Saturday, August 30, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Usbourne
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance
Buy: The Book Depository

The cafĂ© is boiling. The atmosphere is clouded with bittersweet coffee. 
Three years of desire rip through my body and burst from my lips: “Josh!”
His head jolts up. For a long time, a very long time, he just stares at me. 
And then…he blinks. “Isla?”

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Throughout my reading this book, I've jumped from a four star rating, to a three, to a two, to a four, to a three point five, back to a two. But the thing is, having finished it and taken all into account, I honestly can't imagine giving it anything less than five. Not because the romance was cute or the love interest was 'swoon-worthy', but for reasons I think are so scarily personal, they're even hard to share in a review.

But I'll try. 
I'll try.

Firstly, Isla pissed me the hell off. Now exchange that 'hell' for the f bomb I was too scared to put in. 
She was jealous, she was selfish, she was unbelievably paranoid, she was self-abusive and the list is seriously never-ending. I had never felt so strongly, both positively and negatively, toward a character before in my life, and I had no idea why. 

But I do now. Because Isla is me, except maybe take away the 'firey' non-auburn hair.. completely change the skintone.. and swap genitalia, but other than that, she's definitely me! Haha

I'm jealous.
I'm selfish.
I'm unbelievably paranoid.
I'm self-abusive.

When I read, I read to escape all that, so I think you can imagine the anger and frustration I felt when I started reading about all the negative aspects of my personality, all the parts of me that I despise. I literally wanted to pull my hair out because I felt like Perkins was throwing all my mistakes right back at me, and I hated that.

Then Isla changed. 
Sure she needed help getting to the point of realisation necessary for this book to make sense, but so do I. This book was to me, what Hattie was to Isla, and it's because I can't help but to relate to her story and development, that I can't help but love it.

This book was far from perfect, I'll tell you that now. Sometimes actions feel out-of-character, sometimes the cheese factor sky-rockets and you don't need to roll your eyes because they're already doing it. Sure, sometimes the writing is a bit sloppy and parts don't fit in with others, but I think when you can admit that and still love the book, then you've got yourself a favourite on your hands.

As to the negative reviews some people have been giving this book, it just goes back to the fundamental idea that different people have different tastes. It's obvious not everyone's going to love it, but I feel that, with this book in particular because it's so character-oriented, not really having much of a plot outside of Isla's character, it really does come down to how much you can relate to Isla, because it's not one of those books where you can dislike the main character and still like the story. If you don't relate to Isla and end up disliking her, it won't be too good a read for you. But that's just unfortunate.

I don't know how to recommend this. Honestly it's just a matter of luck. If you're lucky, the kind of person you are, will take to Isla's character and her journey. If you're unlucky, you won't.

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