My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Seriously, this book!
I was skeptical when it came to this long-awaited third novel by Stephanie Perkins. I read the first chapter online and wasn't sure how I would like Isla. Compared to Anna or Lola, she didn't seem as sure of herself. Instead of being strong, she was shy. I thought her obsessive crush on Josh (previously seen in Anna and the French Kiss) was juvenile. I didn't think I would enjoy this story.
I was so wrong.
The author disclaimed a year ago that she had been fighting depression while writing this book. I thought that the depression would negatively influence her writing. I worried I too might become depressed, whereas I have looked to her other books for a glimpse of sunlight. Well, it's true, Isla's book was very different from Anna's or Lola's. There was unspoken tension. There was agonizing heartbreak. This novel made me feel so many emotions over the past couple of days: anger, sadness, loss, joy.
She might not be as strong as Anna or Lola, but she is an amazing character. In fact, I think she might be the most realistic character Perkins has yet penned. Isla is shy, but she is observant. She gives people chances and she forgives. She loves people wholeheartedly... everyone except herself.
While I like to think I am a strong individual, I struggle with my own perception of myself. Who exactly am I? What do I want from life? What do I want to do with it? Isla is faced with similar, fearful questions and over the novel starts the process of coming to terms with them. While she might not have planned out her future like Anna or be steadfast in who she is like Lola, Isla is strong in her own way.
Finally, I loved this book. I don't know if it is my favorite, but then again I do not think I have a favorite book by Perkins. They are all amazing and real in their own right. Anna, St. Clair, Lola, Cricket, Isla, and Josh are real characters and when Perkins tells the story, it is easy to fall head over heels in love with them. The author made me believe in true love, just when I began to doubt it.
I can only hope the author will continue to write in the future, because she will always have an audience in me.
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