Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After 
(Anna and the French Kiss: Book Three)
Written by Stephanie Perkins
Contemporary, Romance
Published August 14th 2014
352 Pages
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily ever afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
Isla has just entered her last year at the American School of Paris and still lacks direction. She's the model student, perfect grades and attendance, using her free time to study with best friend Kurt, forgoing a social life while her peers are out at parties and exploring the city daily. But when she returns home to Manhattan over the summer, she never expected to run into Josh, the boy she's loved from afar for so long. But high on painkillers after having your wisdom teeth removed will certainly make an impression, and this is one chance meeting that Josh won't forget in a hurry either.

Once the two teens return back to Paris, a tentative and flirtatious friendship begins much to the annoyance of Isla's best friend Kurt. Josh knows what he wants from life, to be a successful artist and graphic novel illustrator and is in the midst of compiling his own illustrated work titled Boarding School Boy, while Isla still finds herself directionless. Josh is on his final warning at the boarding school, and when the couple escape to Barcelona for the weekend and caught, Josh is expelled and returns to Manhattan to help with his father's reelection campaign for Senator. The boy caught up in the political media frenzy isn't the same shy, artistic and passionate boy she fell in love with, but through a series of late night secret phone calls, Josh gives Isla something to hold onto until the two can reunite again.

Until he finally works up the courage to show her his Boarding School Boy Graphic Novel, and Isla sees Josh in a new light. That while she was studying, he was preoccupied with friends and a serious relationship that is all well documented. But rather than rejoice in his talent, Isla can't help but feel her relationship with Josh is more out of convenience and her only option may be to end the brief love affair before either invest in a future that is going nowhere fast.

My Thoughts


I'm always hesitant when it comes to a series finale, previously I've been left feeling disappointed, frustrated and angry enough to flip a table and storm out. Isla and the Happily Ever After was a somewhat fitting end, engaging, entertaining, emotional but also annoyingly predictable. Unlike Anna and the French Kiss, Isla doesn't explore beyond her room within the American School of Paris and it sadly lacked the same sweeping romance that was introduced in book one. The physical romance is ramped up as the storyline follows both Isla and Josh, two incredibly different teens that surprisingly compliment one another, until it seemingly all falls apart. Although Isla is the model student, she lacks direction and has no idea where her life is heading. While Josh is distracted and acts out against the guidelines of The American School of Paris, and seemingly wants to be removed. But Josh knows where his future is headed and that he wants to share it with Isla.

I loved Josh, although he had his own issues, he persisted with Isla and her insecurities believing that she was worth waiting for. After loving him from afar for so many years, Isla struggles with what she believes is Josh's sudden interest, and where Josh is concerned she has very low self esteem and her insecurities may just be her undoing. I felt that Isla was difficult to relate to at times. The unrequited crush is something most teens experience, the feeling of being lost, insecure and unsure about yourself and the world around you but she seemed to constantly complain, especially once forming a relationship with Josh. Once the initial excitement dulled, her thoughts constantly turned to why he loved her, why he wanted to be with her and it became tedious at best.


It was an entertaining read, but I must admit that I was left a little disappointed as I had been expecting so much more. It certainly lost the magical quality I'd found with both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, and bordered on just another generic young adult romance. No passionate love and adoration for the series finale, more entertained yet frustrated.

31 comments

  1. I've always wanted to read the series. I haven't read yet Anna and French Kiss, but I'm planning to real soon because I'm getting very desperate! I'm sorry this upset you a bit, I think I would've agreed if I read a book that lost all the magic from the first book. I'm still going to give the 3 books a shot and see how it goes :) Thanks for the review! Love your writing style xx

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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    1. Thanks Jillian. Oh yes, give them a go. I'm one of the few who didn't click with this one, but the majority of readers so far have loved it immensely. I think I may have expected a little too much perhaps. Anna and the French Kiss is brilliant, no doubt you'll love it as much as I did.

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  2. Aww, sorry if you were disappointed in this one, Kelly! That sucks, considering it's the final book and final books are supposed to go out with a bang. Not sure if I'll read this one; I'm not really one for romances like this. Haha. A lot of people seem to like Josh and Isla together, from the majority o the reviews I read!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I really think I'm the odd one out Faye. It just felt too generic for me and I couldn't see any signs of why I'd fell in love with this series in the first place. The quirkiness wasn't apparent and I just couldn't seem to relate to Isla and her insecurities that weren't justified.

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  3. I didn't like this as much as Anna or Lola either. And I mean, I still gave it 5 stars, but at the same time, if I'd read it without reading Anna and Lola, I probably wouldn't have rated it as highly. I mean, it was still a lovely, amazing read for me, but just...not as great as Anna or Lola :P

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    1. Completely agree. I actually think that if I hadn't read Anna or Lola, I'd be the opposite and would have probably enjoyed this more actually. I wanted to see Paris again and sadly it felt as though we seen more of her bedroom walls than anything.

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  4. Oh no! I have yet to read this one. I'm so sorry you didn't like this as much. The magical quality was a huge factor that contributed to me liking the previous books, so I'm not sure how I'll feel about it being absent. Josh sounds good enough, but I'm starting to reconsider my opinion about reading this book anytime soon. I don't want to end up being disappointed with the final book in such a good series.

    Naban @ The Literary Oracle

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    1. You've echoed my thoughts exactly Naban. That's the reason I fell in love with the series in the first place and sadly it was lacking for me. Still give it a try, I really hope you enjoy it more than I did.

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  5. Brilliant review Kelly - I've seen some glowing 5 star reviews for this one but it's also good to see something different with a view on both sides. I've read Anna and the French Kiss, am about to read Lola and the Boy Next Door, and after reading this I'm going to not set my expectations *too* high for Isla.

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    1. I actually enjoyed this one a little more than I did Lola, but being back in Paris, I think I expected the same magic that made me fall in love with Paris through Anna's eyes and it was sadly lacking. I can't wait to see what you think of the series, book one is incredible.

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  6. Nooooooooooo!! IT'S NOT AS GOOD?!! THAT IS DEVASTATING. I was hoping it'd be even better than Lola (which is my favourite) but sucks. Oh well. I'll still read it. Sounds like Isla is a bit needy. I mean, that's realistic, but tedious books drive me NUTS. Well, nuttier than I already am.

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    1. She's not needy as such, but incredibly insecure and with no reason. He gave her no reason to doubt him, but the fact that he's attractive and brilliant then he couldn't possibly want to be with her. It got old really fast. I really hope you have more luck with this one that I did.

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  7. I'm sorry this didn't live up to your expectations, Kelly! I've yet to have a chance to read Isla, and while I'm still excited to do so, I'm going in knowing not to expect it to be fantastic as I've heard a lot of mixed things about this one.

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    1. That's probably the best idea. My expectations were far too high and I expected it to be similar to Anna and the French Kiss. It was still good, just not as great as I thought it would have been. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  8. Aww, most reviews I've seen for this are 5-star ones, Kelly! I'm a bit scared now since I'm really nit-picky when it comes to the romance. Honestly, when I read your personal synopsis of the book, I was kind of turned off. ;( I did like Josh and Rashmi together, so I'm not sure about how I'll deal with Isla. >_< And no more awesome descriptions of Paris? D:

    Lovely review, Kel Bear! Sorry this one wasn't as great as the first two books. :(

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    1. That's why I was so disappointed. There were a few brief snippets, but nothing like the adventure of Anna. I think I'm still the odd one out. I enjoyed it and wanted to fall in love, but sadly it just wasn't the case.

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  9. I have Anna but I haven't read it yet. I don't know what's taking me so long to start this series honestly lol.

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    1. Anna is by far my favourite out of all three, it's a must read. Each book can be also read as a stand alone, but in Isla, the characters from the first two books crossover as well. Can't wait to see what you think of Anna, it's brilliant.

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  10. Awwww that is such a shame that this one didn't live up to the series finale for you when so many people loved it. I kind of like how Isla is less sure of herself and she doesn't seem very confident, that could make for a relatable read for some. Lovely review Kelly, and thanks for your honest thoughts!

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    1. It did Jeann, but it became really tiring after a while. She had confidence, but not when it came to Josh's feelings. It got to the point where she just couldn't justify how irrational she was and that's when it went downhill for me sadly.

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  11. I had to double back and count the stars again (because numbers ugh) and I'm not at all surprise you only gave this 3 1/2 stars. I've read so many 5 star reviews but I've also read the not so positive reviews and basing from them, I'm not exactly sure I would love Isla. Reading Isla from your review, I could really feel how frustrating it must be for a character to have so little self-confidence that she has to question everything. It does happen in real life but I wonder how much Isla will grate on my nerves. Even though I'm disappointed that this didn't work out for you, I'm still keen on reading this one just so I could reach the end of the series once and for all. I think Anna would still be my favorite though. Maybe I'm scared I would like this just as much as I liked Lola which is not a good comparison at all to be honest. Haha. Fantastic review, Kelly!

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    1. It's really typical of me not to enjoy books that everyone else seems to love. I'm weird like that. It was incredibly frustrating, I can understand teens having a lack of confidence, but it wasn't that. She created ridiculous excuses and had no faith that he actually liked her, even though she had no qualms about getting her kit off. It just made no sense to me sadly.

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  12. I was afraid that I wouldn't like this as much when I went into reading. however, I found that I really enjoyed it. I am one of the few people who liked Lola and the Boy Next Door way more than I liked Anna. I'm sorry that you didn't like it as much but, I understand what you mean. It really did feel generic at times. but I related way more to Isla than I have to any of the other female characters because, and I'm being serious I would never be as cool as Lola or interesting as Anna.

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    1. Neither would I. I fall more on the side of weird, rather than quirky. Maybe it's because I'm older and can see how ridiculous she was being, but I remember being insecure as a teen and how hard it is to gain that self confidence. But as a character she couldn't justify those actions herself and I think sadly that's where the storyline lost me. So glad you were able to enjoy it far more Taylor. It was good, but not brilliant as I'd hoped.

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  13. I'm the oddball who hasn't read any Stephanie Perkins books yet because I'm not much into chick-lit, but it's a shame this wasn't as good as the previous two books! :( Series finales seem to be "meh" nowadays, so I'm sorry to hear this was the same way. I'm glad that, at the very least, it was entertaining though! :) Thanks for sharing and BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. I'm generally not either Zoe, but I picked up Anna and absolutely loved it. Lola wasn't bad, but this was slightly better than the second book for me, but for different reasons. Anna and the French Kiss is by far the series winner, grab a copy because it's well worth the read.

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  14. Awww no! I've been hesitant in picking this up and finally finishing off the series because of this. While I enjoyed Anna and Lola, I didn't find them as amazing as other readers did. Sure, I enjoyed the reads, but they were definitely very generic and cliche. Thanks for the honest review Kelly! I'm going to pick this book up soon, but probably won't be reading it immediately

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    1. I think we might be a few of the odd ones out with this one Joy. Everyone else seemed to absolutely love it, and while I adored Anna, that was mainly due to the setting and being able to explore Paris. I really hope Isla doesn't let you down, looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it.

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  15. I haven't read the whole series yet so I don't know what to expect at all. I agree, sometimes endings are the most hardest to read. ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU KNOW ITS ENDING. I'm glad that this what somewhat good. I'm gonna read the series as soon as I get the first book haha

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    1. Anna and the French Kiss was brilliant Jules, I think you'll fall in love reading that one. I'm interested to see what you think of both Lola and Isla though, they have a different feel from the original and Isla reads a little close to new adult than young adult for me.

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  16. I, on the other hand, loved this best. Strangely enough, when I went back to re-read Anna after reading Isla, I was more forgiving of Etienne's and Anna's cheating faces. Er, yes, I have issues with two-timing. I haven't forgiven Brad Pitt still!

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