August 24, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After

by Stephanie Perkins
published on August 14th, 2014 by Dutton Books
Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
#3 book of Anna and the French Kiss series
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.

"I've always thought the best relationships are those that are as happy and content in silence as they are in action...."

Have you ever had a crush for so long you that slowly accept it as a mere daydream instead of something that could be a real thing? I have. And Isla has, too. That's why it's totally understandable how bizzarily(?) magical things for Isla Martin when, at the start of her senior year in high school, her longtime crush Joshua Wasserstein finally starts to reciprocate that feeling. How impossible! How come? Reading about Isla and Josh experiencing the start of their budding relationship is, in a word, heartwarming. You get to feel all the excitement of having your crush near you, talking about a lot of things that you thought you would never get the chance to actually share with him, thinking about the way he looks at you while you are talking. Was there something in my face? Did he found that funny? Did I behave appropriately in front of him? Should I not do these things? What should I do? Why is he so handsome oh my god I can't take it, that kind of things.

And then there's the nagging feeling that eventhough you're now willing to accept all the wonderful things that is happening (MY CRUSH LIKES ME BACK!), you're worrying about whether it's the real thing or not. Does he really like me, or it's just because I like him that he likes me? Is it real or is he merely being polite? What if someday he realizes that I'm not what he actually wants, after all this time. Will I survive the heartbreak? That's Isla for you, guys. The kind of Isla that you will meet when you read her story in this latest book by Stephanie Perkins.

 Josh grins. "Just give me your hand."
"W-what?"
"Your hand," He repeats. "Give it to me."
I extend my shaking right hand. And-in a moment that is a hundred dreams come true-Joshua Wasserstein laces his fingers through mine. A staggering shock of energy shoots straight into my veins. Straight into my heart.
"There," He says. "I've been waiting a long time to do that."

Oh, the jittery electrical feeling when you first holding hands.
Stephanie writes Isla's moments with Josh authentically. I love that she actually grasps that feeling when you have a crush who (finally!) loves you back. Isla and Josh is so irritatingly adorable! There are moments when Isla is stuck on incoherent babbling because she can't control herself in front of Josh. I laughed so loud at that! Other times when they're talking, she just looks at him with goggle-eyes, or talking to herself, probably screaming internally. It doesn't help to read that Josh also feels like he's slowly being consumed of Isla. After all his closest friends in school left because they graduate early (remember Anna and the French Kiss?) and a heartbreak, Isla is just exactly what he needs to keep him in school. In between their story, Stephanie also touches some important issues, for example, treating your friends right (Kurt, Isla's bestfriend, he's a memorable side character), learn to know what you actually want for your future instead of letting other people (or God) to do it for you, and also how, as young adults, we're actually allowed to have fun and make the most of our youth.

The next things I love about Isla and the Happily Ever After, are: 1) There are a lot of places mentioned in the book. Not only Paris (where our main characters go to school) and New York (where they actually come from), the readers are also brought to Barcelona with the couple! I love it. And there's also a fleeting mention of Dartmouth, at the topic of college. 2) I have to admit, this third book is by far the SEXIEST book from Ms Perkins! Oh, if you think the sexiness in Anna and Lola is already on top, this time it falls on a whole another level. The fact that Josh is an artist who doodles, paints, draws, or simply does art is enough for me to consider him as real attractive, but then the sharpie and the shower scene happen. I was like OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD THIS IS I CANNOT BELIEVE IT WHAT WHAT it was very hot but also very beautiful at the same time. Remember: Sharpie and shower!

But other than that, I have to say there are times when the story gets real frustrating. Here's why. I know insecurity is humane, it's impossible not to ever feel it in our younger times. Some days we feel more insecure than other days. But the thing is, in all honesty, I don't like being exposed to it when I'm reading about characters in books. I prefer to read about girls who are confident, who are badasses, who knows their worth, and who knows that despite their flaws, feeling insecure is a waste of time so it's better for them to just enjoy the days. That's what I found in Lola, that's what makes Lola special to me. So when things go awry in Isla and the Happily Ever After because of her insecurities that go out of hands, I was disturbed. Like what I said in the earlier paraghraphs, Isla feels scared, she feels jealous, she thinks the relationship between her and Josh is too good to be true. Then the whole thing that follows mimic the saying: What you thought become your words, your words become actions, and your actions become your reality. Drama-rama, drama momma drama. It gets that bad up to the moment where I feel like chunking a big block of stone to Isla's head. STOP TALKING. ACTUALLY STOP BREATHING ALREADY, YOU UNGRATEFUL BEING that's what I actually screamed in my head while staring with wide eyes upon the paragraphs.

Don't worry that much, though, because maybe it's just me. Lots of other readers feel like they have no problem with my issue about the book. Stephanie Perkins then lead us carefully until we meet all the previous characters in the first and second book (YES! Just you wait!) and give us the most wonderful surprise ever. It's such a perfect way to end her trilogy. So at the end, yeah, I'm still happy. I can't stop ooh-ing and aaah-ing at our favorite couples, hoping that they will continue to be as awesome as they are now and that I will finally get my own Anna to my St Clair, Lola to Cricket, and Isla to Josh.... My own happily ever after. That said, if Stephenie writes another contemporary YA, I would be more than happy to read it!

 “What are you working on?" I ask.
"The last page." He gestures towards the table, where a pencilled sketch is being turned into inked brushstrokes. It's a drawing of us, in this café, in this moment.
I smile up at him. "It's beautiful. But what comes next?"
"The best part." And he pulls me back into his arms. "The happily ever after.” 

 ***

 Hi, guys! What are you currently reading/watching/listening these days? Anything good? Have you read Isla? Tell me what do you think about it!
By the way, remember, there's still the August Rainbow Giveaway Hop going on in the blog, so if you want to win books (LOTS of books... with the total amount of money *winks winks*), make sure to come over to this post and join the fun!

Have lots of fun and read some more,


5 comments:

  1. So happy you enjoyed this, Tirta! I haven't read it yet because (a) our bookstores don't have it yet and (b) I'm scared! I was rooting for Josh and Rashmi in book one, so I don't know if I can handle Josh with Isla... But based on all of the raving reviews, I think I'll really enjoy this book despite that. Not sure about Isla's drama-llama attitude, though. :P

    Awesome review, girl!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Aimee <3
      You were rooting for Josh and Rashmi? I didn't even put any attention to them back then ahahahaha

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  2. Gue lebih suka yang ini dibanding Lola. Kayanya dibuku ini, hubungannya lebih intens ya dibanding 2 buku yang pertama wkwkwkw
    Sekarang gue lagi dengerin lagunya 5sos ;))

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    Replies
    1. Serius? Ahaha iyaa lebih spicy gitu gue jd agak kaget Niv.
      IH SAMA! Duh demam 5SOS dimana-mana deh ya hahahahahahaha Amnesia terngiang-ngiang mulu sampe gue pusing:(

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  3. I nominated you for a Liebster Award! :)
    Check out the post with all the info at the link below!
    http://thebookworminsider.blogspot.com/2014/08/ive-been-nominated-for-liebster-award.html
    Great review by the way!

    ReplyDelete

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