Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

“It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy – that guy right over there – thats him. 
The him. 
His posture is as familiar as a recurring dream. Shoulders rounded down, head cocked to the right, nose an inch from the tip of his pen. Absorbed. My heart swells with a painful sort of euphoria. He’s close, only two tables over and facing my direction. The cafe is boiling. The atmosphere is clouded with bittersweet coffee. Three years of desire rip through my body and burst from my lips:
‘Josh!’”

After a chance encounter at a cafe in Manhattan over the summer with her crush Josh, Isla is determined not to let him get away. The only problem is hes gone. He wont be seen again until they return to senior year at School of America Paris, and by that point Isla’s Vicodin has worn off and she’s the same shy girl she has been the past three years. As Isla manages to overcome her shyness the two become close, and romance blossoms, but the school year isn’t as great as she imagined it would be. As more work gets piled onto them uncertainties about their future become apparent and the two of them may just have to be apart. Isla and the Happily Ever After becomes a story unlike any fairytale as both Isla and Josh both tackle demons they thought would be long buried, but will they make it through? 

***
This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of true love from an author who already stole most of our hearts, Stephanie Perkins. 
It takes place mostly in Paris, with a few chosen chapters whisking us away to Barcelona and Manhattan, so the setting is just incredible, but its nothing compared to the story. I was grabbed at the first chapter and I loved every second as I got to know Isla and Josh and Kurt, and just how much they needed one another but also how much they messed things up for one another too. It was not the swept off my feet romance I expected because it had some serious hurdles but they were all worth it for the ending, oh man, that ending. 
I obviously can’t go into detail about what happens right at the end without spoilers, but it broke my heart into tiny little pieces, then stitched them back together just to do it all again. I was moved, almost to tears, by what happens and I’m not usually moved by romance, I’m the least romantic person there is I swear it! 
The thing that got me about this book was the characters and the way they worked alongside each other. Stephanie Perkins’ writing is brilliant and her chose of wording is brilliant because each character has their own way of speaking and its so clear through that. I liked Isla but to be honest she wasn’t my favourite character because she just talks about her crush on Josh for the most part – I would have liked to know more about her, about why she was reading that comic in her first year and other stuff. I loved Josh and the battle he has to go through with having a public and private persona and I loved the fact that he seemed so passionate about art. I could tell just from the writing that his art was beautiful and I’m not gunna lie, I am genuinely gutted there weren’t any strips from BSB included in the book, I think that book should come out! 
I can rave about this enough. I thought there were some bits that got on my nerves a little like how much Isla’s size was mentioned and how it seemed to make her sound a bit weak, even though she really wasnt. But saying that I loved her approach towards sex and the that there weren’t any fade to black scenes. I adored the fact that [SPOILER] the characters from the other Stephanie Perkins’ books turned up and we got to witness something very special involving them, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone! 
Isla and the Happily Ever After was published on August 14th by Usborne. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review through the lovereading4kids.co.uk reviewer system. 

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  • So glad you loved this, I thought it was so adorable and romantic. I really liked Josh’s battle and what Isla had to do to become her own person, that broke my heart.

  • YAY! Glad you loved it! I can’t wait to read it once we get it in at the library.