So I’ve decided to try NaNoWriMo this year. And this may seem very off brand of me, but I decided to stick to a contemporary romantic-ish story, that can either be classified as YA or early adult. Whatever. It’s a love story that is not really about their love story, but anyway, I’m figuring it out.
I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary lately to get the feel of it and for this week I have read nothing but Stephanie Perkins’ books. They are a quick read, in one sitting if you have the freedom of time, and they are very, for the most part, entertaining.
OK, truthfully, I did not like it entirely. There are certain parts that I would have chosen not to read at all or just to skim through altogether, but I read on because I was afraid I would miss out on an important detail. And that’s when you know that you like the book you are reading. When you want to finish it.
In fairness to Stephanie Perkins’ books, maybe I’m too old to really appreciate her books. Maybe too old is not the right description. But yes, her books is like the romantic version of The Catcher In The Rye. All the time I was reading about her characters I was like, This is your big problem? Wait until your old enough to start worrying about taxes. But I think that is the whole concept of the book, to transport you in time when you are more trusting and more vulnerable and when you’re more malleable to life’s ups and downs.
I though I’d share my thoughts on each book. Spoilers may be had so brace yourself.
Anna and the French Kiss
What It’s About – This is a story about a girl who moves to France for her Senior year. She’s pissed that she has to be away from her friends and her sort of boyfriend. Like girls her age, Anna finds it hard to make friends in her new school. But it is especially hard for her because well, she’s very unwilling to like her new place and her being stubborn is the one thing that’s holding her back. Good thing for her, she has found her group of equally stubborn weirdos and she finds Paris to be not so bad after all. Of course it also helped that a very handsome, very British guy, with a cool sounding name Etienne St. Clair, belongs in this group. Problem is he is taken and she is in a sort of relationship, so nothing can happen. But because they are both lonely, they find each other and found themselves loving each other even in the worst of times. Their love was not easy because of this and that circumstances, but you know young love, it conquers everything.
What I Think About It – It’s hard to like a character that you somehow associates as your opposite. For a person who can’t afford to be sent to Paris I kind of hated Anna for being kind of a bitch. But I had to remember that I was once a bitch too. That like Anna I hated my parents for my own reasons. As for St. Clair, oh this guy. I think I can relate more to him than to Anna. He is a mess and he hides the fact that he is a mess. He stays in a relationship because, well, it’s safe and it gives him the illusion that he is not as broken about his situation than he actually is.
As for Anna and St. Claire’ (I respect the fact that only Anna can call him Etienne. Readers of the book will know what this is about) relationship. I must say I would have done the same. I would have tried to hide the fact that I like this guy because he has a girlfriend. And I’ve met some shitty guys over the years and St. Clair seems less shitty than the others, so yeah, okay.
Read this book when you are feeling kind of down and need a pick me up. When you need a proper lovey dovey book that you can read in like a day. If you also like YA books, this is your bag. I think this is a very girly book, but I think boys would enjoy this too and can learn a lot about what girls think.
Lola And The Boy Next Door
What It’s About – Lola has been dreading the return of her former love and former neighbor, Cricket. After two years of not seeing him, she has learned to forget about him and it also helped that he has a very cute (at least she thinks so) very older than her boyfriend, Max. Her gay parents do not approve of their 17-year-old daughter, dating a 22-year-old occasionally pot smoking rocker wannabee. Her parents keep a protective eye on her and she copes, because well, as any teenager, she sneaks behind their back anyway. Life seems to be perfect until Cricket comes back next door and into her life. She feels the old love coming back and Cricket feels the same. She struggles to remain loyal to her boyfriend but her parents would prefer her dating the age appropriate Cricket. The story talks about family life, having to grow up and make rough decisions and being loyal to the people you love most.
What I Think About It – I liked this more than Anna and the French Kiss. Sorry St. Clair, I just like Cricket more! Lola is also a lot more relateable, at least for me, because she is eccentric and she dresses the way that she likes and she is not afraid to be weird and I admire that. I also liked the fact that about 75% of the book revolved on their own family struggles because if you really think about it, you only spend 18 (for some people younger) years of your life with your family and the rest is about you trying to figure out where you want to go. Cricket who is extremely loyal to his twin is struggling with the fact that his twin doesn’t like the girl he loves and Lola deals with it by impressing the pants of her. That is very real. We sometimes forget we try to build this very likeable persona that is sometimes very different to the person we actually want to project. And that’s what makes the person that we are with our partner even more important. I don’t necessarily believe that there will be another person in the world who can understand myself besides me but the person that we choose to love, they become the next best thing.
I also liked the fact that Stephanie manages to squeeze Anna and St. Clair in this story to give us a feel that all of her characters exist in one universe. But really, I didn’t miss them at all. But still, a great thing for people who are curious as to what Anna and St. Clair are like in a proper relationship.
Read this when you’re pissed off with your family. When you think your parents are completely against you. When you are starting to date and you feel disappointed that the person you like is not what he/she seems. When you are trying to figure out who you are and coming to accept the fact that nothing is permanent.
Isla And The Happily Ever After
What It’s About – This story goes back and forth to two different locations. It started in New York, when a very drugged up Isla (calm down, it’s post wisdom tooth extraction high) saunters into a cafe and finds her long time, recently single crush, Josh. They shared an afternoon that she has very little memory of, because of the drugs. Back in Paris where she goes to High School (the same place where Anna and the French Kiss takes place), the same High School where Josh goes, he fills her in as to what happened that day. Josh is lonely because his friends (which includes Anna and St. Clair) graduated the year before and he is stuck with nobody. Isla finally found the courage to be his friend, secretly hoping they can be more than friends. Turns out Josh feels the same way about her and they are blissful, hiding the fact that they are scared for their future when they would be forced to be apart, because of College and the fact that Josh is a slacker that can be expelled from school at any time.
What I Think About It – This is a lot harder for me to read because it pisses me off when characters are illogical and coming to the wrong conclusions, in short, very human. I get that Isla is somehow jealous of Josh’s past and not being more a part of it than she would like but they have only been dating for a month. A month! And somehow, Josh manages to get himself expelled and they are torn between the distance of New York and Paris and they try so hard to involve each other in their lives and in their future which is never a healthy thing to do when you are 17-18-years-old – 17-18-year-old people might disagree, but I have lived longer. What I liked about it is that a majority of the book is them enjoying their relationship, which sets it apart from the first 2 books even if the characters are borrowed from the first book. My attention wanes when Isla broke up with Josh for all the wrong reasons I think, and I still have 3 more chapters to read but I somehow know that they’ll end up together anyway. So all in all, very cool.
Read this when you liked the first 2 books. I don’t particularly like that this the ending for this trilogy or maybe because I am just biased because of Cricket. I mean Josh sounds hot, but Cricket all the way.
Have you read any of Stephanie Perkins’ books? What you think about it? Hit me in the comments!