares to notice or figure out but Isla does. She always has.
My Immediate ‘Feels’ Once I Finished Reading
I don’t remember the last time I felt SO giddy at the end of a book! Perhaps Anna but I think…I think, I am more giddy with Isla! Right now, Anna and Isla are tied as my favorites for different reasons. I loved how much of Isla and Josh actually being together we get to see, which is rare in contemporaries. That wasn’t a SPOILER either by the way, because the back of the book tells you they are a couple dealing with long distance, family drama, indecision about their futures and whether or not they have a future.
I gasped OUT LOUD so many times–each, with a different emotion. I will just say; EPIC CAMEO moments, ever! This was SUCH a satisfactory read and conclusion to this companion series. My expectations were high, my friends and not only were they met, they were also exceeded!
I give this beauty a FIVE out of FIVE stars! If you just need something to make you smile and feel ridiculously giddy, Stephanie Perkins does it right! I highly recommend all three books but right now, I am pushing hard the ISLA recommendation.
And that concludes my SPOILER-FREE gushing of this fabulous book! This will definitely be a re-read in my near future to which I may then gush in a full on SPOILER post because I NEED to share the goodness with someone!!!