Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is a young adult, contemporary romance novel that was published on August 14, 2014 by Dutton. It’s apart of a companion book series that also includes Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door .
There might some spoilers in my discussion, so read on your own risk.
The main character, Isla, is in love with the cartoonist Josh who’s in the same group of friends as Anna and Etienne St. Clair. It’s their senior year at the School of America in Paris and they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do for their futures.
What they didn’t expect was to fall in love with each other and experience the best year together. Throughout the book, they have to deal with family problems, friendships, and school rules that they can’t help but break.
This was so much better than I was expecting. I think I definitely liked this one more than Lola and the Boy Next Door but not as much as Anna and the French Kiss, obviously. It also surprised me how more sexier this one was than the last but nonetheless I liked how this one was more sexy than the last two.
The relationship and chemistry between Isla and Josh literally gave me butterflies and made me sad whenever something went wrong with them. Stephanie never disappoints with her writing.
I also enjoyed seeing Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket. It was one of my favorite moments when everyone just came to France for that one night and had a small reunion.
From the beginning, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Isla had her wisdom teeth taken and she’s kind of loopy which gives her enough courage to talk to Josh and she really amuses him. I could tell he had a crush on her because when she offered for him to sketch her, he got all nervous and flustered.
I catch a glimpse of his abdomen. Yummy. “Yummy tummy.”
He startles. “What?”
A smile plays in the corners of his lips. I want to kiss them, one kiss in each corner.
“Okay, Loopy.” He shakes his head. “Which way?”
“Which way to what?”
“To your place.”
“You’re coming over?” I’m delighted.
“I’m walking you home. It’s late. And it’s pouring.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” I say. “You’re nice.”
Isla – Josh
Isla’s friendship with Kurt is really special and it’s amazing how well they know each other and how comfortable they are together.
After not speaking for the rest of the summer, they go back to school and they first talk while in the nurse and it’s so cute how awkward they both are and I loved watching them get more comfortable with each other.
Something else I loved was watching Isla end up asking Josh on a date when they admit that they like each other. While that was happening, I was basically like yaaas Isla!
I also loved whenever Josh would mention Etienne and since I haven’t read the other books in 2 years, I completely forgot that Etienne and Josh were best friends. It was so cute when Etienne sent a picture to Josh with his job vest from the movie theater and Josh was so happy for him. Their bromance is so real.
Josh gives a low whistle. “No wonder this looks like a stalker’s bedroom.” He bends over. “Oh, shit! Look at this one. Yeah, I think that’s actually shit.”
I race back to his side. “How did he get her shit?!”
“Maybe he went into a public restroom after her? He was probably gonna take a picture of the seat and got lucky. Maybe it wouldn’t flush.”
I snort loudly.
“I mean, I’ve been waiting for you to leave something behind for ages, but you keep picking all of these working toilets.”
I fake-gasp and shove him. He laughs and shoves me back, and I squeal as the purple-fox lady enters the room.
Josh – Isla
“If you were my girl,” he whispers, “I’d take creepy pictures of your trash when I knew you weren’t looking.”
“If you were my girl,” I whisper back, “I’d put the creepy pictures in a foreign museum so you wouldn’t know that I take creepy pictures.”
A single belly laugh escapes from Josh, and the woman spins around and actually stomps her foot. Like a cartoon character. It’s the last straw. We lose control, cracking up hysterically, as we run from the room and towards the escalators.
“If you were my girl,” I say, barely able to catch my breath, “I’d remove your skin, dye it purple and wear it like a scarf at fancy gatherings!”
He stops and bends at the waist, he’s laughing so hard. “Oh, fuck.” He wipes a tear from his eye. Two museum guards whip around the corner. “Go, go, go, go, go!”
Josh – Isla
They share their first kiss during their first date and it was everything I could’ve asked for. But then it got better when he accidentally hit her nose and it started bleeding. I literally couldn’t stop laughing.
He tugs on the knob and discovers that it’s locked. I fish out the skeleton key from the bottom of my bag. It’s heavy and iron. “You know,” he says, “if you were tiny, cute, and remarkably innocent looking, I’d be running away right now. This feels like the set-up to some torture porn.”
“Never trust s girl because she looks innocent.” I wag the key at him, but my heart pounds faster. He said I’m cute. I turn the key, the lock thinks and door creaks open.
Josh squints into the darkness. “Ah. More stairs. Of course.”
“Last set, I promise.”
He follows me inside, and I gesture for him to shut the door. We’re enveloped in pitch black. “Wait here,” I whisper.
“Are you getting your axe?”
“Kinky. But, okay, I’ll try it.”
I laugh as I climb the final set of stairs.
Josh – Isla
Isla takes Josh to the rooftop that she always goes to with Kurt. Josh asked about her ex boyfriend and implies the question of them having sex and Isla is honest with him and tells him that yes they had sex which is actually really shocking to both me and Josh.
“So I kept walking. I felt like such an idiot. If only I’d known, I wish I’d known. You’d been so funny and flirty, and-“
“Yeah.” He grins. “I could kinda tell you liked me.”
“Ohmygod.” I’m mortified.
“No it was cute. Trust me, it was really, really cute.”
“Yeah, nope. I want to die now, thanks.”
“No. I’m serious. I always liked you, but I thought you didn’t like me. You would never talk to me. So I didn’t think you were even an option, and then I got together with Rashmi, and that was that. But I realized last summer that you’re just shy.”
Back up, back up, back up. “You always liked me?”
“A supersmart hot girl who reads comics? Are you kidding? You were definitely on my radar.”
Hot. I’ve been upgraded to hot. No one has ever called me hot. Cute? Yes. Adorable? Yes, often, and it makes me want to punch them. I didn’t know short girls could even be hot. I thought I’d been permanently relegated to elfin-pixie-child status.
“Well, bloody noses.” I hug his coat tighter. “Those are definitely hot.”
Josh buries his head in his hands. He moans. “I can’t believe I did that.”
“I believe the laws of physics did that.”
“And my chin.”
I laugh. “But until that last part, it was pretty great, right? I mean, we had actual fireworks. Talk about a credits-rolling, happily-ever-after kind of a kiss.”
“If only I could take credit for those.”
Josh – Isla
“Your footwear tends to run on the exceedingly tall side. You know we all know you’re short, right? It’s not, like, a secret.”
“I like that you’re tiny. I like that I could carry you around in my pocket.”
I shove his arm with my shoulder. “I said hush.”
“And if we ever vacation together, you can sit on my lap to save airfare.”
I shove him harder, and he laughs. He tries to push me back, but I’m faster, and he tumbles against the steps. He laughs even harder. I do, too. “You deserve that,” I say.
“And now I’ll pay my penance.” Josh jumps to the ground and faces his backside towards me. “Get on.”
“You can’t walk in those shoes, and the streets are covered in broken glass.”
“I’m sorry. Are you offering me a piggyback ride?”
He sighs in fake exasperation. “Will you just get on already?”
“Just because I’m short doesn’t mean that I don’t weigh anything.”
“Just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean that I can’t carry someone short. You’re what, five one?”
Josh – Isla
I feel like their conversation and bickering sessions are so relatable with couples nowadays like they care for each other and you can tell through their words and actions but they still tease you.
“Sorry, it’s such a mess.” He shoves his hands into his pockets. “I cleared off the bed, though, and the sheets are clean.”
My eyebrows practically hit my hairline.
“To sit on.” His accusation is made jokingly, but his skin turns melon pink. “Nice shoes, by the way.”
Im wearing flats. “Nice deflection, by the way.”
“Nice to see you, by the way.”
“Nice save, by the way.”
Josh grins and I drop my homework-stuffed bag to the floor.
Josh – Isla
I loved when Josh lies about leaving his sketch book in New York but he ends up showing Isla and claiming he lied about it and he becomes embarrassed. I also loved when he was showing the drawings of her, he opened right to it like if he looked for those pages a lot and then he shows her another drawing that he did of memory and Isla claims that these pictures are sexy.
Isla admits that she doesn’t know what she’s doing in her life after Josh tells her his plans of going to Vermont and studying in a cartoonist school. He tries to make her feel better by teasing her and basically saying that he wouldn’t mind if she went to school nearby to him which made her happy to know that he likes her that much.
They’re so freaking cute. Isla gets bold and closes the door and then they start drawing on each other and Josh confesses that he’s in love with Isla which brings butterflies to my stomach, like literally.
They break the rules again and decide to go to Barcelona for the night and I loved it. They made love and the next morning they’re so giddy and in love which makes me so happy. But I knew something was going to happen to ruin them because they’re too perfect and there’s still so much to go in this book.
When they were caught for being in Spain, I literally couldn’t even. Why couldn’t Stephanie Perkins just let them be happy and free this one time?
Josh ends up being kicked out of school and I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t going to end well for them.
“Iloveyou!” I say.
“I love you, too.” Josh laughs in surprise. “Thanks for the enthusiasm.”
“I didn’t get to say it last time.”
“Ah, well. From now on”- and I hear his smile grow into a dimple-bearing grin – “let’s start with it.”
Isla – Josh
One of my favorite parts of this book was Josh’s comic book about his life. Even though it caused them problems and heartbreak, it ended up being one of the most important things in this story. His story is so good and compelling , I kind of want Stephanie Perkins to make this comic book a real thing.
Isla breaks up with Josh because she’s feeling insecure and doesn’t think that Josh loves her the same way. Being separated from Josh for so long is making Isla question if anything between them was real or if it was just convenience.
Josh comes back to France with Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket. He claims it’s for the olympics but later he admits it was to get Isla back.
When everyone reunited I actually died of happiness . The ending was perfect and Isla and Josh are perfect . I loved seeing Cricket, Lola, Anna and St Clair like I really missed them and Josh’s friendships with them is admirable