I'm starting this week's Mark This Book Monday with the next book in the Isla Is Coming readalong hosted by Andi from Andi’s ABCs, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner , Judith from Paper Riot, Lindsey from A Bookish Sinister Kid and Meg from Cuddlebuggery!
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm rightly chuffed that I finally decided to join the #IslaIsComing readalong, because I've absolutely loved reading Anna and Lola, and I'm happy that I didn't have to wait as long as most people for Isla to come out.
It's quite hard to decide which one of the books is my favourite, but if I had to choose... I'd be probably leaning towards this one. Isla and Josh are a fantastic couple and their struggles and relationship progression really captured my heart.
I had noticed both Josh and Isla while reading Anna's book and I was quite excited to read how their relationship will progress, and thankfully it was as absorbing and heartwrenching as I was expecting.
Isla is a tiny sweet and geeky girl with an inseparable best friend with high functioning autism, both setting themselves apart from the rest of school. She's had a crush on Josh since they started high school together in Paris but their interactions have always been sparse and awkward, but that changes during summer break in NYC once she's high on painkillers and they meet by chance on a cafe (Kismet, quite appropriate I'd say!).
Their relationship is a joy to read about, and even when things get tough for them and even when it breaks our hearts, it's so beautifully written and woven! I was cheering for them since page one even when I felt like shaking one of them, or both.
As always, there is much more in the book than just their relationship and romance, there's family issues between Isla and her younger sister Hattie, and between Josh and his political-centered parents. There's also the adjustment between friends of Kurt and Isla. Even if Josh does go through quite a lot in the book, I'd say that the most character development and growth is Isla's, not only she learns how to accept herself and being loved, she also has confront her own flaws and shortcomings and accepting that some of what she thinks as shortcomings, aren't really so.
We also get plenty of travelling and get treated to wonderful descriptions that make us want to be there and enjoy all that Josh and Isla are discovering! I have already been to Barcelona and Paris but after reading Anna and this one... I feel like I really need to go back there as soon as possible!
I missed having some of the rest of the gang appear a bit more for most of the book, but all those wishes were fulfilled by the end of the book when we see Anna, Etienne, Meredith, Cricket and Lola, and get treated to even more emotional swooning and tears and make us turn the last page with a huge grin, even if you have some tears still lingering!
A wonderful read, very much deserving of 5 stars!
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