This series got a lottt of hype from the book tube community and I’m a little late to this series but I’ve finally read it.
And I loved it.
My favourite was the first one, Anna and the French Kiss. Second would probably be Isla and the Happily Ever After and then Lola and the Boy Next Door.
These are the first ever Stephanie Perkins books I’ve ever read and now I definitely want to read more! They were such quick reads. I finished each of them in just about 2 days each and that also because I’m in the midst of my mock exams and was reading for a stress-buster. As far as contemporary goes, this is definitely one of the best trilogies I’ve read so far. Though I’ve also heard great things about the Mara Dyer series which I really want to read as well!
All three books are teenage love stories revolving around different characters. The main characters of previous books appear in later books which is why I recommend reading them in order although they can be read as stand alones too.
So I’m going to be discussing my favourite / least favourite parts of each of the books now. So if you haven’t read them and intend to read them in the future, STOP NOW because I don’t want to spoil the story for you. (Although it’s kind of predictable like most contemporaries are. Please don’t kill me for saying that.)
Anna and the French Kiss:
This book is about a girl named Anna whose parents ship her off to Paris to spend her senior year. She there makes a bunch of friends one being a boy named Étienne St. Clair who is painfully gorgeous. They spend a lot of time together. She likes him. He likes her too. But he has a girlfriend. Also one of their friends, Meredith liked him too. Basically lots of crazy things happen and in the end, St. Clair and Anna get together.
The characters were great. Anna was quirky and funny. Étienne was rambunctious. Josh was funny. Rashmi was all right towards the end. Meredith was also a really good friend.
What I liked about this book is the importance given to the friendships. While Anna and St. Clair are the main characters, we still see how they all really care for each other.
I loved Étienne and Anna’s conversations. They were hilarious. I like that they got together but I didn’t like that St. Clair kind of cheated on Ellie. Anna’s disappointment when St. Clair ran to console Meredith who saw them make out was justified but I still like that it happened. You saw, through that that St. Clair did really love Meredith maybe not the way she wanted him to. He also said that he did that to show Anna he wasn’t like Toph which was really sweet. I like how Anna and her best friend also become friends again in the end. 🙂
Overall, it’s a great book. The main theme is love but the friendship is very dominant too which is rare in a YA romance which is why I love this book!
Lola and the Boy Next Door:
I’m not even going to bother summarising this one because I think the title kind of says it all. I was expecting a lot from this book especially since I loved Anna so much but I was very disappointed.
Firstly, the names. Cricket. Dolores. Calliope. Ugh. Terrible.
I personally thought Lola was very very immature. She tries to be rebellious and teenager-y. I didn’t understand her relationship with Max at all. I don’t know why it was ever a thing. He obviously treated her like crap most of the time and she was in love with Cricket. I was ecstatic when she ended it. Another thing – why did she go back to him when she heard he came back? She just made herself feel bad.
There’s a scene in the book where Lola kind of throws herself at Cricket. That reminds me of the scene in Anna when Étienne and Anna have their first kiss. Though the fact that Cricket doesn’t let her kiss him was really nice.
I didn’t like how Lola treated Lindsey. She kind of has an epiphany in the middle and realizes she should stand up for her friend but before that she neglects her completely.
One thing that really bothered me though was how much Anna and St. Clair changed. St. Clair is so much more mature and not the cocky bastard we learnt to love. There’s that part where Lola was about to tell Anna something provided she didn’t tell St. Clair. Buuut Anna said she would. It’s like they morphed into one person. Both of them kind of lost a bit of themselves, I felt.
There are some things that I really loved about this book as well!
I liked Lola’s individuality and her costume making. I loved everything about Cricket. Apart from his name. He was so kind and sweet and considerate. I liked her Lola’s parents! Andy, in particular. I didn’t like Norah though. I liked Lindsey and I wish we got to see more of her in the books. Towards the end, even Calliope sort of grew on me.
Overall, not one of the best books but not the worst either. It’s bearable, to say the least.
Isla and the Happily Ever After:
This book takes place in SOAP like Anna. It follows a girl named Isla who had been mentioned briefly in Anna as a girl who had a crush on Josh. In Anna Josh was like this dark mysterious brooding character so I was excited to know what was to happen to him.
I’m not going to lie, this book isn’t great. Isla is probably the weakest lead of the three. She’s far too insecure. She’s unnecessarily, irrationally jealous of Rashmi. There are parts where I cringe at Isla’s actions like when she blatantly asked Josh whether he took her to that temple place because Rashmi liked Egyptian things.
There are however parts I really love. The starting for instance in Kismet was lovely. The trip to Barcelona was great. Until it ended. Badly. I enjoyed the sarcastic conversations Isla and Josh had. The scenes with Kurt – some I liked, some I disliked. I liked Kurt’s character though. I loved how he was so frank and honest, although it was because of his autism.
The other thing I enjoyed was Isla’s relationship with her sisters. Gen in particular. Hattie towards the end when she sent Josh the book. They were so close and just ahhh. I want sisters!!
Let’s talk about Josh’s comic book, shall we?
I enjoyed it thoroughly. I wanted to see some of the illustrations though. Isla’s dislike for the Rashmi parts was justified but I felt like she should have understood that she was a major part of his life and that he loved Rashmi or thought he did for quite a long period of time. Isla is selfish. She wants more of her presence in the book and that’s okay but the way she tells Josh just made me cringe.
The ending of the book though. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. It’s my favourite ending of the three books although the book as a whole isn’t my favourite. The way Josh just stands outside waiting for Isla. Just UGH I DIED.
My favourite part of the book is however the part just before the ending where St. Clair, Anna, Meredith, Cricket, Lola, Isla and Josh all have dinner together and we kind of get to catch up with all the characters. St. Clair is hilarious as ever. The only thing that bothered me about this scene is that Rashmi wasn’t there. I felt like Isla could finally get over her jealousy if she met her and she would finally understand that Josh had no longer had feelings for her.
And St. Clair’s proposal was just great. Although thinking over it, being engaged at 19 isn’t the brightest idea. 😛
I don’t think this book is an insta-love story at all. Isla liked Josh for agess and Josh liked Isla ages ago. They knew each other as they went to school together for four years.
In Isla I felt like we got more of an insight into the male lead Josh and Josh’s life through his comic book which we didn’t get in the other books. We get a brief mention of St. Clair’s father and we do understand the strength of his bond with his mother. Cricket was overshadowed by Calliope through his life.
The girls started becoming more dependent on their boys over their friends as the series proceeded which I didn’t particularly like.
Overall, it’s a great contemporary book series which leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside. It’s mainly for people who enjoy teenage love stories (note that I didn’t say teenagers! Adults can enjoy teen love stories too!!). It’s very helpful through reading blocks!