Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton

Release date: August 14, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 339 pages

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Outlet


Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

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. —Goodreads


The third installment in Stephanie Perkin’s series, Isla and the Happily Ever After was my favorite. I loved how Isla was real. She was uncertain, insecure, obsessive, jealous. What makes a character more authentic? When they are flawed. And Isla Martin is a flawed individual. The portrayal of these emotions is what made me love her as I saw a little of myself reflecting back at me.

Isla has been in love with Josh Wasserstein for years, and after a summer evening, Josh becomes a constant part of her life. At first, Isla is shy around Josh. She doesn’t know how to act nor does she know how to speak to him. She is tongue-tied as the boy she has watched from afar slowly, but surely falls in love with us Isla, too.

But sometimes, the past cannot be easily forgotten. Insecurities surface when ex-girlfriends are involved. Isla’s reaction is so relatable, it is all-consuming, and for those who have experienced the doubt that arises from your significant other’s past, it is also too familiar. I couldn’t help but feel Isla’s pain, especially when she breaks down later in the book; when she truly believes that she cannot be loved.

I cried for a good half hour and as Isla’s heart broke, mine did, too.

I am getting a little ahead of myself. Isla’s story is not all about heartbreak as it is predominantly a happy and feel good story about love, falling in love, and knowing the difference in true love. It is also about taking risks, and if there is anything that Josh teaches Isla, it is that. In these risks, Isla finds herself. She is uncertain of what to study in college, of where to go to college, of what she wants to do with her life. These uncertainties, these fears are real. There are those people in life who know what they want to do, who have a set map of where life will look like, but then there are others like Isla who are lost. And there is nothing wrong with that. Those who are uncertain find their way, their Right Way.

The romance was heartwarming, and again, I couldn’t help but sob uncontrollably at the end. It wasn’t sad…it was the most romantic declaration of love I’ve ever experienced from a fictional world. I loved Josh. I loved Isla. I loved our beloved characters who made a cameo in this novel. It was perfect. Absolutely beautiful. I urge you to read this final installment, and if you have reservations to read it, please read it anyway because it is a true and authentic portrayal of love. The good. The bad. And everything in between.

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1 Comment

  1. Isla was definitely my favorite also! I just reread this about a month ago and I forgot how much I loved this book… also I cried too 😩


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