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Anna and the French Kiss Hardcover – December 2, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year in Atlanta: hang out with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the Royal Midtown 14 multiplex. So she is none too happy when her father sends her off to boarding school in Paris. However, things begin to look up when she meets Étienne St. Clair, a gorgeous guy–with a girlfriend. As he and Anna become closer friends, things get infinitely more complicated. Will Anna get her French kiss? Or are some things just not meant to be? Perkins has written a delightful debut novel with refreshingly witty characters. There is strong language and mention of sexual topics that make the book more appropriate for older teens. The chapters are concise, and the steady pacing leading up to the “will they or won't they?” moments will capture even reluctant readers. Teens will feel like they are strolling through the City of Lights in this starry-eyed story of finding love when you least expect it.–Kimberly Castle, Medina County District Library, OH. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Anna is not happy about spending senior year at a Paris boarding school, away from her Atlanta home, best friend Bridgette, and crush Toph. Adapting isn’t easy, but she soon finds friends and starts enjoying French life, especially its many cinemas; she is an aspiring film critic. Complications arise, though, when she develops feelings for cute—and taken—classmate Etienne, even though she remains interested in Toph. Her return home for the holidays brings both surprises, betrayals, unexpected support, and a new perspective on what matters in life—and love. Featuring vivid descriptions of Parisian culture and places, and a cast of diverse, multifaceted characters, including adults, this lively title incorporates plenty of issues that will resonate with teens, from mean girls to the quest for confidence and the complexities of relationships in all their forms. Despite its length and predictable crossed-signal plot twists, Perkins’ debut, narrated in Anna’s likable, introspective voice, is an absorbing and enjoyable read that highlights how home can refer to someone, not just somewhere. Grades 9-12. --Shelle Rosenfeld
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Lola and the Boy Next Door is a story about, obviously, Lola and another character: San Francisco. Since I just visited San Francisco there were so many parts of this story that stuck out for me this round of reading it: The Japanese Tea Garden, Mission Delores Park, the city itself.
Lola’s life is going well. She lives with her dads, she’s enjoying her boyfriend, Max, her job and her coworker named Anna. What Lola does not expect is her old neighbors, the Bell’s, to come back into her life.
One thing I constantly love about Perkin’s books is the sneaks of other characters, from Anna to St. Clair they all came back and helped to answer those unanswered questions.
Cricket and Calliope are the twins from next door. They are close as twins generally are. What Calliope never liked was how Lola took Cricket from her. She’s protective of him and Calliope is very much the alpha twin and changed Lola’s life. It’s a painful scene and a painful part about Cricket being in Calliope’s shadow for multiple years.
Lola goes from spending most of her life loving Cricket, to loathing him, to seeing him as a friend. The begin to talk again, they begin to go back to that friendship as they had as children, but better. Stronger. But there is still Max, the annoying boyfriend. While Lola spent years trying to move on from Cricket, Cricket has not moved on from Lola. He still likes Lola. Nothing has changed for him. Everything has changed for Lola though. She’s grown up. She’s dating Max. She’s a stronger different Lola, but to Cricket, she’s exactly the same.
It’s also painful when the characters make poor life choices because I want to shake them, but that’s something powerful about YA books that I love. Stephanie Perkin’s books are like coming home for me. Throughout Anna, Lola, and Isla all three characters I related to and adored. A re-read of Lola was just what I needed.
This book has pretty much everything I expected - a love triangle, a wonderful setting, a beautiful boy, drama, and a quirky lead character. Oh, and Anna and St. Clair are back, so there is that amazing aspect. There was one element in the book that surprised me - Lola's parents - but I loved it. I hadn't seen anything about them on the Internet, so it was a pleasant surprise.
I really enjoyed Lola as a character. As I was reading, I was so ecstatic to see a YA character with some unique interests. As a sewer, I loved that Lola was able to create her own outfits, and even save the day with her sewing machine! So kudos to Stephanie for including that in Lola's personality! I also loved that she was able to see past her genetic past and want to become a better person than who she thinks she was destined to be.
Cricket Bell... What can I say about Cricket Bell? He is pretty swoon-worthy, and I fell for him just as many readers of the series did. He's not only what is classified as a good-looking guy, but I loved that he was able to own up to his past mistakes in order to move forward in his life.
I wouldn't say that I loved this book as much as I loved Anna and the French Kiss, but it was a close second. Both books are great, but I do think that there was just a little more contemporary magic in the first book in the series. Regardless, Lola and the Boy Next Door was still an enticing read that I will cherish forever.
I loved every single character in this story with the exception of Max. Max is a big jerk. Lola is so quirky and fun. She is different from the average YA female lead character. She doesn't always fit in, but she isn't afraid of that. She does go trough a period of time where she can't decide if she should change her way and be more "normal" or continue with her funky Lola style that she is known for. Thankfully she stays true to herself, and that makes her even more likable. Cricket is the same way. He is not a cookie cutter hot guy love interest. He is so fun and loveable. Lola and Cricket are perfect for each other.
I give a huge round of applause for Stephanie for the simple fact that Lola's parents are gay. I think that we need more diversity in YA books.
Lola and the Boy Next door didn't have any slow parts, so I was able to continually read for hours and hours. I can't think of any bad things to say about it. I recommend this for lovers of Anna and the French Kiss and other YA contemporaries. 5 stars!