Blank Canvases & Unlimited Possibilities

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Penguin | Dutton
Pages: 339 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
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Summary (from Goodreads)
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

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.

Brief Thoughts on Isla and the Happily Ever After

Has there ever been a more eagerly awaited book than Isla and the Happily Ever After?! I discovered Stephanie Perkins at the very end of 2011, and I was so glad that I'd ignored my misgivings and gave Anna and the French Kiss a shot. I soon fell in love with Perkins' characters, setting and writing style. She infused so much heart in her book, and I was hooked from the start. Not long after, I fell for Lola and the Boy Next Door. In some ways, I loved that book even more! After waiting two years for Isla and the Happily Ever After, my expectations were high. I admired Perkins so much when she posted about her depression and the struggle to get this book right, and I ended up being so glad she waited to release it into the world until she was happy with it.

I re-read the first two books before I dove into this one, which was the best decision ever. Knowing that Isla and Josh were the central characters in this book made me keep an eye out for their appearances earlier in the series. That alone made re-reading worth it! Isla and the Happily Ever After is an amazing companion to those books, even though it is a bit different. There is less build up to this relationship, which I liked because not all romances have a slow burn and shared history. Because the romance starts sooner, the book focuses a little more on conflict within a relationship rather than things preventing a relationship from starting. Personally, I loved the shift! It provided a nice contrast to the other books and offered a new perspective on relationships.

Isla is very different from Anna and Lola, and Josh isn't Etienne or Cricket. I love how developed these characters are because they all feel like real people. This book is a bit more dramatic at times, but I loved every second of it. Perkins delivers on emotion, which is why she's one of my very favorite authors. There are times this book feels more angsty than the previous books, but that's because both characters have more insecurity. It can make the story frustrating at times, but for me it was only because I was so invested in them. It was messy and flawed and real, even when I wanted to shake some sense into the characters.

And there's a nice little surprise near that end that had me clutching the book to my chest like a besotted fool. Romantic, charming, heartbreaking and honest... Isla and the Happily Ever After was an incredible conclusion to one of my favorite contemporary series. I loved it from beginning to end, and I have no doubt I'll love it more every time I return to its pages. It was absolutely worth the wait!

So Quotable
“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?”


  1. I agree with you completely. There was something about Isla that allowed me to connect with her on so many levels as compared to Anna and Lola; it was probably that she was more insecure because I felt as though both Anna and Lola didn't struggles with that. Even though I didn't love Josh as much as Etienne or Cricket, I liked that all three of the leading me were so different. (The quote you chose is also wonderful!)

  2. I WANT TO LOVE THIS SERIES SO MUCH IT HURTS. I feel like the odd man out. (It probably has everything to do with the old book covers, to be honest.) I've reread Anna, even by audiobook, and I still couldn't force myself to go on to Lola so I haven't even cared about Lola. I'm gonna try again, though, because I can't stand to be the ODD MAN OUT on this one. And I really do love these new covers. They are super cute.

    1. Haven't even cared about Isla. SEE SEE SEE? I can't even get the names right. Pep talk please.

  3. Ah, I adored Isla and the Happily Ever After! It was a great addition to the series, even though the romance in the story definitely stands out from among all three. The one reason I really adored this book? Josh! He's officially my favorite Perkins boy (though I'm curious to see if that will change upon a reread).

    Also, that surprise you've hinted at? Definitely one of my favorite things as well. I totally could not stop grinning when it appeared!

  4. I love this one too! Although I do wish I had reread Anna and Lola before reading it, to better remember Isla and Josh. It didn't necessarily hurt my enjoyment of the book, but still... I'd love to sit down and reread them all back to back... Maybe for next year's rereading challenge even???


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