Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins
Isla is the third book in Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss trio, and my least favorite of the three.
The book returns to Paris, to the School of America in Paris where we first met Anna, St. Claire, and co, only this time we’re focusing on Isla, a character mentioned very briefly in Anna, and Josh, one of the core group of Anna’s friends.
Unlike Anna and Lola, Isla isn’t a love triangle, which was refreshing. Instead, Isla has had a longtime crush on Josh, but getting together with him seems too good to be true. And for me, it was.
I didn’t buy Josh’s affection for Isla, and many of the critiques and worries Isla had, I agreed with. I also just didn’t understand Josh’s character. In Anna he was funny, passionate, and in the moment; in Isla he was none of those things. He seemed more of a wanderer, listless and bored, and I wasn’t sure what to make of him. When St. Claire showed up at the end of the book, however, he seemed back to his old self, but that disappeared the moment he was alone with Isla.
Isla herself wasn’t as strong of a character as her forebearers. Anna and Lola stood out with their quirks; Isla was simply a wallflower who complained too much.
While I can appreciate Perkins for writing realistic teen characters and emotions, and had I read this years ago I might have been better able to relate to Isla, I found her to be too insecure to the point where it was incredibly annoying, and her story didn’t interest me the way the others did.