Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 Pages
Publication: August 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Isla has had a crush on Josh since their freshman year of high school. Unfortunately, Isla has never been able to have a full conversation with Josh. During the summer before their senior year, Isla and Josh meet unexpectedly at a cafe in New York. Three months later, the two meet again at school. This time Isla isn't the only one with a crush.
Just as the two are falling in love they are unexpectedly separated. Now their love is tested with time and space. Each of them has to face their own insecurities and try to save the future they had planned together.
This novel might have possibly been my favorite of Perkins' three novel series. I'm having a hard time deciding whether I like this one or Lola and the Boy Next Door more. What I love about this one is that Isla is so easy to relate to. Obviously that differs from person to person, but I find myself to be most like Isla in reference to the three girls. She's smart, shy, secluded, insecure. She's pretty much everything I've been in my life. So many of her struggles felt almost too close to me, it was almost painful to read at times.
I also really like that Isla and Josh had already be introduced through Anna and the French Kiss. Isla was not in that novel much, but it set up her crush on Josh. And Josh played quite a role in that novel. I really liked him from the beginning. And while some may say that this story was too much like insta-love, I disagree. Yes it moved very quickly, but Isla and Josh already knew each other to some extent and both of them already had crushes on each other long before they started going out. So while their relationship progressed rather quickly, I didn't find it over the top or annoying. In fact, they are by far my favorite of Perkins' couples.
I also really enjoy the fact that there is not some over the top love triangle in this one. There is Isla and there is Josh. The end. Even mentions of Rashmi don't compare to the annoying love triangles in the previous two novels. The couple obviously faces some challenges, but one of those is not the fact that one of them already has a boy/girl friend.
Kurt was a nice addition to the story, though he never played a very large part. He and Isla were cute together and I loved the way they loved each other. Hattie was also interesting. I wish we had gotten some more time with both Isla and Josh's families. It would have been nice to see more of their lives where parents and siblings were concerned, but most coming of age type stories tend to down play parents, so this was expected.
Out of all three of Perkins' novels I found the characterization here the best. Isla, Josh and all the minor characters made sense and never randomly changed for no known reason. In both the previous novels I felt that the characters broke character toward the ends of the novels, here I didn't feel that way. Isla, Josh, and the rest felt the same the entire way through. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that this is the latter of the works and Perkins' skills have improved.
In the end all three stories from the three novels were tied together. The interconnectedness of the stories is a nice touch. I like that the books are not a series in the sense that I'm used to thinking about a series, but are still connected. It's a nice addition to the individual stories.
The main problem I had with this novel was the fact that Rashmi never appeared. I just felt like she played such a large role in Anna just to completely disappear. It would have been nice for Isla to confront some of her insecurities where Rashmi was concerned. I just feel like she should have been there in the end. Her absence just seemed odd to me.
Overall I found this novel very enjoyable. Anyone who enjoys contemporary romance would likely enjoy this.
Until next time,