There’s Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins

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I’m a huge Stephanie Perkins fangirl. I’ve read Anna, Lola, and (my favorite) Isla too many times to keep track of. I cried when I met Stephanie Perkins. She’s one of my biggest influences as a writer. I wrote this blog post! But I was worried – really worried – when I learned her newest book would be a horror novel. I’m seriously the most sensitive person in the world when it comes to being scared. I didn’t know if I could handle reading it, but I also didn’t know if I could handle not reading it.

Well, in Halloween spirit I picked up the book. And of course, I sped through it. It had everything I love in a Stephanie Perkins novel – a nuanced and interesting heroine, a quirky love interest, the most swoon-worthy, romantic writing I’ve ever seen in YA. It also had someone killing people with a knife. And while I did stay up late to finish the book, I found I could handle it.  Continue reading “There’s Someone Inside Your House, by Stephanie Perkins”

Ten Reasons I Love Stephanie Perkins

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Guys, at first it was really hard for me to come up with this Tuesday’s topic. I LOVE so many bookish  things. There were so many options. But Stephanie Perkins is on my mind because one of my best friends finally read the Anna/Lola/Isla books and I finished Summer Days and Summer Nights (which Perkins edited) recently. Also I have like a thousand, or at least a hundred, reasons I love her so coming up with the top ten isn’t that hard. Here we go!

  1. So much romance! I loved Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After for so many reasons. But the biggest reason is that they are SO ROMANTIC. Serious swooning. I love how Perkins writes scenes where just sleeping together is more romantic than anything else that could happen … I also don’t mind the scene where more than just sleeping happens (winky face emoji).
  2. Female characters with strong passions. Anna loves movies. Isla loves fashion and costumes. A lot of the Isla story is about her not knowing herself and not knowing what she wants to do, but she loves reading and comics and adventure stories.
  3. Amazing settings. Paris. New York City. San Francisco. Barcelona. These novels take place in such magical cities and Perkins writes about them so perfectly!
  4. I love all three books, but Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favorite. It came out my first week in New York. I read it three times lying on a mattress on the floor, trying not to freak out about the fact that I lived here and it was so so scary.
  5. Even though Isla is my favorite book, Cricket Bell is my favorite boy in the series. He. Is. So. Dreamy. The rubber bands. The way is pants fit. Everything.
  6. I’ve really loved the two YA short story compilations Stephanie Perkins has edited. My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days and Summer Nights are full of romantic stories by some of my favorite YA authors. I highly recommend reading both of them.
  7. She’s been very open about being a writer and having depression in blog posts here and here and here. I read all three posts during my time in Big Sur trying to decide if I wanted to “be a writer” and they were incredibly helpful to me as a writer and a human. So brave.
  8. Her idea about creating love lists for story ideas is something I’ve used and relied on during revision. It’s some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received.
  9. She also gave some great NaNoWriMo advice.
  10. I met her the night I turned in my critical thesis first semester. I totally cried I was so excited to meet her. I’ve never reacted to any other author that way. And she was THE KINDEST, most gracious person about it. She gave me a hug. We took a picture. She asked me about my writing and chatted with me. I saw her at another event later in the week and she remembered me. Magic.

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme. Also, if you’ve read Stephanie Perkins I would love to know what your favorite book is. If you haven’t, do you have an author you feel this way about?

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins

20309175 (2)I can’t imagine liking young adult books and not being excited about My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins. This is not just because the book contains everything really good YA has- diversity, genuine and relatable emotions, snappy dialogue, and lots of swoon-worthy kissing. Mostly I just can’t imagine that anyone who reads young adult books doesn’t have at least one favorite author among the writers Perkins gathered together to create these twelve holiday stories. For me those favorites were Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Jenny Han, and Stephanie Perkins herself. But after reading all of these stories at least twice, and several of them several more times than that, I have lots of new-to-me YA authors I can’t wait to read more from. Seriously, what’s most shocking about this collection is that there are no weak link stories in the book. Each one is fun and thought provoking in its own way. Reading the stories for the first time one after another on the subway made my subway rides this winter the most fun they’ve been since I moved to New York.  Continue reading “Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins”

Marry, Date or Dump: Anna, Lola, & Isla

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Last week we did the boys from the series, now it’s on to the ladies! Whether you are a bigger fan of Anna (sensible, ambitious, in love with cinema), Lola (quirky, fashion-obsessed, original), or Isla (responsible, shy, intelligent) – I want to know about it in the comments! Let me know who you’d marry, who you’d date, and who you’d dump.  Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: Anna, Lola, & Isla”

Marry, Date or Dump: Etienne St. Clair, Cricket, & Josh

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I feel like I a dummy that I didn’t think of this book series sooner for marry, date or dump. I mean there are three boys and three girls, and almost 99% of my Internet friends are debating who there favorites are right now. I thought we’d start with boys. Let me know in the comments who you’d marry, date, and dump when given the choices of Etienne St. Clair, Cricket, and Josh. I’m usually pretty laissez-faire about how people answer, but this week I’m going to put my foot down and say you can’t marry all three (no matter how much you want to!).  Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: Etienne St. Clair, Cricket, & Josh”

Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

9627755Swoon swoon swoonity swoon swoon.

I didn’t faint from extreme emotion while reading this book … but the writing, character-development, tension, voice and (of course) romantic hero are all so incredible swoon-worthy in this book that I think if I were the fainting type Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins, would totally have had me reaching for my smelling salts.

In my mind Stephanie Perkins can do no wrong when it comes to contemporary YA romance. Like many fans of her previous books, I’ve been eagerly waiting and anticipating this last companion book. Continue reading “Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins”

Double Review: Stephanie Perkins

In the spirit if summer beach reads, this week we read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. The books are billed as flirty and fun, contemporary teen romances, and they did not disappoint. Where Perkins succeeds most is her ability to tap into the teenage girl psyche. She understands that to her readers platonically sleeping with a crush or having a boy brush your hair is sexier than, well, sex.

This companion set begins with Anna. She is forced to spend her senior year in a boarding school for American students in Paris. She wants no part of it. She misses her best friend, her mother and brother, and wants to be flirting with her crush who has only begun to notice her. Plus she doesn’t speak French. She is quickly absorbed into an existing friend group. As she slowly gets over her culture shock, the book follows Anna dealing with the dramas typical of a close-knit clique: jealousies, friends who move on, crushes with girl friends, family problems and more.

Perkins creates believable characters and manages to imbibe each episode with the right amount of importance. However, I felt some distance from the narrative. I couldn’t help thinking almost every chapter how much more I would have liked it if I had read it for the first time when I was in high school.  Despite the good writing and excellent pacing, I didn’t connect.

I had no such problem with Lola and the Boy Next Door. From the first page I loved Lola. Lola doesn’t wear clothes; she wears costumes. She lives in San Francisco with her two dads, dates a punk rocker in his early twenties, and has a serious grudge against her neighbors and childhood playmates, Calliope and Cricket Bell.  When they move back, Lola must sift through a lifetime of feeling for the boy next door.

For me, Lola was a more interesting and engaging character. Beyond her outrageous outfits, I found her funnier and more vibrant than Anna. Throughout the second book, I felt like there was more at stake. Both books have romance as the main plot, but while Anna spent most of her book trying to decide what boy she likes and what she should do about it, Lola deals with questions of her identity and struggles coming to terms with her birth parents.

Cricket Bell, boy next door and aspiring inventor, is probably my favorite character in the whole series. From the rubber bands he wears on his wrists to the detailed descriptions of the way he wears his pants, let’s just say that I have a serious crush … which feels a little creepy now that I am almost officially in my mid-twenties.

I suggest you read both books (not only because Anna pops up as a regular character in the second book) and decide for yourself. Both main characters are fantastic, because they each have distinct passions (Anna loves film, Lola sewing). They each have a strong sense of self, but remain vulnerable. If you want to travel back to the highs and lows of adolescence with two charmingly understated romances then these are the books for you. I can see myself rereading them when I want something like, and will definitely check out Perkins next novel, Isla and the Happily Ever After.

For further reading and reviews:

  • Anna and the French Kiss review on The Book Barbies
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door review on The Book Sleuth
  • Review on both books on Rampant Reads
  • Interview with Stephanie Perkins

*Update from February 2014: I don’t know why I didn’t connect with Anna’s story the first time I read it, but I just wanted to say that I’ve reread both books several times since writing this review. My opinion now, is that they are both really captivating, riveting, top-notch contemporary YA romances.