Tag Archives: Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
Book Reviews
October 9, 2011 posted by Kiona

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Lola Nolan is anything but average. She feels more herself walking around San Francisco in outrageous costumes and wigs, rather than jeans and a t-shirt. Her life feels perfect when she starts dating a Max, a slightly older rock-star who accepts her for who she is, even if everyone else in her life seems to disapprove of him. Then her old neighbors move back in next door and effectively send Lola’s emotions haywire. There’s Cricket, who Lola’s never forgiven for hurting her even while she might not be as over him as she claims, and his hateful sister Calliope.

This book is filled with so many unique and creative characters. Every character has some sort of interesting talent, though I think Lola’s fashion designing skills take the cake. I respect Lola immensely. She’s not afraid to be herself despite the fact that it can be hard for people to accept her as she wants to be. Fashion style aside, Lola is also a model daughter, even though her two dads are suffocating in their over-protectiveness. But it’s easy to see why they’re over-protective and that they’re only acting out of love, something Lola understands and, in a show of maturity, doesn’t hold against them. I thought her relationship with her parents (all of them) was really well-examined and realistic. All the details just added up perfectly and clicked together, coming together to form an in-depth look at a modern-day, disjointed, and loving family.

Lola is so likable that of course you want what’s best for her. At first, it’s hard to tell what that is. Max seems like a nice enough guy, but I never formed any real attachment to him as Cricket’s return to Lola’s life was inevitable. And when Cricket does return, it’s obvious he’s better for Lola, but I can completely relate to Lola’s conflicting emotions; being in a relationship can be so all-consuming that it’s hard to look beyond it and actively remember a time before or imagine any time after. Although I’d be more than willing to imagine the after if it included Cricket Bell, the most adorable boy on the face of the planet.

The pacing of this book seemed a little slow to me, at times, but it’s written in the same witty and charming tone many of us came to love in Anna and the French Kiss. Lola’s voice is potent throughout and the story is just as sweet as you would expect. Oddly enough, though I love Anna and Etienne (the stars of Anna and The French Kiss), I kind of hated them in Lola and the Boy Next Door. It seemed to me like Stephanie Perkins was trying too hard to capture everything we love about them and shove it all into a few scenes as if to say, “See! They’re here and happy and perfect! Don’t you still love them?” They were too happy and too perfect, like they were trying too hard to impress us/Lola. But it is nice of Perkins to let us know that they are happy and thriving and I’m sure many people will appreciate their return in Lola and the Boy Next Door. All in all, if you liked Anna and the French Kiss or, you know, happiness, then you don’t want to miss Stephanie Perkins’s latest novel. It’ll definitely bring a smile to your face.

Pages: 338
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Dutton Books
Challenge: N/A
Rating : ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “Max’s voice is pissed off. His lyrics taunt. The energy of his guitar builds and builds, and the bass thrums through me like blood. I am invincible. And then I open my eyes. Cricket Bell smiles.”

March 13, 2011 posted by Christina

New Covers + First COFA Book Trailer

Hey there yaReaders, in the absence of an In My Mailbox post this week (no new books = no IMM) I thought I’d share a few exciting releases…

First is the cover for the companion novel to Anna & the French Kiss, which is Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.

“In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think.

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Check out Stephanie’s blog post here, which includes a hint as to how Lola is connected to Anna.

Release date: September 29th 2011 (can’t wait!)


Next is the sequel to last year’s hugely popular release, Matched which is Crossed by Ally Condie.

“In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever”

Release Date: November 1st 2011

So excited for this one too!


Lastly, the first of three book trailers in the lead up to the release of Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels was unveiled this week. The first one is a recap of the series so far, check it out below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Author Interviews
February 23, 2011 posted by Christina

Interview with Stephanie Perkins

It’s no secret how much j’adore Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel, Anna & the French Kiss, so it was an easy decision to make it our February Book of the Month. We got to chat with the fabulosity that is Stephanie Perkins for a quick Q&A…

Anna and the French Kiss (as its name suggests) is set in France – what made you opt to set it there? Would you consider setting a book in another city like London, Rome or *cough* Sydney? 😀

It’s set in France, because I had a dream in which I saw a beautiful boy sitting on the steps of the Panthéon in Paris, and I couldn’t resist finding out more about him! I’m very open to writing more novels set in foreign locales, but . . . I wouldn’t write one just to write one. I’d have to have a great idea or a great character first. There always has to be a reason.

What are your favorite and least favorite moments in AATFK?

I don’t have a least favorite moment, though it was difficult to write the scene that takes place in the patisserie (not because of the desserts, but because of the content of the conversation). My favorite moment is easy — their first kiss! Swoon!

Is there a secret about one of your characters you can share with us?

Rashmi was originally two characters: Rashmi and a girl named Jennifer, who was dating Josh. Both characters were reading flat, so I combined them into one, and BOOM. An interesting character. Combining characters is one of my favorite writing tricks, something I use in almost every story I write or every critique I give. It adds instant depth.

You’ve said on your blog you think books should have more kissing in them (I couldn’t agree more), what’s the best kiss you’ve ever seen, read or had?

Oh, heavens. What a great question! The best kiss is the first one I shared with the man who became my husband. We met online, and we lived across the country from each other, and we didn’t get to meet in-person for nearly five months. When he stepped off the airplane, we didn’t even speak — we moved straight into a kiss! We even had an audience, because he’d been telling our story on the airplane, and I’d been telling the people waiting beside me at the terminal. It was very, very romantic.
I know it’s still super secret but what can you share about your upcoming projects?

I wish I could tell you! Soon, soon. All I can say now is that LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR (September 2011) takes place in America, and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Fall 2012) wraps things back up in France. ANNA, LOLA, and ISLA are companion novels, which means that each story was written to stand alone. But they do have character overlap, so it’ll be more fun to read them all!


Told you she was fabulous! Thank you Stephanie! Be sure to follow her on twitter @naturallysteph or visit her official site here.

Want a chance to win a copy of Anna & the French Kiss? Enter our giveaway here.
As always, it’s not a requirement to follow us, but we would love you x 1000 if you followed us using the Google Friends Connect located on the right sidebar :)

You can see our review of Anna & the French Kiss here.

Book Reviews
February 2, 2011 posted by Christina

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephenie Perkins

“Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long awaited French kiss?”

For ages all I ever heard was about this book was mostly OMG SO GOOD, LOVED IT!!! or BEST BOOK EVER. And always in caps lock. After the 100th tweet of that nature, I thought, alright time to bump it up on my TBR pile, this one’s next.

When Anna’s fake tanned, bleached teeth, Nicholas Sparks-esque father ships her off to the School of America in Paris, a French boarding school, she is less than impressed. With no more than oui and crepe in her French vocabulary it’s safe to say she was in over her head.

Fortunately, right after her arrival she meets Meredith and is taken under her wing along with her group of friends – Josh, Rashmi and…Étienne St. Clair. We learn from the blurb all of Étienne’s merits – smart, charming, beautiful, as well as his downfall – Ellie, his girlfriend. Though there’s a spark from the first moment Anna and Étienne meet, he, and any feelings other than friendship, are strictly off limits…or are they?

I guess looking at the story objectively there isn’t anything new being conveyed here -it’s a boy meets girl kind of story, but what Stephanie Perkins does so amazingly well is the story’s execution.  The writing is COMPLETELY absorbing and realistic, but cute, with characters that are endearing and display real emotion that you can’t help but invest your whole heart into their story.

Living vicariously has always been a favorite hobby of mine. After being introduced to a character like Étienne St. Clair, it didn’t take me long before I firmly planted myself in Anna Oliphant’s place. He has an English accent and can speak perfect French; he’s intelligent, witty, loves history and has stacks of books in his room. I die. Oh, and he’s gorgeous.

Sometimes I found it a bit irritating being constantly reminded how beautiful Anna thinks he is but it’s a flaw that’s easily forgiven. Especially since, when you’re that infatuated with someone it is sometimes all you can think about.

Étienne isn’t all perfection though, he has faults and issues that he deals with – some are more serious, like his issues with his dad, others are kind of cute, like his fear of heights.

Anna is a very endearing character; her looks aren’t classically beautiful but reminded me of Georgia May Jagger. She’s smart, funny and a total movie buff with a few neurotic tendencies. She’s strong but has her moments of weakness; she’s brave but sometimes gets scared – scared of confronting the truth, scared of being alone, even scared of feeling things that she knows to be wrong. Though these qualities might be flaws, they are what make her real.

I really loved that Anna and Étienne’s relationship was based on friendship, running slowly and naturally and took time to develop over the course of the year, as opposed to some books that take place in a time span of two weeks and both characters had to work hard for the desired outcome.

The chemistry between these two was electric and yet so sweet. There were moments that were so perfect it made me squirm with excitement making the book a total guilty pleasure, because only in a work of fiction can you create such perfection. This is the stuff daydreams are made of – I’m looking at you chapter twenty.

Sure some parts felt like a fantasy, but they’ve been masterfully brought to life with a dose of realism that let you believe in the story that’s being played out.

When I spotted a quote by Pablo Neruda (uttered by the charming Étienne), this book stole my heart for good. Quotes by Neruda? I die. I totally Rachel-Zoe-seeing-something-amazing die.

No doubt, Anna and the French Kiss will be the kind of book that friendships are formed over.
“Do you like Glee?”
“No….do you like Italian food?”
“Do you like Anna and the French Kiss?”

Usually, hype makes me nervous; it can set a book up to be a major disappointment. So while I tried not to have high hopes, any fears I had were for naught. I’m sure next time you look up awesome in the dictionary, the cover of this book will be there.  In the end all I can say is – J’adore ce livre!

Pages: 372
Publication Date: December 2010
Publisher: Penguin
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “I mean really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It’s so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn’t have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.”

Did you love Anna and the French Kiss as much as I did? Come share your favorite part in the discussion thread! Click here.