Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After

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 c...

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Title:Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author:Stephanie Perkins
Rating:
ISBN:0525425632
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:339 pages

Isla and the Happily Ever After Reviews

  • Melannie :)
    Dec 11, 2010

    *tries to pull off an Etienne St. Clair*

  • Wendy Darling
    Sep 29, 2011

    Ridiculously adorable, and a lovely, note-perfect ending to this series.

    Review to come.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    The ARC is sooo pretty!

    And for those interested, you can get these cute buttons + decals (and possibly a tote) by pre-ordering the book at one of these stores:

  • Tatiana
    Oct 09, 2011

    Aww, two rich, horny kids (one - a stalker, another - a self-centered "artiste") are not allowed to travel around Europe without permission and have sex anywhere they feel like. How tragic!

    Perkins' romances are getting worse and worse. 1 star because she can do better than this.

  • Sophia.
    Nov 24, 2011

    [[

    : This review is going to be long ; painfully negative ; and full of spoilers. Also, I love Stephanie Perkins. I follow her blog and I think she's a genuinely great person. However, I do tend to treat books like the commercial objects that they are. So I'm not making this personal against Perkins. I am aware that it was a fucking struggle for her to write this book, and I am sorry, but I paid for it, and I was sorely disappointed. ]]

    Okay let's do this.

    I am part of the original rea

    [[

    : This review is going to be long ; painfully negative ; and full of spoilers. Also, I love Stephanie Perkins. I follow her blog and I think she's a genuinely great person. However, I do tend to treat books like the commercial objects that they are. So I'm not making this personal against Perkins. I am aware that it was a fucking struggle for her to write this book, and I am sorry, but I paid for it, and I was sorely disappointed. ]]

    Okay let's do this.

    I am part of the original readership that has been following Perkins since the very beginning. I read Anna a couple months after it came out, and I loved it. I waited 2 years for Lola (that's a long time) and hated it. I still decided to wait for Isla, because it was going to be set in Paris again, and, well, because it looked fucking cool. We all waited a lonnnnng time for Isla. Several years. My expectations were damn high... And it was just not worth the wait.

    Obviously I'm not the first one to point this out, but we have in this book a serious characterization problem when it comes to Isla.

    In the first book, we had Anna who's this cute, clueless film addict with the cleaning disorder. Despite that somewhat specific characterization, I think Perkins had sort of found the good balance between a well defined character and someone the reader could easily identify with. Anna is awkward, inexperienced with boys, not amazing in class, and she's got money issues. And she falls for the hot guy who has a girlfriend. All this is realistic. Because let's face it, in real life, a lot of hot boys ARE taken. Therefore befriending a hot kid who has a girlfriend is complicated, since you have to strike a balance between being friendly but not

    flirty, and you also kind of hate the girlfriend, and it's all so confusing.

    I thought that the way Perkins described all that was on point. Also, it took forever for Anna and St Clair to get together. Okay, it was overly long and dramatic, but in real life, it usually does take MONTHS before something happens with the guy you like. I liked that authenticity: that whole thing before they get together, where one month they're close, then they're not, then he compliments her and she makes such a big deal out of it. I just felt like, yes, that does happen in real life! It IS tedious in real life. And sometimes boys do lead you on, and it fucking sucks.

    Anyway, my point being, the first book was overall realistic and Anna very likeable.

    Then we had Lola. She was, in my opinion, way too characterized. It was really hard for me to relate to her because of the way she dresses, which was extreme even for a hardcore hipster, and because of her extremely specific family situation, and her love life too. That's where for me the series started going downhill. Also the story was more juvenile.

    Now, Isla.

    I saw that a lot of people disliked Josh in the story. I think he was at times overly dramatic, but I did love the artistic aspect of his personality. That’s why I was so impatient to read the book before it came out and on that aspect, the book met my expectations. I just thought it was usually well written, all his trances, his room, his cramps, or when he paints the tree house. Or better yet, when he draws her necklace and captions it “Why does she wear it every day?” Oh, I loved that. Yes, I totally swooned. The Perkins magic worked for me right there.

    No, to me the main problem was Isla, and Isla

    Josh.

    We're told (rather than shown) that Isla loves high heels, and that her room is very well decorated. She's petite and cute and shy and yes she's a redhead. Okay. Basically that's everything we know. Her family felt very fake. She doesn't have ANY other friend beside Kurt. Doesn't have any hobbies, either, which Perkins tried to make into an actual personality trait but it didn't work.

    She just felt like a stupid Bella Swan 2.0 who has no life interest other THAN GOING TO DARTMOUTH because that’s where her boyfriend wants her to go. And remember which college Edward Cullen wanted Bella to attend? Yep. Dartmouth.

    I didn't like her relationship with Kurt. She insists on saying that despite the autism he's a normal kid but if that's the case, then just treat him like a normal kid. You don't have to sleep in the same bed every night. That's just weird, especially when Isla starts dating. Then she's talking morning wood with Josh and she says she's seen it on Kurt before "but it's fine since we're such good friends", and then Kurt talks about Isla's breasts and the whole time I'm just like What?!

    Josh is jealous and asks for explanations, and I thought that was legitimate because, honestly, I don't know anyone who would keep on doing that past 18. I don't know. Maybe I'm just not a big believer in boys/girls friendships but something was off with that relationship and it made me uneasy. (Taking Kurt to the treehouse in the afternoon and then going back with Josh in the evening? ew.)

    A huge problem in this book is the pacing and the plot. Literally nothing happens.. or not exactly. A few things happen, but the plotline is so empty that these little things are taken to an extreme to pretend something is happening. First off, the romance in this book appears wayy too fast. First chapter! I found it hard to believe that Isla was so high on meds that she didn't know what she was doing. I genuinely thought the first scene was a dream or a sex fantasy because it was so unrealistic. And that thing with the dress being wet and clingy was just so corny.

    So the thing is, school starts again so she's obviously obsessed with Josh and that's weird, but like okay. We've all stalked that one boy back in high school. But then he shows he's interested too and there's this awkward thing where the reader OBVIOUSLY knows that Josh thinks there's something going on between Kurt and Isla but Isla is fucking oblivious so she won't say anything to clarify the situation. That's the plotline for a few chapters, then Josh finds the courage to straight up ask her, then it's understood that they clearly like each other. Okay. They go on their first date, and they make out. Okay. Ensues what feels like a reallyyy long time (several chapters) where everything... is just perfect. they're oh-so-happy. Everything is great. Also, it escalates very quickly. They say I love you after what feels like 3 pages. I was just dumbfounded to see how ridiculous it sounds, yet it's all done so that we're actually supposed to take it seriously? And we're expected to actually swoon? even though it's pathetic? Yes.

    It is true that when teenagers get together, it is very intense and melodramatic very quickly.

    As the meme goes: “Teenage couples be like”

    This meme is literally the book.

    But the thing is, even if that's how it sometimes is, I don't want to see that in a book. Because it's juvenile and it's so corny. It makes me ROLL MY EYES.

    Back to the nonexistent plot. So they love each other after 3 days, and it's all perfect but as a reader, you're obviously... well expecting something. Because something has to happen. Conflict, right? So I'm here waiting turning page after page and then they start talking about Barcelona. I get it. They’re horny, and obviously they can't do it in the treehouse or idk in a hotel in Paris because then it wouldn't serve the plot SO they decide to go to Spain. Fine.

    : NOTHING is said about the money. NOTHING. We get that they're spoiled rich kids. But it'd help if they'd at least acknowledge it. Instead of snapping their fingers and going to barcelona like it's normal, or accepting to fill out applications to Dartmouth without ONE thought regarding how much money that implies. Nu-uh, in Isla's world, Dartmouth only means Josh. So they go to Barcelona and the sexual tension is supposed to be very intense but it’s honestly kind of ridiculous. They sleep together. Insert corny fireworks.

    : the sex scenes. They're bad. I think it's a good thing that Perkins made her characters sexually active because after all, the reader who was 16 when reading Anna is now, what, 20 or 21 when reading Isla so obviously they evolved too. But sex scenes are tough to write and they need to be well written to serve a purpose. This:

    Sigh. I'm sorry, I just think that's bad writing. Perkins used a similar writing style in Lola to describe the sex scenes too, and I don't understand why the editor didn't try to do something about it. Those short sentences make the reading experience very uncomfortable and awkward.

    Okay. Then we get to the next problem.

    Well that was definitely my biggest issue in the entire book. When Josh gets expelled, Isla’s reactions were sooo blown out of proportions, so dramatic, it made me lose all the respect I had for her. It literally felt like Josh was dying or going to war. Isla, fucking take a chill pill, he’s just going back to America. You’ll see him in like TWO months!

    The writing was so excessively dramatic.

    Like they're on the train, going back to school where they know trouble awaits and Josh risks expulsion:

    And then Josh almost has a panick attack, and she tells him she has "always" loved him. Then he asks for her to clarify and she says "Yeah, since our freshman year." lol that's not what "always" means, honey.

    Then we have the headmaster who lectures Isla about who's she dating and that she should be careful and she can do better blah blah - so cliché I couldn't deal. As if headmasters ever do give a fuck about who's dating who. Seriously.

    Also during that lecture Isla is thinking :

    When Josh actually has to leave the school :

    So I'll spare you for the rest, because I suppose you’re getting my point, right? That’s what the book is like after Josh gets kicked out. It's insane how dramatic it gets. I don't get it. I couldn't feel for them because it was so fucking extreme, it just got to a point where it was downright funny.

    Also, I find it very unbelievable that Josh's mom would take away his phone like that. It was a pathetic excuse to make their discussions less frequent, but 1) Josh is loaded so he could have bought another one, or just go to an Apple Store or a McDonalds for the Wifi. Or borrow his FRIENDS’ phones? No? Right he doesn’t have any part from St Clair. I just think we have so many ways of communicating now. It seemed very unlikely that he would depend on his mom like that.

    Then there's the whole drama thing with the book he makes her read, and she freaks out, and BLAH BLAH useless break up for obscure reasons that I have failed to understand. The only thing that woke me up from my boredom was when Isla thinks this:

    To which I answer: ON POINT Isla! For once in your life, you GET it. But obviously this book doesn't work like that, unfortunately for us, so she soon realizes that she's WRONG and there's nothing wrong in their relationship and of course they're meant to be.

    Some dumb resolution comes up and HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Because if there's one thing that this series doesn't have, it is mystery and subtility when it comes to titles.

    * Enough with the full body shrugs. What does that even mean. How can one full body shrug. THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

    * Anna and St Clair getting engaged. COME ON. Really. REALLY. It's not swoon worthy, it's so cliché and they're 19 and what is this? So unnecessary. Also you know there's a problem in your book when it's WAY more interesting to follow the old cast even when it's just for a couple of scenes than following Isla and Josh.

    By the way, I already had had that problem in Lola but once again Anna and St Clair come off as this stupidly perfect couple. Isla goes "Anna is the kind of naturally beautiful girl who doesn't know she's beautiful and St Clair is so perfect omg" Stop. It's so annoying. I don't need to hear how perfect they are. And then there's Josh who goes "Yeah, of course they'll stay together forever because well duh they're meant to be" and I'm just sitting here like yeah, and it took St Clair a fucking year to grow balls so that he could dump his gf and stop leading Anna on. BUT ITS TRUE LOVE YOU GUYS so the cheating was fine!!!

    * Also Perkins could not stop herself and did it again! She just HAD to throw in a bit of pro gay righ/love as always. And yes, it is STILL irrelevant to the story! First we had Meredith who's called a dyke and omg Anna will not tolerate it, and then we had Lola and her two daddies and now it's GENEVIEVE (awful name) who's bisexual y'all and her parents "LOVE" her new girlfriend omg so cool, go gays.

    * At some point Josh tells her "You're way hotter than your sisters" and Isla goes (genuinely) "That's the most romantic thing you've ever said to me." Was I the only one who felt weird during this scene? I adore my sister and she's fucking gorgeous. But I don't want us to be compared. We're two distinct people. No? I don't know that just made me feel weird.

    * When Isla talks about the classic bitch at school:

    No Perkins, what you mean is, "Emily Middlestone

    Amanda i.e, a one-dimensional, overly cliché mean girl that doesn't even really exist in real life, but I still had to insert her in this book because I needed someone to bully Isla. Just like someone bullied Anna and Lola."

    [[

    I know Stephanie Perkins suffers from depression. She’s expressed in several blog posts how hard it can be sometimes for her to get up in the morning, how worthless she sometimes feels, etc. I just want to say, if she ever reads this, that I fully support her. Yes, I know my review is harsh. I’m sorry. But Stephanie, if that’s worth anything, I still think you kick ass. Maybe I’m harsher with you because I know you can blow me away.

    And I love how you dedicate all your books to Jarrod. And you know what? That, at the end of the book:

    Damn. That literally killed me. That made me swoon more than any book ever has.

    Keep your head up! ]]

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  • Claudia
    Jan 05, 2012

    Oh, book, you were so beautiful. So so perfect. I'm in love with Josh and I'm still in love with St. Clair and still think that Cricket is the most adorable thing in the world.

    Maybe the romance moved a little too fast but then I remembered that for the other two books we had to wait until the end for the couple to kiss I get together or etcetera and I was more than okay with it.

    Josh was such a sweetheart. I knew I would love him. I just had this feeling with him. I'm swooning just remembering

    Oh, book, you were so beautiful. So so perfect. I'm in love with Josh and I'm still in love with St. Clair and still think that Cricket is the most adorable thing in the world.

    Maybe the romance moved a little too fast but then I remembered that for the other two books we had to wait until the end for the couple to kiss I get together or etcetera and I was more than okay with it.

    Josh was such a sweetheart. I knew I would love him. I just had this feeling with him. I'm swooning just remembering how cute he was. I'm a happy happy happy reader.

    BEFORE READING

    The cover's so pretty it makes me want to cry <3

    And I'll have this book my hands in just...

    THEY MOVED THE PUBLICATION DATE SIX MONTHS (!!).

    Excuse while I cry my time out...

  • Ariel
    Apr 23, 2012

    MY HEART IS BROKEN, BUT MY HEART IS TRUE.

    Wowzapants: I have a lot to say. LET’S GET TO IT. (No spoilers.)

    Let me start with the question everyone wants to know: is this your new favourite Stephanie Perkins? Unfortunately, not even close. My order is officially Anna, Lola, and then Isla.

    Before I get into the meat of this all, please know that I didn't hate it. I really enjoyed most of it. I flew through the entire thing in one day. Stephanie Perkins knows how to write some truly adorable moments.

    MY HEART IS BROKEN, BUT MY HEART IS TRUE.

    Wowzapants: I have a lot to say. LET’S GET TO IT. (No spoilers.)

    Let me start with the question everyone wants to know: is this your new favourite Stephanie Perkins? Unfortunately, not even close. My order is officially Anna, Lola, and then Isla.

    Before I get into the meat of this all, please know that I didn't hate it. I really enjoyed most of it. I flew through the entire thing in one day. Stephanie Perkins knows how to write some truly adorable moments. But that wasn't enough. Anna and Lola also had cheesy and wonderful moments. But those moments came mixed together with depth. This didn't.

    1) Certain Scenes vs The Entire Plot: My biggest sentiment with this book was that I LOVED a lot of scenes, but didn’t really like the plot overall. Stephanie Perkins kept showing me why I love her in specific moments - like Barcelona, ohmygod - but as a whole this story was badly paced and badly plotted. So I’m left looking back at wonderful snippets - seriously, Barcelona, ohmygod - but not really caring about the plot overall. I never felt that we were moving somewhere, I never felt a legitimate progression of time. Things were happening, I suppose, but never excitingly.

    2) The Characters: I didn’t care about the characters. I sincerely didn’t know it was possible to say this about a Stephanie Perkins novel. I mean.. WHAT. WHAT. The whole reason we love Anna and St. Clair and Lola and Cricket is because they feel real. They feel touchable. They feel like people we could meet. Admittedly, Josh wasn’t bad. But Isla? Who was she? I still don’t really know her. Her sisters? Meh! Her supposed “best friend”? He felt like a random side character. And that is tragic, because one of the things I loved about Anna and Lola is that everyone felt important. Everyone felt like an important piece of the puzzle, and even if I didn’t know a character fully because it wasn’t their story (e.g./ Meredith,) they felt dear to me and as though they would have an important story someday -that they weren’t just here as a supporting character to someone else’s story.

    3) The Setting: I mean. Cmon. CMON. I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll probably end up saying it a thousand more times: In Anna, Paris isn’t just the background, it’s a character. In Lola it wasn’t AS impressive, but the sense of incredible atmosphere was still there! Not here in Isla. We spend time in Paris? Meh. It could have been anywhere. We spend time in NYC? Meh. NYC is a place I’ve personally visited, a place that is wonderful and dirty and grimy and amazing and here it was meh. The only moment I felt the passion of the area was in that Barcelona moment and it was glorious but it was a dying spark of hope.

    4) The Themes: Not a single person on this planet is denying that Anna, Lola, and Isla are loves stories. The main theme is love. About the characters better knowing themselves so that ultimately? They can find love. This is not a flaw. This is wonderful. I love seeing love happen. I LOVE IT. And in Anna? I saw love happen. In Lola? I saw love happen. In Isla? I saw an obsessive crush happen and then explode into instalove. I couldn’t support was being preached in this book. That love is about obsessing over others because magically they’ve always loved you back? I’m sorry but no. I kept hoping that Perkins would say “You see all the obsessing that Isla has been doing? It’s been unhealthy and wrong!” but instead it was made okay and even desirable and cute. It wasn’t cute. Also the jealousy. Jealousy is a left thing, folks. You’ll feel it, I’ll feel it, we’ll all feel it. It played big roles in Anna AND Lola but there it was resolved. It was seen as ugly. Here? It was glossed over. It wasn’t resolved. It was left hanging and that made me sad.

    5) The Plot Conflict Wasn’t Conflict: It’s tricky to say too much here without spoiling so I’ll keep it short: the main problem here? It wasn’t a problem. I couldn’t root for it to be solved because it wasn’t a problem. The whole time I was just sitting there thinking “HAVE AN EFFING CONVERSATION AND IT’LL BE EFFING SOLVED,” because it wasn’t a problem. It was one person thinking something and then what? The reader was supposed to accept that as a problem? IT WASN’T A PROBLEM. How am I supposed to care about the plot if it’s just drama? *grrrrrrr*

    6) Josh: Again, I’ll keep it short because I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but there wasn’t enough Josh. I get it, yeah, yeah, this is Isla’s story, but the whole point is that it isn’t. It’s THEIR story. Anna&Etienne, Lola&Cricket, Isla&Josh. I’ve finished the book and I still don’t get why the heck Josh likes Isla. I’m not saying that out of spite: I seriously don’t remember a reason. With the past couples it was about the couples having to work together, but here it wasn’t at all. That’s sad. I really liked Josh and his part was smushed down to “love interest” instead of “complex character.”

    7) My Favourite Scene: My favourite scene of this book was when we got to see the other characters. And that, to me, is the final nail in the coffin. It's a total cop-out, it doesn't even count: how can my favourite scene be the one that doesn't focus on the main characters of this book AT ALL? Obviously it makes sense that I would be attached to the scene because I’ve loved Anna and Lola for so long, but man. Nothing came close to that scene. I literally was wishing that Isla would disappear so I could just revel in the presence of the old characters because they? THEY were magic.

    I’m sorry that this wasn’t the review we all wanted. Throughout my reading of the book I was part joy (because like I said I DID find cute stuff in it that made me smile and kept me glued to it) and part dread. I wanted to love it. I’ve been waiting for this book for more than two years. I fought the literal gods to get my hands on an arc. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I have to be honest with myself and with you guys. This book wasn’t as good as the other two, and apart from the others it doesn't stand well alone.

    MY HEART IS BROKEN, BUT MY HEART IS TRUE.

  • Mara
    Oct 25, 2012

    Stephanie, I adore you, I really do. You bring me so much joy with your fluffy story-lines. But you always seem to be able to ground all the fluffiness with some maturity. This one lacked maturity. I did like it, but I just couldn't bring myself to

    it.

    The setting was beautifully wistful. I mean it's hard for it not to be when it's set in a city

    Stephanie, I adore you, I really do. You bring me so much joy with your fluffy story-lines. But you always seem to be able to ground all the fluffiness with some maturity. This one lacked maturity. I did like it, but I just couldn't bring myself to

    it.

    The setting was beautifully wistful. I mean it's hard for it not to be when it's set in a city like Paris. Couple that with the various locations Stephanie chooses. An abandoned ancient arena hidden between Parisian apartments. A balcony reached only by conquering spiralling stairs and a trapdoor.

    They were always quiet and secluded which really added to the romance. Because of this, at its best, it was a sweet, desire filled romance, played out in alleyways and under the indigo ink pot of the night sky (couldn't resist putting in an artsy metaphor). It made the romance illicit in a way. As if the reader shouldn't be privy to it because at times it was just so quietly personal.

    But this was the novel at its best. Really, all I've written goes to the city itself rather than the characters. And good lord, Isla and Josh need to tone the drama down.

    Isla and Josh did not seem protagonist worthy to me. I kept asking myself: why them? Why did Stephanie choose to write about them? Or even, why did she choose to write about them at this time in their life? The storyline we were given seemed more like one of those sideline stories thrown into a 'chick-flick' movie - worthy of a few scenes scattered throughout the movie, during which we all indulgently nod and smile, waiting for the movie to return to our main characters.

    I couldn't bring myself to root for them. It ignited my Romeo-and-Juliet-type reaction. Instead of squealing over the cuteness, I'm sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn wedged between my thighs wildly gesturing at the screen yelling 'you idiot, put the damn dagger down! Please, you 'love' each other? You just bloody met. These three year olds I swear to the everloving universe …'

    Our protagonists are each battling with their own brand of insecurity and because of this their relationship turned into one of dependence. They weren't ready for a relationship, and especially not a relationship born of a three year obsessive crush in which they only talked

    . No, no,

    , this isn't a healthy basis for a relationship, let alone between characters already dealing with complex mental issues. What this muddy stirring pot produces is a lot of

    and

    and an irritatingly insistent

    Basically, a whole lot of melodramatic teen moodiness. Prime example, Josh has to leave Paris and cue an over the top tearful goodbye:

    Sorry Stephanie, it was just too fluffy, too starry-eyed, too melodramatic. Fans of

    and

    this one might be worth a read for the few scenes where our favourites come back for some

    significant scenes.

    _______________________

    Who else can't wait for another fictional guy to swoon over?

    Basically me when reading about every one of Stephanie's beautiful

    guys:

    And then when I finish I'm like:

  • Emily May
    Nov 02, 2012

    First, let's be clear: I enjoyed Perkins'

    and

    . They were pure romantic silliness, I know, but I liked the characters, the cute flirtations and the mindless entertainment.

    When this third book was released, I bought it immediately but some negative reviews from my friends put me off. I think I always expected to return to it eventual

    First, let's be clear: I enjoyed Perkins'

    and

    . They were pure romantic silliness, I know, but I liked the characters, the cute flirtations and the mindless entertainment.

    When this third book was released, I bought it immediately but some negative reviews from my friends put me off. I think I always expected to return to it eventually. Though, honestly, I wish I hadn't bothered.

    For one thing, there is literally no story for at least 80% of this book. In fact, I'm still struggling to see it. The other books are about the usual crushes, tensions and jealousies that come with high school romances - like I said, mindless entertainment - but

    does not even have that.

    The book opens with Isla drooling all over herself and being unable to function in the presence of Josh. A couple chapters in and we already know he likes her. A couple more and they're making out.

    Also, that aside, Isla's obsession with Josh is unhealthy and not even in a cute way. She literally stalks him online, looking up information about his family on Wikipedia and finding his house on Google. That's damn creepy. If it was the other way around, I would be afraid for the girl's safety. Plus, he is her entire life, her crush on Josh is the most defining characteristic she has.

    She goes on and on about him. She ignores her friend because she's too busy thinking about Josh. She acts like a self-centred brat because she wants to go gallivanting around Europe with him and - surprise! - she can't just freaking do that.

    . I just don't care about them.

    Also, a guy who says “Your sister’s kind of a bitch, huh?” is way out of line, no matter how hot he is or how true it is. My sister’s a bitch too, but no one but me and my brother are allowed to say it

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  • Kat O'Keeffe
    Jan 01, 2013

    THIS WAS SO ADORABLE AND FUNNY AND EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO READ! I didn't love it quite as much as Anna and Lola, and a few aspects were kind of frustrating, but despite that, I still really enjoyed it! I actually stayed up until 6am reading so I could finish it all in one sitting! I'll talk more about it in a video soon :)

  • Laura
    Jun 26, 2014

    I feel like I've waited a hundred years for this book. I was

    excited to get my hands on it.

    Now, I'm just so disappointed.

    A while back, I saw some negative reviews for Anna and the French Kiss that said the book was basically a bunch of rich teenagers whining over how their world wasn't perfect enough. I didn't actually have that problem with Anna and the French Kiss. I

    Anna and the French Kiss. Everything that happened in that book (albeit I will admit that Anna seemed snobby sometim

    I feel like I've waited a hundred years for this book. I was

    excited to get my hands on it.

    Now, I'm just so disappointed.

    A while back, I saw some negative reviews for Anna and the French Kiss that said the book was basically a bunch of rich teenagers whining over how their world wasn't perfect enough. I didn't actually have that problem with Anna and the French Kiss. I

    Anna and the French Kiss. Everything that happened in that book (albeit I will admit that Anna seemed snobby sometimes) felt natural and relatable.

    No, I had that problem with Isla and the Happily Ever After.

    Isla and Josh were these tragically filthy rich kids who started dating each other and were convinced it was true love and proceeded to travel around a bunch in the way that only tragically filthy rich kids

    and then they got torn apart because Josh's parents were

    rich and had "standards" for him and it was all very, pathetically sad.

    Also, Isla was

    .

    Also, Josh was an asshole.

    I didn't like

    of these characters. Which was a shame, because I so liked Josh in Anna and the French Kiss.

    Where to even begin?

    Let's start with Isla. Who is she? I don't even know. I read an entire book where she was the main character, and I don't know who she is. I know she likes Josh a whole lot. I know she has red hair and freckles, which makes Josh like her a whole lot back(??). Oh, and she liked comics. Which was very unique and quirky of her because she was the

    other person in the school who seemed to like them, despite a later explanation of how common comic culture was in France.

    The only substantial thing I really got from her was how weak she was.

    She was so, so weak, and I couldn't stand it. She didn't know how to stand up for herself, she never asked the questions which could've gotten her answers. What's with the wallflower act, anyway? Is there a reason for it? We don't know. We don't know anything about her. I mean, I didn't need a big reason for her diffidence or anything. Anything would've sufficed. But we got

    . We just know that she's a middle child, and somehow that's supposed to explain her to us.

    I know that Anna was kind of similar in this sense. She was a little withdrawn, sometimes holding back verbal comments for lengthy, internal observations. But at least she knew how to

    .

    What I hated the most was how Isla couldn't stand up to Josh. Because he was wrong. A whole, whole lot. Not that Isla was any better. But yeah, let's talk about Josh.

    Oh my god what a

    piece of shit. He made everything all about him. "Me me me ME" was probably his mantra or something. I can't believe this e-book was $10. His stupid graphic memoir made my blood boil. And not in the hot, sexy kind of way. Do you understand how fucking pretentious it is when people make you read their autobiographies? Autobiographies where

    crop up. Not to mention how pretentious it is for you to write an autobiography in the first place when you're

    young and not a whole lot has happened to you yet.

    No, seriously, let's be real for a second. You're an aspiring comic artist. You're trying to put together your first comic. What's the first brilliant idea that pops into your head?

    Who the fuck wants to read that? Where is the outsider appeal in that, at all? Would

    want to read a "graphic memoir" about someone else's life? I don't fucking think so.

    So yeah, he and Isla have been dating for less than a month. And then he shoves this "graphic memoir" at her. I mean, if you're going to pull this narcissistic shit, at least wait until your relationship's more stable.

    He's gonna do it now. With all the graphic bits of his sex life with his ex-girlfriend included, because those are the "ugly parts" of him. SERIOUSLY, DID IT NOT OCCUR TO YOU TO HOLD BACK ON THIS UNTIL MAYBE YOU HAVE A STRONG ENOUGH RELATIONSHIP TO WEATHER THIS KIND OF BULLSHIT?

    And it's brilliant, because Josh is your typical artist. Sensitive to any criticism, no matter how valid. So when he shoved that narcissistic junk at Isla, he for some reason expected her to love it. And when she didn't, because he

    , he got offended and pissy. No, not at first--not that first time when he calls her and asks her opinion. Because Isla was too damn weak to say anything to him. No, he got pissy when she finally blew up at him during the limo ride. Because again, she was weak and couldn't talk about it with him directly and had to passively aggressively go at it until the conversation became something else entirely.

    Oh lord, the audacity.

    And for some reason, Isla took all that shit from him and more. She acknowledged that he was right, it was all her fault, etc., etc. And I'm like, wait. Where's

    apology for being a self-centered, narcissistic piece of shit--where he at least acknowledges that it's also

    fault for pushing something like that onto her without even knowing what he was writing? Because he didn't. He was writing about himself, but he's a teenager. He didn't know who he was yet; he still had a lot about himself to discover. And he pushed all that self-discovery on her, so much so that it completely eclipsed the readers getting to even

    Isla in this book.

    Sanjita was right. Rashimi wasn't right for Josh, and only Isla could be. Because Rashimi was a person who actually had standards and opinions and ambitions, and Isla didn't. Isla was soft and malleable and a big blob of nothing that Josh gladly molded to his own preferences, and I cannot believe I followed her as a protagonist for 339 pages.

    As to their actual romance--holy shit, I've never read a romance book without so much as even a smidgen of heat. I kept rolling my eyes throughout the book at Isla and Josh's every interaction, first few chapters aside. Because once they settled into a relationship, it was a downward spiral from there. He was a terrible influence on her, ignoring her grades and any possible future for herself that might be uniquely hers to decide. Sure, she needed to take "risks", but not those risks. Not the risks he was deciding for her, dammit. He was crooning to her the way your bad-influence druggie boyfriend would, and then he accused her of not being "adventurous" enough whenever she said no. NO. Fuck you. Respect her right to say no if she doesn't want to completely mess up her academic life like you have, alright? Oh my god, the audacity of this kid.

    The entire time they were being all lovey-dovey, I just kept waiting for the hammer to fall. It was obvious their foundation was completely unstable, that they were doing everything wrong. Even if things turned out alright for them (like they did in the end), I knew I wasn't rooting for them. There was absolutely nothing to root for. Two rich, spoiled kids going to a fancy school in France. Oh, the agony.

    Like I said, I know that this was the basic premise for Anna too, but I didn't feel that privileged vibe as strongly for her book. This book just felt like it was trying way too hard, forcing everything to seem dazzling and romantic.

    Which is where the nauseatingly hipster theme comes into play. Wow, the hipster thing. Okay, I know that quirky teens are like, the rage these days. And hey, don't get me wrong, I'm totally down for that

    . But it did. Oh, look! A quirky girl wearing a quirky compass necklace with a quirky cartographer best friend, and she falls in love with a quirky boy with a quirky drawing talent that is like,

    , y'know? None of the usual hurdles that real artists his age have to leap through, he's a perfect transcriber of real-life-to-paper as attested by Isla in the cafe. Never mind that if he really did possess that much talent, he would be a fucking prodigy and he'd be a lot more well-known than that. Nah, his talent's just kinda normal. Your basic everyday thing, because he's an artist, and that's what all artists are like.

    And it's just all so quirky, because she has a secret place that's all hers that's named the Treehouse and the quirky artist boyfriend comes over and paints a quirky mural for her and also they have quirky body art sex and everything's just fucking quirky.

    I think I rolled my eyes so hard they fell into the back of my head.

    The only reason I gave this two stars is because of Anna and Etienne, and Lola and Cricket.