Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I stayed up about 45 minutes later than I'd planned on turning my light out last night finishing up Isla and the Happily Ever After.  That's a good sign, but is also a reflection on my need to push to the end once I get to a certain point.

I liked Isla and the Happily Ever After but not to the point where all I wanted to do was read, which is my benchmark for a really good book.  We met Isla briefly in Anna and the French Kiss and much of Isla's story, like Anna's, takes place in Paris at the School of America in Paris.  Isla's crush, Josh, was a somewhat more prominent character in Anna and the French Kiss.  Isla has had a crush on Josh forever, but Josh was very taken.  Now all of Josh's friends have graduated including his now ex-girlfriend.  Romance blooms.

To be slightly spoiler-ish, I liked that the trajectory of the romance for Isla was different from what it was for Anna.  I appreciated that they fairly quickly choose each other.  The downside of that was a fairly predictable middle of the book miserableness before the ending.  While I do like some romances, I also dislike that there is almost always either the will they/won't they or the get together, be miserable, get back together for good dynamic.  Again, it's one of the things I liked about the romance in Fangirl.  There was an ever-so small section of miserable, but is was fairly quickly overcome and then there was a long stretch of just being in a relationship.  I find that I like it much better when there is a plot line aside from the romance.

I, generally, am finding I like Stephanie Perkins stories.  Her characters are mostly likable and interesting.  The settings are fun.  The romances are pretty good.  What keeps them from being higher in my rankings is that the focus is on the romance, so there is the whole romance trajectory as being the prominent plot not just part of it.  That leads to the typical romance story lines.  She does a good job of it, so they're still decent reads, but aren't my favorites.

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