Tag Archives: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Redesign Reactions [1]: Anna and the French Kiss

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (+ companions) by Stephanie Perkins!

Just before the release of the last book in the series (ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER), the companion series that kicked off with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS got a major cover overhaul! For a long time, fans er… expressed their opinions about the cheesy covers and how they especially didn’t do justice to the words inside. I know before I read ANNA, I totally judged a book by its cover (IT HAPPENS. We can’t avoid that) so the redesign might be doing it a little more justice now! Let’s take a look at old and new and see what you think:

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This redesign happened right before the third book came out. I know lots of people (me included) like to have their series with the same covers and in the same format so LUCKILY the publisher took notice and actually re-released ANNA and LOLA in hardcover with the new covers so people could now have matching series to include the new ISLA cover (well, original cover to this book, new design concept).

Personally, I’m not 100% sold on the redesign. I do like that they got rid of the cheesy cover models and setting. Everything looked very photoshopped together and nothing seemed to really fit well on the cover. I do like more about the redesign than I dislike. I love the colors schemes for these, LOVE the settings of the books in the background, and I like how each book/girl gets their own sort of symbol to represent them (heart, star, rose). What I’m not sold on? The font isn’t great. It didn’t have to be crazy typography or anything but it just felt a little TOO plain… but maybe I’m just being overly analytical! I like that the little symbols are there but I’m not a huge fan of their placement how simple they are as well (but then again, they wouldn’t really be able to be used as symbols/icons if they were extremely detailed).

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which Anna and the French Kiss cover do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

 

Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: August 14, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 28, 2014
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, My True Love Gave To Me

    From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

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With ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS being one of my all-time favorite books, especially after my recent re-read in preparation for ISLA, I felt a lot of pressure to fall in love with ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER the way I did with ANNA. I enjoyed LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, but no book has really hit so many feelings and perfect moments and got those perfect couples just right like ANNA did so I was a bit intimidated with the last book in this set of companions.

I was so grateful to be able to borrow the ARC from Carolina from Book Problems (thank you again!!) and I immediately dove in. Right off the bat, I noticed a big difference between ISLA and the first two books, which was neither good nor bad… Just different. Anna and Lola both have an instant chemistry (Anna after just meeting St. Clair and Lola after reuniting with Cricket) but ISLA really jumps right into the meat and potatoes of the romance. We know from Isla’s narration that she’s had a long-time crush on Josh and re-readers of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS are able to see snippets of moments that Isla mentions in her narrative, which I always love and think is incredibly exciting! Readers don’t have to wait long for the meet-cute that brings Isla and Josh together again, the summer before senior year is about to start (in fact, it’s the first thing that happens in the book) and immediately the two start to hit it off.
For me, the immediate transition from crush to full-on relationship felt a bit rushed. I know, I know, Isla has been crushing on him for years, right? But as a reader, I didn’t get to see that point of view. I was missing all the build-up, the feelings, the missed moments, the locked eyes, the beating hearts — all of the amazing tension that happened like it did with Anna and St. Clair. Of course, I know the books won’t all be the same and they can’t ALL follow the same romance pattern, but I did feel like I was missing a lot of the build-up that I love seeing so much in new relationships.

The whole story of ISLA was definitely different than the other girls, which I really enjoyed. She’s a year younger than Anna and St. Clair so she always saw their group of friends as sort of the… well, popular kids for lack of a better term. She really admired their group and having a huge crush on Josh, always felt like there was no way to crack that close knit group. She also has a best friend from both home and who also attends SOAP who has a mild form of autism (falling under the umbrella of Asberger’s) so it was really interesting to see their relationship as well as how that affected Isla’s romantic relationship having a male best friend, once that started to form. I really loved the way Stephanie Perkins handle all of this and thought it could not have been pulled off better. It was really great to see that kind of friendship and whereas Anna and St. Clair had a friendship that we all rooted for to turn into a romance, Isla and Kurt really are strictly friends and Kurt is never jealous of Josh in a romantic way. If ever feelings are hurt (which you know will be inevitable), it’s just because he misses his friend who he’s used to spending all of his time with, and I really loved that.

This is the hard part to review because it just kills me… I didn’t really quite connect with Isla and Josh as much as I had hoped. Isla felt a bit too insecure for my liking. She sabotaged herself too many times and I can understand being afraid to talk to someone, to take a chance, to put yourself out there, to take the next step… But I felt like it happened a lot in the book and there was one specific time where it was just so frustrating that I got upset. She’s a very smart girl — the top of her class — but not always the most social girl. That never bothered me since I’m not the most outgoing person myself and often feel awkward or shy in public… But the self-sabotage really just pained me a little bit. I felt bad for Isla and at the same time I wanted to shake her and tell her to cut it out!
I also didn’t connect to Josh as much as I wanted to. I heard some great things before the book about how swoony he was and people loving Josh more than St. Clair (though for me, I don’t know if ANYONE could ever top St. Clair) so admittedly, I was expecting a lot. I really liked Josh but he felt very different from the best friend Josh that I knew in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, perhaps because I really just didn’t know that much about him at that point. Josh has his own past and skeletons in his closet to deal with and it doesn’t make for an easy time with school or with Isla. I liked Josh, but I just couldn’t fall in love with him. I kept waiting for that chemistry to hit me like a ton of bricks and I just didn’t ever really FEEL the spark or the butterflies.

The ending of the book was just perfect in every way. MY FAVORITE PART happened at the very end (like, OMG best thing ever) and it was so great to see everything really wrap up and also tie all three books together. Despite a few qualms as the book progressed, I really loved the way everything wrapped up and I was able to see exactly how much Isla and Josh had both learned from the experiences they went through. There was one small thing that I thought didn’t have to be taken THAT far, but that’s a spoilery thing and reveals how the book wraps up so I can’t really expound on that in my review! Overall, I really enjoyed ISLA and zipped right through it, but ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is still the clear winner of my heart!

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Isla // Character Obsessions: School, Josh, Kurt, traditions.
Isla is a smart girl. She’s very practical and is usually the voice of reason amongst her family. The only time she really takes a chance is with Josh and after what happens once they’re together. She has some big insecurities that tripped me up a bit, simply because they were hard to read. I mean, I know I’ve had similar feelings so maybe that’s why it was hard for me? But it wasn’t just that they were present, but that they persisted even when things were good. Anyway. I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped but I really loved seeing the Isla from the beginning and the Isla from the end and seeing how much she grew as a person and how much she taught herself.
Josh // Character Obsessions: Art, projects, relaxing, going after what he wants.
Josh was… nice. I just didn’t ever connect with him. I think it was harder because he was so outgoing when he was with his friends, but with Isla, he seemed much less vocal and a lot more… well, not physical, though they were a more physical couple than previous Stephanie Perkins characters… But I just didn’t feel like he SAID as much and much Isla, I felt like I kept trying to get into Josh’s head and just couldn’t.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Stephanie Perkins. Even though ANNA remains my favorite of the trio, I’m pretty sure any Stephanie Perkins book is still an auto-buy for me! I just love all of the feelings (not just romantic FEELS but the way everything really make the reader think and reflect and relate) and how every book really comes together just perfectly.
Left Me Wanting More: Chemistry. I’m sure many readers will just KILL ME over this, but I just didn’t get the chemistry between Isla and Josh. Maybe I still had an Anna/St. Clair hangover because those two honestly do just kill me a little… But I never quite got in the groove of Isla & Josh 🙁

Addiction Rating
Read it!

You must read the last book in this trio of wonderful contemporaries! Despite the missed connections for me, it was still a really nice, solid read and I did enjoy it! If you’ve read the first two, you just need to see this one see the companions through as well!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 Nantucket red    just one day

Casting Call [8] – Lola and the Boy Next Door


Welcome to Casting Call, hosted by Tee @ YA Crush, Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks, Candice @ The Grown-Up YA, Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan, and of course, me too! Each Friday we’ll take a couple characters from our favorite books and discuss who we’d think would be perfect for the roles! And of course this gives us the opportunity as well to rehash our favorite parts of the story and swoon over all those dream literary crushes of ours.
Casting Call is now a weekly meme for you to join in on the fun! Just check out the schedule at any one of the host blogs and join us on Fridays!

First up this week, we’re casting for Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins! If you haven’t read the book, here’s a quick summary from Goodreads:

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.


My review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

 

Anna Sophia Robb as Lola Nolan

Lola: I chose Anna Sophia Robb for my Lola – I just think she could do a great job balancing between quirky and serious and she’s someone I could picture dressing up in Lola’s costumes and not looking totally out of place. I really think she could pull off the role perfectly. 

Cory Monteith as Cricket Bell

Cricket: Tall, lanky, a little goofy. I just pictured Cory Monteith the whole time. I know he’s a little bit older in real life, but hey, he plays a teenager on Glee (although I haven’t watched in a long time). I just couldn’t picture anyone else. 

Nathan and Andy (Lola’s dads): I know it’s incredibly stereotypical of me, but I really did picture Mitchell and Cameron from Modern Family as Lola’s two dads. I’m a huge fan of Modern Family and so that was just the image I had.

Do you agree with my choices? Who would you have put in these roles? And as for every week, be sure to check out everyone else’s choices! Catch who they picked and show them some comment love too!

And don’t forget, this is a weekly meme for you to participate in too, so link up over at Teen Lit Rocks so we can see who your choices are!

Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA
Tee @ YA Crush
Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan

And don’t miss us next Friday when we cast The Selection by Keira Cass!

*Disclaimer: In our development of this feature, we discovered that the book blog Lit Snit featured “Casting Call Fridays” back in 2010. Our Casting Call feature is in no way purposefully copying or stealing this idea and any similarities in  format, casting choices, etc are purely coincidental.

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: September 29, 2011 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 3, 2012
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

    Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. 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.

Breaking It Down Further: Lola Nolan is happy. She has two parents who love her, a killer-hot boyfriend, and a love for fashion and flair that keep her life interesting. That is, until the Bells move back in. Next door. Where they used to live. And now Lola has to once again face the mean and snobby Calliope Bell, and her twin brother Cricket – the “one that got away” and broke her heart when they moved without a word. Now that he’s back – and Lola’s still dating Max – what happens when feelings resurface and they once again meet face to face?

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I had a right to be a bit reserved when I picked up LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. There was no way this could be better. And at least for me, I was a little right. Anna was me. I was Anna. I just got her and then throw in a European romance and hellooooo. Heaven!
But Lola is a character. She’s kind of my antithesis — Not in a bad way. Just everything I’m not. Outgoing, into fashion, noticeably unique, bold. She lives on the other side of the country, she has two dads who adopted her from her irresponsible birth parents. She’s dating an older guy who’s also a rock star. Just none of that was really easy for me to relate to. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy. Don’t get me wrong – Lola is a lot of fun! It just took me a while to warm up to her and figure out the depth of her actual character, a lot of which I don’t think really came out until we got more involved with Cricket.

Small complaint #2: I don’t like unusual character names. Lola. Cricket. Calliope (although that one’s not as bad). It just really takes away from the story feeling as “real” as it could be and puts me farther from connecting with a character.

Okay, that being settled — I loved Cricket. I felt so bad for him in the beginning where he’s clearly still into Lola and she’s clearly not in a healthy relationship with Max and the whole time I’m like, “Come ON just dump your stupid boyfriend and go be with Cricket!!!” He’s so cute and quirky in a more relatable way to me than Lola was (although I really did warm up to her – especially when we got to see her “natural” side on a few occasions).

I think the beginning was a little bit slower for me than the second half of the book. We got a little more tension and it really took off for me and the ending was SO cute. Another great Stephanie Perkins book! I can’t wait until she has more books coming out!

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Lola Nolan: Like I said, I was slow to warm up to Lola just because she was so the opposite of me in so many ways, but once the story got going and I learned more about her, more about her character’s feeling and insights, I really liked her a lot. I think she really matured throughout the book and I’m just glad she finally came to her senses! And yay, she likes Pushing Daisies! 10 points for that!!
Cricket Bell: Oh, he was so stinkin cute. I liked how we went from Etienne St Clair in Anna – who really had a lot of the same sense of humor and personality as Cricket in many ways – to Cricket Bell who is similar yet so completely different. It was the warm feeling, the sense of home and the first love that just made me long for this relationship to work. Ugh, those first-love-coming-back-into-your-life stories just kill me!!!
Nathan and Andy: I’m super sorry if this is stereotypical and insensitive of me, but I couldn’t help but see Lola’s dads as kind of a Cam-and-Mitchell-relationship on Modern Family. That’s the most prominent family dynamic I have in my mind as two gay men raising a daughter so it just stuck. It actually enhanced the story for me because I love the show and it was nice to be able to have a feeling of the characters that was so familiar, even if it may have been wildly inaccurate from what Stephanie Perkins was aiming for!

QUOTES

p55: “It’s easy to talk about the things we hate, but sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly why we like something.

p185: Lola: That was both ridiculously easy and way more complicated than it should have been. Cricket: (he smiles back) That’s my specialty.

p281: (Cricket) “And maybe some people thing that wearing a costume means you’re trying to hide your true identity, but I think a costume is more truthful than regular clothing could ever be. It actually says something about the person wearing it.”

p333: “I am trying really hard not to use the word ‘fabulous’ right now,” Andy says
That one made me laugh out loud!

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Read it!

LOLA was definitely cute and I loved reading another Stephanie Perkins book! But it didn’t hold a candle to ANNA for me!!

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