Isla and the Happily Ever After: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsIsla Martin has had a hopeless, all-consuming crush on Josh Wassertein since their first year at the School of America in Paris. After years of pining, Isla has grown used to watching Josh from afar.

Then one magical, painkiller-fueled, chance encounter in New York the summer before their senior year changes everything.

After years of bad timing and missed connections, Josh and Isla are finally together. But with false-starts and near-misses aplenty, neither of them is sure this relationship is meant to last. Isla doesn’t understand how someone like Josh can ever feel as deeply for her as she does for him. Neither is sure how to deal with the growing pains and doubts that stem from their new, intense relationship.

With uncertain plans for college and the future looming,  Josh and Isla will have to learn to be apart before they have any chance of staying together in Isla and the Happily Ever After (2014) by Stephanie Perkins.

Find it on Bookshop.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the highly anticipated conclusion to Perkins’ loose trilogy that began with Anna and the French Kiss and continued with Lola and the Boy Next Door. These books function as perfect companions to each other but Isla’s story is very much her own and functions as a standalone. Readers who have followed these books from the start, however, will be pleased with cameos from all the obvious suspects toward the end of the novel.

While much of the story focuses on Isla and Josh’s fledgling relationship, Perkins also artfully explores changing friendships as well as the complexities relationships with sisters. Kurt, Isla’s best friend, is an especially wonderful addition to the story. Isla’s panic at facing her future both in terms of college and life beyond is authentic and well-handled throughout the story.

Although Josh and Isla are perfect together, Isla’s growth is happily a solo endeavor as she is forced to acknowledge her flaws as well as her strengths and wants. Isla (and Josh) are often foolish and make mistakes but they also both learn and begin to thrive because of them.

Perkins is a master when it comes to writing clever, swoony romances. Josh and Isla are perfect counterpoints to each other in this story about first love and growing up. Isla and the Happily Ever After is an apt conclusion for these characters and a perfect romance for anyone looking for a smile.

Possible Pairings: Girl Overboard by Justina Chen, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, King of the Screwups by K. L. Going, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Alice, I Think by Susan Juby, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marhcetta, Damaged by Amy Reed, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

2013 Goals

Happy New Year!

I don’t believe in making resolutions. I don’t like the sound of the term. I don’t like the restrictions. It’s just a personal quirk, but there it is. That said I do have some things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year and I always find putting things like this on paper is a good start.

Goals:

  • Inspired by Victoria Schwab, I want to try to read all of the books I already own that are hanging out in random piles around my house. This number is always changing but right now it’s at around 100 so I’m going to with that at the total. I want to read the books and decide if  they’re staying or going (hopefully a lot will be going because space is limited!). Having just done another big purge of arcs from BEA that I’ll never get to I’m feeling good about this choice and think it might be doable.
  • So as you might have guessed from the above goal, I have a lot of reading material on hand. (And likely more coming as I do get review copies sometimes.) Consequently my next goal is to be more discriminating: I’m going to only request review copies of books I really, truly want to read. It isn’t fair to myself or the books when I end up struggling through a title because I feel obligated to review it. So that’s hopefully going to be so 2012 moving forward. I’m also going to try to stop buying books. Generally I only buy books I have read and loved but after working in a bookstore that strategy also became unsustainable so now I’m just cutting myself off completely: no book purchases whatsoever. I have more than enough books keeping my company as it is without buying more.
  • I’d also like to set up some kind of writing routine. Nothing spectacular but I want to find time every day to work on blog stuff and/or creative writing. I’m not going to set a word count or anything but I’d just like to stay on top of review posts, setting up interviews, book lists, etc. And I’d also like to work on my creative writing at least for a short while every day. Routines are important.
  • On the other end of writing I want to focus more seriously on researching the publishing side of things and start submitting my finished novel. It’s daunting and scary but I think it’s time.
  • Of course, I also want to stay healthy and keep improving in that regard. Maybe this will be the year I become a better cook.
  • I also tend to keep to myself so I don’t know if I’ll manage this one but I’d like to try to see and keep in touch with more of my friends.
  • Finally I’d like to improve my employment situation in 2013, here’s hoping the economy improves to help me out with that.

Mom and I had a quiet new year’s at home which was just right for us. I hope you, dear readers, had an ideal new year’s of your own and that 2013 brings the best of things for each and every one of you.