By Angela Maria Hart
Stephanie Perkins wrote an amazing trilogy. Technically, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After could be stand-alone novels, but they are exceptionally well written and superbly executed by Perkins, reserving the right (in my opinion) to be read in order. If you are like me, you need to read them from start to finish beginning with Anna and the French Kiss.
Perkins writes in a similar fashion to one of my other favorite authors, Rainbow Rowell. What they do incredibly well is what I prefer to call “the movie-montage sequence.” Instead of seeing the two characters fast-forward fall in love, the authors write it out in detail, the small moments between characters such as hands touching or going out on a first date are written incredibly well. Perkins and Rowell write in a manner in which the reader can see emotions build and learn more about the characters themselves, not just bypassing key moments. The elements of falling in love is noticeable in all three of the stories, Anna, Lola, and Isla. When Anna moves to France to attend S.O.A.P., she is introduced to the characters. Upon first meeting St. Clair, he has a girlfriend. Yet, Anna is attracted to him and they clearly have a connection. The pair don’t want to pursue it because he already has a relationship and she is unsure of the current circumstances. Watching them build a bond and craft a friendship is really interesting and enjoyable to see.
As a reader, I got to see Anna and St. Clair pop up throughout the other two novels as if I was seeing old friends again. When Anna was first mentioned in Lola and the Boy Next Door, I could barely contain my happiness. If you start with Isla or Lola, it is not the same when Anna and St. Clair would pop up as minor characters. Whenever they would reappear in the other two stories, I would instantly become more interested in what was currently going on because my two favorite characters were back! This joy demonstrates that Perkins crafted two excellent characters. I LOVED Anna and the French Kiss, so much. When Lola goes to work at the movie theater and Anna is there working behind the counter, due to her own interest in films, I was thrilled to see her name appear. I had to read the line twice.
I also wanted to note that Perkins is really funny with some of her key lines and dialogue, there were moments when I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. The books are witty and make the characters come alive. Being a huge fan of Wes Anderson, myself, I loved it when Anna made note of his directing style. Fun details like this make the story come alive and create multi-dimensional characters.
Isla and the Happily Ever After was a great way to end the trilogy. Isla is brilliant and dedicated to her school work. However, when she starts a relationship with Josh, she can not believe that a “guy like him” would actually fall for a girl like her. This thought process actually offers insight into her confidence and personality, making her relatable and captivating. The hesitation with Isla offers a different dynamic than the other two relationships. Anna had the obstacle of St. Clair and his girlfriend, while Lola was currently dating someone when Cricket moved back to California. Isla and Josh have no other boundaries aside from themselves.
All three novels deserve 5 out of 5 stars!
Also, please check out my BookTube Review Here!