Release: 14th August 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
"Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart."
I’m a long term Stephanie Perkins fangirl having read both Anna and Lola way back when they were first published in the US. Isla has been a long time coming but I’ve been patiently waiting with the faith that Stephanie Perkins would deliver this final instalment when it was good and ready and every delay was well worth the wait – Isla is here and it’s fabulous!
Isla felt like a different sort of read to me compared to Anna and Lola. It feels less fairytale romance and more grown up as the book focuses less on falling in love and instead takes a look at what comes after the happily ever after perfectly capturing the highs and lows of being in love.
Isla is very much a dreamer. She’s a quiet girl who’d rather read about adventures than actually live one and that would explain why she’s crushed hard on Josh for years but hasn’t ever dared do anything about it. Isla made a great first impression on me, she’s so adorably awkward and I loved how protective and loyal she was to her best friend Kurt who has Autism.
Isla’s story begins one summer when fate puts her on the path she was always meant to travel when she runs into Josh outside of school but it’s up to Isla to take those bold steps forward and to figure out who and what will be her destination. Isla’s insecure and makes mistakes along the way but I loved her flaws and all. But this book isn’t about me loving Isla or even Josh loving Isla it is about Isla loving herself and feeling like she is enough. I loved the message throughout this book that you have to love yourself first before someone else can love you.
The book is set in New York, Barcelona and of course the final showdown for the ultimate happily ever after sees us go back to Paris and reuniting with Anna, Étienne, Lola and Cricket to conclude the series and Isla and Josh’s story. I laughed, I cried and I flailed all over the place during those gorgeous final chapters.
I’m so sad that this hugely beloved trilogy is over. I only hope that Stephanie Perkins shares more of her storytelling magic with us before too long, she truly is a wonder.