Books · Reviews

Valentine’s Day Review – Isla and the Happily Ever After (Spoiler-Free)

Happy Valentine’s Day! πŸ˜ƒ I hope you guys get to stuff your faces with loads of chocolate and love today ❀️ Be sure to give your parents, friends and significant others a big hug!

To celebrate, here’s my small contribution: a cute contemporary review. Enjoy! 😊

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Isla and the Happily Ever After

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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…

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I know what you’re thinking:Β “Sophie, did you hit your head? Why did you read the last book in the trilogy without having read the others?”Β Because I like to live on the edge!!

Actually, no, I just thought this one sounded a lot more enjoyable than the other two. So yeah.

I’m really surprised by how much I liked this. I’m not a contemporary fan so I’m bound to get bored by the ones I read very fast. And truth be told, there were times when I was a bit bored by this one. But thankfully, those were fleeting moments.

My general reaction towards this book was “THEY ARE SO CUTE. THIS IS SO CUTE”. Repeatedly. Seriously, me. A grown woman. The thing is, these two were just so adorable together I felt like scooping them into an ice cream bowl and eating them up. I was simply powerless against the cuteness.

I really liked how realistic this book got at times andΒ how it depicted being in love in such an honest and unapologetic way. I would have liked to have explored some of the other relationships more but Isla and Josh’s took up too big a chunk of the story. Which, again, perfectly illustrates how one gets when they’re in love and so consumed by it they forget about everything and everyone else. It was intense and silly and just how young love’s supposed to be.

I liked getting to know all these characters from the previous books, all of whom I knew little of but was more than willing to get to know. Those of you who have read the first installments will surely enjoy revisiting them as well.Β 

I loved traveling with Isla and her friends around France, Spain and America. It was as if I was there myself, the way the author described them in such exquisite detail without making it sound exhaustively descriptive. It was incredibly cool.

I also loved the genuine appreciation towards art and how much it was incorporated into the narrative. Moreover, how big a part it played in the whole thing. TOO CUTE.

I wasn’t a big fan of the last few chaptersΒ  and that was unexpected because they were just so full of angst. And I like angst. But somehow this kind of angst just didn’t do it for me. I could somehow relate to Isla’s feelings from when I was her age, and that was nice. But at the same time, I felt they were a bit forced by the author in order to create drama.

Then again, what’s a story without some type of conflict, right? It was a bittersweet feeling because in one hand, I liked that we were seeing this other side of Isla, the vulnerable and deeply insecure one. And also Josh’s, who was such a sensitive, caring and sweet cinnamon bun. But on the other hand, it made the whole thing sound a bit too silly.Β 

There was also another instance around the middle of the book that I found ridiculously blown of proportion and, again, only seemed to serve to fuel more drama. But because of my limited knowledge of private schools and their internal system, I’ll allow it the benefit of the doubt.

The ending totally made up for all of it, though, and my heart was again squealing with joy.Β 

Overall, this is a really adorable read and one that made me really happy. Even though I did not relate to the main characters all the time, I was quite invested and wanted them to have their happily ever after.Β 

I recommend this to all the hopeless romantics out there. I don’t think you have to read the previous books as this one made absolute sense to me as a standalone but get ready to be spoiled.

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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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Have you read this one? Anything by Stephanie Perkins? Let me know in the comments below! q^β€Ώ^ q

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59 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Review – Isla and the Happily Ever After (Spoiler-Free)

  1. I feel you about not connecting with the characters. I’ve read a couple such stories and it’s like I enjoy the plot and it’s awesome but because of the fact that I can’t connect to the characters, I can’t find myself to love the book. Anyway, awesome review! I’ve read Anna and The French Kiss and Lola and The Boy Next Door (years ago) – hopefully I’ll pick this up soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel that all the books in this series had this extra level of angst thrown in for the hell of it. It’s one of the reasons I took a star off my Anna rating, because the unnecessary drama toward the end of the novel ruined it for me.. Great review, Sophie!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bwahaha it’s a good idea to begin with the last one if they are not related an you feel it’s the best. Why don’t we begin our meals with dessert??? Wonderful review Sophie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They’re related but I didn’t feel like it mattered much in the end. You just get spoiled for the others but I wasn’t specially bothered hahaha I loved getting to know the characters from the previous books and it made me more interested in reading them πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much, hon! ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful review Sophie! I actually read Anna and the French Kiss ages ago but never returned to the series because fantasy just kind of sucked me into this huge black hole, but this one does sounds adorable!!! I love it when characters travel in books, it’s so much fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Rendz! ❀️
      Hahaha oh I completely understand πŸ˜‚ I decided to go the opposite route and try getting into Contemporary again. This one was so adorable it made me hopeful for the others!
      Me too! 😊 It’s the best feeling (right below actually traveling of course hahaha)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great review for this book Sophie. πŸ™‚ I have to say I read this series in order but I think the last one was my favourite so you made a good choice in picking up Isla’s story first (do you plan to go back and read the other two?) I remember there being a lot of angst in all three of the books in this series and I’m not a major fan of angst in books so I wasn’t a fan of that in this series but the description of the setting was beyond perfect. I’ve been to Paris and New York but oh after reading this one I really wanted to go to Barcelona and see all the sights Isla and Josh did! πŸ˜€
    Anyways, I’m glad you enjoyed this one, especially considering contemporary isn’t normally your thing, and again great review as well! πŸ˜€ ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Beth! ❀️
      Aahh that’s so cool! I think I might actually have read this one first because of you πŸ˜‰ I think I remember us discussing it before and you telling me that, which prompted me for the choice. So thanks! 😁
      I will most definitely go back and read Anna. Possibly Lola if I like the first one enough πŸ™‚
      Yeah I like angst but it felt too forced in this one… I don’t know. The traveling was definitely one of my favorite parts!!
      Me too! I love when I take a leap of faith and am rewarded hahaha
      Thank you so much, hon ❀️❀️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s all right! πŸ™‚
        Oh in that case I am very glad you enjoyed this one then. I’ll also keep my fingers crossed you enjoy Anna and Lola (if you get around to that one as well). I will say the setting in Anna is just as amazing as Isla so I know you’ll love that aspect for sure.
        That’s all right! πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah good to know! I did like Anna when I met her in Isla, and also Etienne. They sounded way too adorable for words, and the fact that he’s shorter just painted such a cute picture in my mind πŸ˜‚
          I hope I’ll love them just the same when I read the first book.
          I wasn’t super interested in Lola and Cricket, which is surprising because I thought I’d love them from what I’ve read about them so far. Oh well.
          Thanks Beth! 😊

          Liked by 2 people

          1. They are an adorable couple. I dunno there were a few things about their book I wasn’t a huge fan of but overall I enjoyed the story, so that’s the main thing I guess.
            Maybe when you read their actual book you’ll be more interested in them?
            That’s all right. πŸ™‚ ❀

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and it was! Perfect for the season hahaha
      Love stories can be exceedingly rewarding but some are indeed so bad they shame the entire genre. I hope you find one that speaks to your heart!
      Thank you so much, Diana! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend it with my boyfriend as we’re currently living in different cities but it was a lovely Valentine’s all the same 😊 I hope it was to you as well ❀️

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I really like Anna and the French Kiss, but I didn’t like Isla at all! I read this book quite a few years ago, so I’ve forgotten why now, but there was something about her that just infuriated me. The main thing I remember thinking while I was reading was how disappointed all the teen girl readers were going to be when they discovered how actual teen boys are about sex…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha that’s interesting! I actually thought Isla was a bit infuriating at times too, but I also thought that was realistic for a teenager. They don’t have everything figured out, after all! So I didn’t want to be too hard on her.
      I really loved Josh and yes, he was absolutely too dreamy to be true. He was exceedingly kind and understanding for a hormonal teen hahaha But to be honest, I did meet boys like him so he’s not entirely unachievable. Just rare I guess πŸ™‚
      You’re right, though, it does set out very high standards for the readers πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That was such a lovely review, Sophie! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this book – it was my favorite of the series, so you did absolutely no wrong by reading that one first haha πŸ˜› I really loved Isla and Josh’s relationship, it felt realistic and relatable to me as well, so that was great for sure. I read it a while ago and don’t really remember how the last chapters are packed up with that much angst? I’m curious to re-read it now, or just skim through it to see that again now ahah πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Marie! ❀️ Ah that’s so neat, I’m glad I did then hahaha It just sounded like I’d enjoy it more you know? And I could aways go back and read the rest if I wanted to.
      Hmm the angst is very heavy by the middle and then later chapters.
      I’m not sure everyone felt the same way as me but maybe if I’d read it as a teenager I wouldn’t have felt like that? I might have found it super romantic and tragic, and adored it πŸ˜‚ Who knows. Maybe that’s why, since you’ve read it a few years back?
      I hope you get to reread it, I’d love to hear your thoughts now! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Raven! Hmm yeah I’m not sure about Lola either… She’s in this book and I wasn’t too keen on her. But who knows, maybe reading her story will actually change my mind πŸ™‚
      I hope you get to read this one! Are you planning on getting to Anna and the French Kiss as well or skipping it?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love that you chose this book for a Valentine’s Day review! To this day I am still not over the need to have Josh’s comic book in real life. Like .. how has no one made that yet??
    I read the books in order, so I really liked Anna and Isla but Lola was really meh in my opinion. Although Cricket is a cutie pie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kat! Oh me too 😍😍😍 It sounds like an absolute delight. I’m still hoping someone will!
      I didn’t care much for Lola in this either, she sounded really unappealing… I hope her book is cool, though!
      I’ll definitely read Anna soon! I really liked her character and her relationship with Etienne. They looked adorable ❀️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Anna and Etienne’s story is the most epic romance through all three books, but there are sooome issues in her book. However, they are still totally cute and seeing Anna’s take on studying abroad was something I could totally connect to πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aahh that’s so great! It makes me want to go pick up the book right now hahaha
          I’ve heard some mixed reviews about it so that’s why I was hesitant. Maybe the issues had something to do with some people hating on it? Hmmm.
          I really hope the good stuff overshadows the bad, though! I would love to read about Anna and Etienne’s beginnings and also to revisit little Isla hahaha

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Ah I see… I don’t condone cheating at all either πŸ˜• But let’s wait and see. Maybe it’ll surprise me. Sometimes, even though there are awful things about a certain book, the rest of it may be able to make up for it 😊
              And aaaaww baby Josh! I miss him already ❀️

              Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting that you read this without reading the prequels!! Tbh I am very often tempted to do that if a later book looks more interesting to me and the plot lines aren’t too heavily connected… but I sometimes chicken out and go to the first one anyway for fear I will miss something important πŸ™‚

    Like you, I also generally don’t tend to read contemporaries, so if I’m being honest I probably wouldn’t pick this book up for that reason (I do occasionally read and enjoy a contemporary novel, particular if it’s a cute romance like this one, but they tend not to hit the same sweet spot for me as fantasy, scifi or historical ones for some reason) but it still sounds like a fun, romantic book. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha oh I’m the same really… But I end up doing it more often than expected!
      Yeah this is a rare occasion for me but I wanted to take advantage of Valentine’s Day and really step up my Contemporary romance game. I know I won’t read them any other time of the year so I kinda forced myself πŸ˜‚
      I was really surprised by how much I ended up enjoying the few contemporaries I tried so far. They will never be as satisfying as fantasy but they can be insanely enjoyable 😊 I hope the same happens to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Hehe to be fair, this is the best one of the trilogy and I read it second. I was also surprised by how much I liked it- it was so adorable! And I thoroughly enjoyed the travel elements too πŸ™‚ And yes I appreciated how art was incorporated. And I definitely ended up squealing by the end- this appealed so much to my hopeless romantic side so much πŸ™‚ Great review!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That’s awesome that you live on the edge by reading this book by itself. I read the first book and enjoyed it but didn’t get a chance to read second and third. I’m glad to know you enjoyed this book so much. I will need to go back to read book 2 and 3 then πŸ™‚ I’m sold on Cute! haha.. Excellent review Sophie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha thanks, Jasmine! Yeah, I’m a rebellious reader indeed 😱
      I hope you enjoy the next two books! I’ve heard from several people this one is actually the best one in the series so I’m a bit nervous to try the others πŸ˜‚
      Sol on Cute, huh? Same here, hon!
      Thanks again ❀️❀️

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I really liked this ending to the series as well! It does manage to capture those moments when you first fall in love and it sucks you in so you kind of forget everything else! It’s such a weird place to be, because you’d think we would all be smarter than that but it happens to the best of us. I can’t remember the ending perfectly so I don’t remember the angst, but I do believe there are moments like that and it can be a bit forced. But overall, I am glad you loved it. I loved the cameo appearances of the previous couples as well ^.^

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