03 February 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Okay, so of all the three books so far in this series (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and this one), I liked Isla and the Happily Ever After the most. Isla was by far the most likable leading lady that Perkins was able to come up with. It's a pet peeve to me that all her guys seem to be perfect nice guys (ugh), but perhaps it's because we're reading it from the lady's rose-tinted and infatuated point-of-view.

I liked this book a lot because there was less bullshit. It's a slice-of-life story, and Isla is a breath of fresh air. She's shy, patient, and understanding... and even if we're reading it from her point of view, its obvious from the conversations and inner turmoils she has. Josh, on the other hand, is quite endearing. He's sweet but also oblivious to Isla's insecurities, which is where most of the book's conflict comes from.

And my favorite part of the book? Kurt. Kurt is Isla's childhood friend who has high-functioning autism. He's blunt and rude and can't tell a lie (which gets Isla and Josh expelled), but he's just so incredibly sweet and caring. I think he's actually the reason I like Isla a lot more than I liked the other leading ladies of Stephanie Perkins. Through him, you can actually see how good a person Isla is because she refuses to keep relations with people who don't care for Kurt's company.

As for Isla and Josh's relationship, it was more of chance that they got together, but they did appear to complement one another. Isla's conversation with a friend later on in the book explains why Isla and Josh work. It's simply because Josh is brash and Isla is gentle, and rather than push, they listen.

I'm giving this book a 3/5. It's no literary masterpiece but it makes a good, light read.

01 February 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #3

It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodin, but that guy – that guy right over there – that’s him.

Quite a short first paragraph, but there you go. That's the first paragraph (and sentence) of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. It's the third in the series though you don't necessarily need to read them in sequence, as each book can stand alone.

I've read the first two books. Nothing great, more of books that you read to pass the time but won't really make a lasting impression, hehe.

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea.

30 January 2017

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion... she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.

That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola's past be the love of her future?

Fall in love with the international bestseller from queen of young adult fiction, Stephanie Perkins.

Unfortunately, I'm giving this book a 2/5. I enjoyed the book before this one (Anna and the French Kiss), but I found the main characters of Lola and the Boy Next Door too eccentric to be relatable. Don't get me wrong -- Stephanie Perkins writes light-hearted stories that you want to be able to relate to. This one was about a typical "first love never dies" story about the boy-next-door. It tugs at your heartstrings and all, but... I feel as if the quirkiness of the characters seemed too force.

I loved everything else, though. I like how Lola had two overprotective fathers, and I liked how Cricket had a matching bitchy, protective sister. Max, Lola's older and rebellious boyfriend, added a good conflict to the story as well -- though I'm sensing that a recurring theme in Perkins's books is being torn between 'two lovers' and ultimately having to make the hard decision of letting go of a difficult relationship and realizing that someone else 'sees the real you'.

And... Lola, our leading lady. She insists on being seen as mature but nothing about her decisions (or personality!) were mature. At all. It was frustrating because Cricket seems genuinely nice, but here's Lola, who I have a hard time liking because she's just downright immature. It's not even just the strange costumes. That was more a quirk that anything else. It's the infatuation with the OLDER guy, the lying to her parents, the leading Cricket on, etc etc.

In summary, the overall premise (boy-next-door first love) was sweet and endearing, but the two main characters were not. Not a fan.