Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Series: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
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.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
In the final companion book to Anna and the French Kiss, we are reintroduced to a very minor character from the first book, Isla. This year, she is a senior at SOAP, and by chance, she runs into her crush, Josh, over the summer. Remember St. Clair's best mate? Of course you do. He has a starring role in this book as well.
These two fall in love very quickly, and the relationship is completely adorable. They are trying to figure out who they are, and who they want to be while falling in love and dealing with the new and strict dormitory rules. I loved how Perkins characterized these two, especially Josh. Some of those unanswered questions readers might have had from Anna are answered. I had a very great time reading about Isla and Josh, especially their steamy relationship. I literally did not want this book to end! I really hope that one day Perkins revisits these characters.
I also love how Perkins uses a lot of this book to focus on friendship. Obviously it's a romance, and a great deal of the book is about the romance between Isla and Josh, but she really does let her readers know that friendships are important as well by letting us see how we treat our friends. Readers are introduced to Isla's best friend, Kurt. Readers are also introduced to Isla's younger sister, Hattie, and can see the struggle that Isla faces with her. Should she be her big sister? Or should she treat her more like a friend? Readers are also able to see how lonely one can feel when all of your friends have moved away. It's a very emotional book that any teenager or young adult can relate to.
The settings - New York City, Paris, Barcelona - are absolutely breathtaking. I've never been to any of those places, but Perkins makes you feel like you're really there with her characters. I could actually imagine myself on the streets of each city with Josh, Isla, and the rest of the gang. If you read my review for Anna and the French Kiss, you know that I added Paris to my travel list, and now Barcelona has been upped a few spots on that list.
And yes - those cameos! They exist! And they are almost perfect, but really... they are perfect. I just wish Perkins included a little more of Lola and Cricket in those scenes. I really liked those two, and I think it would be nice to see Lola interact with Isla. I think they would be pretty good friends. I also really wanted a cameo from Calliope because I really grew to love her at the end of Lola and the Boy Next Door.
I don't know if I'd say that I like this book more than I liked Anna and the French Kiss, but they are pretty close to a tie. The bookends in this series are definitely the best ones. If you like romance and beautiful settings, I highly recommend these books. They are amazingly cute and fluffy for those days when you need a pick-me-up.