Isla has had a crush on Josh for as long as she can remember. After an awkward run-in with him over the summer, she returns to school (they go to boarding school in Paris btw) to discover that the dynamic between them has changed- all of a sudden the boy of her dreams might finally like her back. What Isla isn't prepared for however, is what to do after she gets her happily ever after. Set in Paris, but also New York City and Barcelona, Isla must find her own courage to believe in herself, in order to believe in love.
This book is so beautiful I can't even handle it. I basically read it all in one sitting (with the exception of eating dinner). I could not put it down for the life of me and ended up being up till 4:30 AM finishing it. The books is very well-written, especially the details of the cityscapes that Isla and Josh inhabit. One of my favorite lines of description was when they look down at Paris, "The serpentine river and crumbling cathedrals and sprawling palaces an everything, yes, everything is visible from here." Perkins creates these over the time, cinematic moments- first kisses with fireworks, late night escapes in museums, and a swoon-worthy trip to Spain. This contrasts with very realistic teenagery language and delightfully awkward moments that keep the story grounded in the real world. I completely adored the way it was written, which I think is one of the novel's strongest points.
I also really loved Isla's character. She reminded me a lot of myself- sweet, a little shy, bright, and loyal. At times Isla would be over dramatic in how she saw the world and their romance, which actually also reminded me a lot of myself. In all, Isla's character felt very real and unique to me. I feel like she isn't the traditional YA heroine, which I think is why she really jumped out to me. Josh seemed wonderfully complex- full of plans for the future, but can't take school seriously, yet is the son of Senator. I enjoyed discovering him different facets alongside Isla.
My only critique might be that the novel takes place over a relatively short amount of time for drama and romance that it seems to carry. It makes me doubt the longevity of Isla and Josh's relationship. I had the same feeling about Anna and St. Clair (from Anna and the French Kiss) and they seemed to turn out just fine (btw they are in this book too and will make you squeal with happiness).
I definitely recommend this book, especially if you love Europe and romance. It is adorable, but also witty, beautifully written, and smart.
Perfect if you loved:: The Fault in Our Stars (especially if you liked the part they go to Amsterdam- Isla and Josh's trip to Spain was reminiscent of that), 13 Little Blue Envelopes (European travel, romance, ect), Anna and the French Kiss (it is based on two minor characters from this book, but you don't have to have read it in order enjoy this)
My Rating:: 26 out of 30