Isla and the happily ever after by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna and the French Kiss, bk 3. Usborne, 2014. ISBN 9781409581130
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Romance. Travel. Friendship. Paris. Manhattan. Stephanie Perkins is the queen of the teen romance and has written another wonderful story, this time following the ups and downs of a romance between shy and clever Isla and artist Josh, at the same time making some connections with Anna and Etienne and Lola and Cricket from her previous books Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door .
Once again the setting of the story is fabulous. Readers are taken on a tour of Manhattan as Isla meets up with Josh, who she has had a crush on for years. She sees him in a cafe during the summer vacation and hopes that it could be the start of a new romance for her, but he disappears and she doesn't see him again until they both go back to school in Paris. Here they connect and scenes of Paris are joyfully described. Then for an even more exotic setting, Perkins takes her characters off to Barcelona for an illicit weekend, and paints a glowing picture of the amazing art of Gaudi. Teens will be enthralled with the descriptions of Paris, Manhattan and Spain that are sure to make them want to travel, and people who have been lucky enough to travel will enjoy revisiting the places in the book.
The romance of course is the central theme and Isla has a bumpy road with Josh, as they navigate the perils of a relationship with its associated misunderstandings, heartbreak and joy. The final chapters bring together the characters from her previous books in a totally satisfying conclusion and readers have much to think about when considering if happily ever after can exist.
Pat Pledger