Author: Stephanie Perkins
Provided Synopsis: Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
Review: Um. Did I read the same book as everyone else?
This is not a love story. This is the story of an obsessive crush that turns into an unhealthy case of instalove with no maturity whatsoever. Isla Martin has been “in love” with Joshua Wasserstein since their freshman year of high school. She has never been able to talk to him, so she has watched him from afar as he is in a relationship with someone else and spends time with his close group of friends. A chance encounter over the summer before their senior year is the first time they speak in full sentences to one another; then there is silence until they return to Paris.
But even back at school they struggle to do anything more than make eye contact. Josh suddenly has the time to look at her and try to initiate a conversation. After two weeks they begin to date. After a month of dating they claim to be in love. The most interesting aspect of Isla is that it forgoes the “let us be best friends because we cannot be with each other, yet” route the author has taken in other books. Isla and Josh jump to being “in love,” and that is the problem. There is no growth here at all. There is nothing to work for. Isla has always been obsessed with him, but the reader never even knows why Josh claims to be in love with Isla. It happens too fast and it is completely unbelievable.
Furthermore, this relationship is not even healthy. For a boy that she has only been able to speak to for such a short amount of time Isla is willing to alter her behavior. She decreases the time spent with her only friend, changes her approach to school, and alters her college plans. This is all, by the way, for a relationship that is mainly physical and distorted by her obsessively crushing eyes to be thought of as love. And when Isla is offered glimpses into Josh’s life she becomes upset. For example, when he smiles and has charisma that is not “her Josh.” Isla seems able to only recognize and obsess over a miserable Josh. How is that not problematic? Then, when he offers her a glimpse of his life through his artwork she is upset to realize he had a life before her. As if he is not supposed to have had a life before someone he has been making out with and having sex with for only a month?!
I apologize for the rant, but I am so disappointed with this story. I have never been so actively hoping that two characters will not be together. Their relationship is distorted and will not last. Even worse is the savoir complex applied at the end along with the way this ordeal as a whole is meant to be romantic. I know lovers of the series will read this no matter what, yet I cannot recommend this to anyone. Was Josh even the same character we saw in Anna? Nope, he was relegated to the role of a love interest with no development. Was the setting as atmospheric as it was in Anna or Lola? Nope, because with the exception of some wonderful descriptions of a brief jaunt to Barcelona this story could have been set anywhere. The best part of this book was the very short reunion between all of the characters from previous books, which only serves to remind that the personalities (or lack thereof) of characters in the current book can be brushed away with the wind.