BLURB: “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”
REVIEW: I have previously reviewed both of Perkins’ other works in this series, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ and ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’, and as many of you will know I loved them both. This novel, however has to be my favourite of the three, though for a more personal reason – I understood Isla. I’m not ashamed to admit that I sobbed reading this book, because it was so nice to finally read about a character who shares exactly my insecurities, my fears, my ambitions and feelings – I felt like Stephanie Perkins was writing about me, and that gave me a strong personal connection with the book that made it even more enjoyable than the last two. Although I was already disposed to be attached to Isla because she reminded me of myself, she is clearly a fun and witty character in her own right, just like Anna and Lola, and the reintroduction of Josh (one of the major characters in ‘Anna and the French Kiss’) as her love interest was a twist that I really enjoyed. It also gave Perkins the chance to bring back the much-loved characters from the previous books, and prove to us that they have succeeded in gaining their very own happy endings. I felt, upon reading this book, that Isla’s and Josh’s relationship was the most real of all portrayed in these novels; both are hugely flawed characters, and allow their own insecurities to get in the way of what both of them see as the best thing in their lives, just like many real couples do. The ups and downs of their relationship were also very realistic and, although I often wanted to shake and slap some sense into both of them, made the book even more entertaining. I also liked Perkins’ inclusion of Kurt, Isla’s closest friend, who is part of the autistic spectrum; his character is portrayed with great sensitivity, and many of the most moving moments in the novel, I found, came from Kurt. As always, the Parisian setting only succeeded in increasing my love of the story and adding an extra dimension to it – Perkins somehow manages to make the setting almost like another character, with its weather and landscapes often reflecting the moods and emotions of the characters. I loved this book so much that I read it in a matter of hours and was completely gripped the whole way through. I would highly recommend it, particularly to fans of the previous two books. I also, on a personal note, would like to thank Perkins for writing a character who made me see that I am not alone in letting my insecurities get the better of me sometimes.