So continuing on with the last book in Anna and the French Kiss companion series (previous reviews Anna & Lola), we have Isla and the Happily Ever After. Now this book affected me differently than the other two did. It has a different flow to it, which I adored, but is the type that hits at my feels with more power to the punch.
Some of you may remember Isla from the first book. Yep we go back to the School of America in Paris. Isla was a shy and quite girl we got a brief glimpse at in the first one. She wasn't part of the main group but everyone knew of them. She even had a huge crush on Etienne's best friend Josh. One that Anna noticed. Well Josh is single now and on his own in his last year, still the introspective cartoonist who doesn't take school seriously. After a chance meeting in Manhattan over the summer romance between these two is on the brink. But being in their senior year they are forced to deal with the challenges of every young couple from family drama, college and the possibility of being apart.
I mentioned this one had a different flow, unlike the others where we spend the whole book building up to that happy moment where things come together and we get some sweetness, this one starts out with the cuteness and then as things progress and life happens we see them struggle with their relationship and if they can last. To me this hit me so much more. To have the happiness and then see it start to crack. For me I'm just more invested, seeing the happiness they bring to one another and don't want it to mess up vs the hope for something to come, if that makes any sense. Plus come on she had a crush on him in the first book and she's adorkable plus I adored Josh in the first one so yeah.
Isla for me might be the most relatable. She doesn't have a ton of friends, accept her one friend whom she protects against all others and if others don't accept their friendship then; screw them. I love her loyalty. New people in your life must accept this. No friend worth having in life suddenly drops their longtime friends to have new ones, in my opinion. She also has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She doesn't have this life plan or really any dream job she wants to strive for. She doesn’t have it figured out yet. And Josh, well I knew him already from the previous book but to see him from Isla’s POV was fresh and new. He was still artistic and spirited. He wants to live and experience life. Plus we get to see better who he is because Isla really wants to know him and he opens up.
They are adorable. I don’t think I can say it enough. They are similar in some ways but also polar opposites in others. It made their connection very unique for the series. Now there were some things happening that just about broke your heart. I mentioned earlier I got upset. I was reading the book with a friend, we started reading it at the start of the day and finished. She finished first because I got so upset I put it down. We discussed and I vented about my feelings on the book, but I did continue. Honestly, I always knew I’d finish it that night but I was near tears and I was at work and refused to cry at work with a book stating a happily ever after in the title. I’d never live it down.
Yes they both make mistakes and things happen, or there wouldn’t be a story of course. But the real truth is they both have to grow in order for things to move forward. Both individually and together. They are both dealing with their own issues, like every teenager struggling to figure out their place in the world in their senior year of high school. Watching them take charge of their life and make changes to allow themselves the chance to grow was inspiring.
Now the ending. Not only of Isla and the Happily Ever After but to the companion series as a whole. Oh did I swoon. The pessimistic part of me saw some flaws in how things could have turned out badly at some assumptions made, but that part was easily shut up and my gushy romantic part just about fell off her chair. It was beyond sweet and summed up the books perfectly but the overall way everything lined up, with all the characters in the series was just beautiful. Now I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t read it yet but the one part, the last I think 20 pages or so I was fighting back more tears at work as my heart raced.
That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Isla and the Happily Ever After and the series as a whole, complete LOVE. I highly recommend the series. My only small complaint, which could easily be turned into another book is all I’m saying, is that Meredith, from Anna and the French Kiss, never got a happy ending and I always wanted her to find someone. So I vote for another book focusing on giving Mer a happy ending. I can’t wait to re-read this series.
Rating: 5 Full Page Illustrations
|Pretty good assessment!|