My biggest issue with Isla and the Happily Ever After was that there was no build up or relationship development. That awkward, cutesy "I like him, but does he like me?" stage--which is my favorite part of the other books--was entirely missing. Isla and Josh hang out once, he says he wants to be her boyfriend, then they exchange I loves you, and are making plans to attend colleges down the street from each other and getting an apartment. Woah! Slow down! I never had a chance to settle into them as a couple. It was so sudden and made me unable to connect to either of them.
My second issue was Isla herself. There's this big drama in the middle where she and Josh go on a romantic getaway and get in trouble because they left school overnight. Isla completely blames her sister and partially blames her best friend because they didn't cover for her. First of all, she knew Kurt wasn't going to lie to the dorm supervisor. Second, she doesn't even tell her sister that she was leaving. In fact, she specifically states that only Kurt would notice she was gone. Your sister? Hello? Did you forget you have a sister?! No one is to blame but her and Josh. They chose to break the rules, and she chose to not tell her sister, and she should not have put responsibility on anyone other than herself. She forgives Kurt easily, but her sister isn't mentioned again until the very end when Isla realizes that she needs to apologize. Too late.
Then there's the big fight between Isla and Josh. Josh has been working on his graphic memoir, and lets Isla look at his manuscript. It's obviously not done, but what does Isla do? She gets upset that she's not featured in it enough! He hasn't even drawn senior year yet, which is the only time they've had any significant interactions! Is she serious right now?! I completely understand her insecurities in their relationship, but she knew the manuscript was incomplete, she knows how much work it takes him to finish each panel, and yet she goes off on him about it. Of course, this has to get resolved at the end, and under different circumstances, this may have been really cute, instead it just made me roll my eyes.
There are definitely some cute moments in Isla and the Happily Ever After, but overall, I just could not get into this romance at all. We don't get to know either character much at all prior to them jumping into a relationship, which made it hard for me to care about them as a couple. The only parts I really liked were Isla and Kurt. She is fiercely loyal to her best friend, and won't let anyone come between them, especially someone who takes issue with him being autistic. I mean, she's definitely not a perfect friend to him, but I believed their relationship much more than I did her one with Josh.
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- Started reading
- 7 October, 2015: Finished reading
- 7 October, 2015: Reviewed