Saturday, August 23, 2014

#IslaIsComing Recap and Review

*made by the awesome Meg

I haven't done a readalong like this in a long time! I think the last time was maybe the Elemental series in May of 2013? Sooo, yeah. I forgot how much I love binge-reading a series! I love not having to wait for the sequels to come out. I love that I remember more because I read the books one after another. I need to do this more often, for sure. I'm even thinking about doing a binge-read for the Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa soon. That would be awesome.

Anyway, this readalong was a lot of fun! Mostly because I absolutely loved Stephanie Perkins' series and am so glad I decided to find out why everyone adored them. Because now I'm a huge fangirl of hers and I wish this series never had to end. I don't know how y'all waited 2 years for Isla and the Happily Ever After, because I was freaking out wondering if the book would get to me in time for this. And also because I just needed Josh's story, stat. He was one of my favorite characters in Anna, and I just wanted more of him. I think the 2 year wait would have killed me, so I'm kind of glad I never read the books until now and only had to wait four days for Isla to land on my doorstep. Because those four days almost killed me. I applaud you guys and your ability to wait. Patience has never been my strong suit. Hence why I have a love/hate relationship with series.

But I have no hate when it comes to Stephanie Perkins' contemporary series! My Lord, these books are amazing. So realistic, so genuine. Books that come from the heart; books with astonishingly real and fresh characters in a YA contemporary setting. I was so immersed in their stories that they became like my friends to me, ones that I had a hard time letting go of in the end.

I'm going to try to write a mini review of Isla and the Happily Ever AfterI'm not not even sure I can put into words how I feel toward this book. So here goes!

Isla Mini-Review

I was looking forward to this book ever since I met Josh in Anna and the French Kiss. From the mysteriousness to the tortured artist vibe, the adorable relationship between him and St. Clair to Whyareyougivingawaythecookies, I sort of fell in love with him and all that I had yet to learn about him. Like why he doesn't care about school, what his relationship with his parents is like, and who he is outside of the group. I was not disappointed with his story, at all! But Cricket is my soulmate. SORRY JOSH I STILL LOVE YOUUUUU.

And I loved Isla too! I knew I would love this girl from the start; I just didn't expect to feel such a connection with her character. She's a middle child too; shy, awkward, reserved, quiet. She questions who she is and what she wants out of life. Even with having no clue, she still manages to keep true to herself. Her character felt so real and genuine to me, though I almost wish she'd realized sooner that what she had with Josh was the real thing. But that's not Isla. Isla questions everything, but mostly herself. She's harder on herself more than anything, and because of her fear that she'll get heartbroken, Isla almost loses the one person who understands and loves her for who she is—who loves the girl she hides from everyone but mostly herself. Her growth as a character was so beautiful to watch unfold, even if I wanted to shake her and yell at her for not taking a risk.

Hers and Josh's relationship was not full of the longing and angst like Anna's and Étienne's or the slow burn of Lola's and Cricket's. And even though I'd expected a slower start, I should have realized that wouldn't work for Isla and Josh. Through a courageous move by Isla when she was hopped up on painkillers, they confess to each other that they've had crushes on the other one since they met that day in the cafeteria three years ago. They'd waited long enough, so they jumped headfirst into heat and passion and need and love. But not everything was easy or rosy for the two of them. Like with the other two couples, there were obstacles standing in the way of Isla and Josh's happily ever after. They both had to come to terms with what was holding them back—Isla's fear and Josh's life in the States. But they found their way back to each other in the end, and that's all that matters.

My God, I'm going to miss these characters. I'm going to miss this series. I don't think I've read books that have made me this incredibly happy before. They made me laugh. I hurt my cheeks from smiling at the adorableness. I cursed when things weren't going their way and felt for them when they were trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted out of life. I even cried in Isla and the Happily Ever After. Why? I'm not exactly sure, since the part was so lovely and beautiful. I think I just had so many feelings and the only way to release them were through tears.

Yes, I'm fully aware that these books are fictional. That I won't be able to hang out with this awesome group of people since I'm finished. That Cricket Bell is not real. I'm totally okay with that. Mostly. Does this make me sound crazy? Probably. Hell, I still feel like a poser because I wasn't one of those readers who waited two years for this book to publish. I'm late to the Stephanie Perkins fangirl train and only now did I realize how incredibly amazing, wonderful, and engaging these stories were. So what do I do now that I'm finished with this series? Reread them, of course. Also, this review was supposed to be a mini. But clearly, I underestimated myself.

Dear Stephanie Perkins,
Thank you for writing this series. And for bringing these characters to life. But mostly for Cricket Bell. Is he real?
Sincerely from the bottom of my heart,
Holly (aka Your Newest Fangirl)
There isn't really anything more to say, except read this series! They are everything that I love about young adult contemporary. Realistically written with captivating details and amazing characters who are discovering their identities while chasing their dreams and falling in love. <3


  1. I'm sad I didn't hear sooner about this readalong, I love to reread series, it's so great when you don't have to wait for the next book to be released. I wasn't that much in love with Isla but it was enjoyable and I really loved Josh! I think he's my favorite character from the three guys.
    Glad you enjoyed it. :)

    1. I still loved Lola more than Anna or Isla (their characters, not their books--well, actually, yes to both). I thought Isla was a *wee bit* melodramatic. You know, I totally thought Josh would be my favorite guy. But he's just.. not Cricket Bell. :)


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