Lola and the Boy Next Door

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Author: Stephanie Perkin
Pages: 338
Publication Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Lola Nolan loves to wear wigs, sparkling outfits - in short she loves to be bold and fabulous. Her life seems to be right on track. She has supportive friends, caring fathers and a hot boyfriend, who is a rocker. Everything is working out just fine until the return of her next door neighbors - the Bells.

Lola Nolan: a seventeen-year-old high school junior with intent interest in costumes. She usually makes her own outfits. She lives with her two fathers in San Fransisco.
Nathan Nolan: One of Lola's father. He is very protective of Lola.
Andy Nolan: One of Lola's father. Andy owns a pie store. Even he cares of Lola as much as Nathan, Andy is not as strict as Nathan.
Max: Lola's twenty-two-year-old boyfriend, whom Lola's fathers are not approved of. He is in a rock band.
Lindsey Lim: Lola's best friend. She loves the idea of being a detective, so she usually called Lola "Ned", a character from Nancy Drew
Cricket Bell: a smart and kindhearted eighteen-year-old boy who is handy when it comes to electronic devices. He also possesses a great sense of style and is very tall.
Calliope Bell: Cricket's twin sister. She is talented figure-skater and she dislikes Lola.
Norah Nolan: Lola's birth mother and a former alcoholic. Norah is also Nathan's younger sister.
Anna: Lola's coworker at the theater.
Etienne St. Clair: Anna's boyfriend and Cricket's dorm-mate.

Once again Stephanie Perkin wowed me with her work. In this book, even it is another love story other then Anna and St. Clair's, Perkin included them in the story as well. As a recommendation, if you have not have a chance to read "Anna and the French Kiss", well, you'd better read that first before this one.

Let's move back to Lola. I really love this book. I don't know how it possible, but frankly speaking, I like this Lola's story more than Anna's.

As I has said before, I am a sucker for books with great covers. With just one quick glance, I was hooked. Comparing with the previous book, "Lola and the Boy Next Door" definitely has a better cover. I love the clear blue sky in the background. Moreover, if we pay more attention on the cover, we can see every detail of both characters, Lola and Cricket, such as the wig (Lola almost always wears wigs) and the rubber bands that Cricket usually wears on his wrist.

I absolutely adore Lola. She is very quirky, beautiful, fun and smart. Besides, I like the fact that she does not afraid of being herself, even though being herself means wearing bright yellow raincoat in a clear weather.

Cricket, on the other hand, is more charming than St. Clair. He is unbelievably kind. The way the author describes Cricket makes it sound too good to be true. Any way, that is the point of a fiction, I guess. The way he cares for Lola is extremely sweet, which makes the story even more interesting.

I cannot wait for the next book by Stephanie Perkin, Isla and the Happy Ever After.

Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkin
Pages:  372
Publication Date: December 2, 2010 
Publisher: Dutton Books
Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Anna is less than thrilled when her parents tell her she is going to a boarding school in Paris. Anna does not plan to leave her life in Atlanta where her friends, her job and everything else are. She definitely does not plan to meet Etienne St. Clair, a boy who teaches her so much more about life and love. They seem like a perfect match... if only St. Clair were not already taken.

Anna Oliphant: the main protagonist of the story. She loves movies and plans on becoming a well-known female film critic.
Etienne St. Clair: a Parisian with British accent, whose mother is an American and father is a French, that he does not get along well with. He is charming and understanding.
Bridgette Saunderwick: Anna's best friend in Atlanla. She is a skillful drummer.
Toph: Anna's crush back in Atlanta. He is in a rock band.
Sean: Anna's seven-year-old brother.
Ellie: St. Clair's girlfriend. She does not study with them since she is now a college student. 
Meredith: Anna's next-door neighbor at the dorm. She is the first person that becomes Anna's friend in Paris. She loves football (soccer, in US). 
Rashmi: another girl in Anna's group of friends at the boarding school. She's Josh's girlfriend. 
Josh: St. Clair's best friend. He is a gifted artist, but he does not take school seriously. 

The book really lives up to my expectation. It is funny, romantic and full of surprises. The first impression from that book is that I love the cover and the title is attractive. When I read the first few pages, I was very interested in Anna since she is very realistic than some other protagonists.

The love story between Anna and St. Clair is very interesting. Until many other main characters, St. Clair and Anna have many flaws, as well as their good qualities. By adding those flaws, the author makes the characters and situations they can somehow be related to.

One point that I find a bit cheesy is that why everyone has to love St. Clair. The author makes it clear that St. Clair is charming, good-looking and all, but it does not have to mean that he will be loved by everybody. And the fact that both Anna and St. Clair have bad relationship with their father is a bit repetitive for me.

I love the part that Anna is being betrayed by her friend, Bridgette. The way that Anna handles the situation is amazing to me. Stephanie Perkin really does an outstanding job capturing the feeling of teenagers during this phase in their lives.

But I Love Him

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Author: Amanda Grace
Pages:  245
Publication Date: May 8, 2011
Publisher: Flux
Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

There might be one point in time when you love someone so much that you are willing to accept anything about them. Likewise, Ann loves Connor dearly that she doesn't care how serious Connor's problem with controlling his temper is.

Ann: A senior and a captain on track team. She leaves with her mother before she moves out with her boyfriend on her eighteenth birthday.
Connor: Ann's nineteen-year-old boyfriend. He has issue with anger management.
Abby: Ann's best friend. She tries to help Ann, but later they fall apart
Blake: Captain on  track team. He has a crush on Ann 
Nancy: Connor's mother.
Jack: Connor's father, an ex-con. He also has issue with anger management 
Mark: Ann's coworker

This book is by far the best book I have read this year, and probably ever. The way the author choosing to tell the story in reverse chronological order makes me even more eager to find out what made the relationship between Ann and Connor boil down to this.

The story starts from the end. The journey takes us back to the development of the relationship between two teenagers, Ann and Connor. When I started reading this I questioned myself why the hell Ann still puts up with the abusive relationship. Connor calls her names and hits her contently. Afterward he apologizes and promises there will be no more, but the opposite is true. However Ann always forgives him. 

Then, the more I read, the more I understand how complicated their relationship is. Maybe somehow Ann hopes that one day the Connor that she once knew will be back. I think she has hope and is willing to take risk so that she could be happy with the one she truly loves. 

Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Pages: 289
Publication Date: February 2, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Corrinne Corcoran's life is dramatically changed when her father is laid off due to recession. Since living in Manhattan, New York, is not going to be easy for them, her parents decide to send her and Tripp, her brother, to Broken Spoke, where their grandparents live. Since then Corrinne has faced so many changes.

Corrinne Corcoran: a sixteen-year old, beautiful, spoiled rich girl from Manhattan. She is sent to live with the grandparents in Broken Spoke, Texas when the family is having a financial problem due to the recession.
Cole Corcoran: Corrinne's father. He is an investment banker in New York.
Jenny Jo Corcoran (J.J): Corrinne's mother and a former model. She left Broken Spoke for New York when she was 21 and has never been back until then.
Tripp: Corcoran's little brother. He is twelve and sweet. He wants to spend more time with Corrinne, but she tends to disappoint him.
Waverly: Corrinne's best friend. They have planned to be roommates when they come to Kent, a boarding school. However, their plan fails since Corrinne has to move to Broken Spoke.
Billy Bo Houston: Corrinne's grandfather
Sandy Jean Houston: Corrinne's grandmother. She loves cooking and her food tastes great also. She is still working.
Kitsy Kidd: a sophomore and a Mockingbirdette (a cheer leader). She is nice to Corrinne and they become best friends later on. Kitsy is skillful with makeups.
Hands: Kitsy's boyfriend and also a quarterback of the football team.
Bubby: Hands' friend and teammate. He is in the same class with Corrinne and showing that he is interested in her, but she doesn't return the interest. He never gives up though.
Rider: a wannabe rock star. He is in the band called Friday Night After the Light. He also works at the stable with Corrinne.
Ginger: owner of the stable and an old friend of Corrinne's grandmother. She is Corrinne's employer as well.
Kiki: Kitsy's seven-year-old brother. He is the town's champion mutton buster.
Luis: Spanish teacher and also football coach
Sweetbread: Corrinne's horse
Mr. Chin: owner of Chin's Chinese Restaurant

The first thing that interested about this book is the cover, of course. I am a sucker when it comes to books with  attractive designs. As for this book, the cover is so sweet and it's hard to resist for me. One more point is that the tittle itself is eye-catching, as well. Due to other distractions, I tend to spend more days finishing this book than I have expected. However, it was a joy during the reading process, even though it is not the best one of the best books I have read, I have to agree that it is well-written.

The first thought that came to me when I read this book is Corrinne is a spoilt brat. She is used to the life that she can get whatever she want. So when everything doesn't turn out as she has expected, she just freaks out. Well, maybe if we look at the situation from her perspective, it might be normal to freak out. She has to leave my big city life behind and start a new one, where everything is totally different. 

Speaking of her life in Broken Spoke, I think it is not so bad at all. She still goes to school, even now it is a public school. She also can out with friends and the curfew is not bad at all. Midnight for a sixteen-year-old girl is very generous in my option. But still, maybe I look at it from my view only. 

There are many transformations that happen to Corrinne. She changes from being a shallow, impolite, ill-tempered young woman to a thoughtful and understanding person. Her relationship with her mother is also getting better. I am touched by what Tripp has written about Corrinne being his heroine. It is so sweet.