Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton Books (29th September 2011)

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the 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 neighbourhood.

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.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Stephanie Perkins writes the kind of contemporary romance that I enjoy. Lola and the Boy Next Door is a companion piece to Anna and the French Kiss – which I loved (you can find my review here) – so I thought I’d give it a try, and I was NOT disappointed.

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Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin USA (4th August 2011)

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s not too pleased when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including a handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately he’s taken – and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Anna and the French Kiss tells the story of Anna Oliphant; an American teenager sent to Paris by her father to go to boarding school for her senior year.  Stephanie Perkins relates a brilliant tale of contemporary romance for Young Adult readers in this book.

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Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy
Author: David Levithan
Genre:  Romance, Young Adult
Publisher:  HarperCollins (9th September 2003)

‘There isn’t really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They all got mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best . . . And whether your heart is strictly ballroom or bluegrass punk, the dance floors are open to whatever you have to offer. This is my town.’

Meet PAUL. Gay his whole life, and finding love as wonderful, confusing and heartbreaking as every other teenager in his high school.

Meet Paul’s friends:

JONI – his best friend, who  may not be his best friend any more;

TONY – his other best friend, who can’t leave the house unless his parent’s think he’s going on a date . . . with a girl;

INFINITE DARLENE – homecoming queen and star quarterback on the football team;

KYLE – the ex-boyfriend who won’t go away;

RIP – the school bookie who sets odds;

And NOAH – the boy who changes everything.

Witty, engaging, refreshingly upbeat and slightly surreal, this book is a celebration of love in all forms.

Rating: ***
(3 stars)

This is another book I picked up because it was on Sarah Rees Brennan (which you can find here). I’d also heard good things about the author, so I decided to give it a try.

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Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, UK edition cover.

Title: Revolution
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre:  Historical Novel, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher:  Bloomsbury( 3rd October 2011)

Andi is broken. She is failing school and failing life. Since the death of her brother, all she cares about is music. Taken to Paris by her estranged father, she makes a discovery that could transform everything. Hidden in the compartment of an old guitar case is a lost diary from Revolutionary France . . .

Alexandrine is a street performer who is trying to save a young life from the devastation of war. She writes her deepest thoughts in her diary, hoping that one day someone will read them and understand.

These two girls, though centuries apart, are tied together by more than just the diary. As its words transcend paper and time, Alexandrine’s past becomes Andi’s present and lives are changed for ever.

Rating: ****
(4 stars)

Revolution is a stand-alone young adult novel half set in Brooklyn, New York and half set in Paris, France both in the present day and during the late 1700s whilst the French Revolution is reaching its peak.

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Review: This Must Be Love by Tui Sutherland

Or how I made my midsummer dreams come true...

This Must Be Love by Tui Sutherland

Title: This Must Be Love (Or how I made my midsummer dreams come true . . .)
Author: Tui Sutherland
Genre:  Romance, Young Adult
Publisher:  Harper Collins Children’s Books (9th September 2011)

I know most good books explain a bit about the story on the back. And they often begin mid-conversation, but I think that for my story it is important to know that cast first, or else you’ll be like, “Who?” Or, even worse, you’ll get them all confused and think Dmitri and Alexander are the same person, which is SO clearly not the case, because Alex is the light of my life (even if he doesn’t know it yet).

Also, I wouldn’t want anyone calling Helena “Hermia” bt accident, or thinking I’m her, because I am the ONLY Hermia, and that’s all there is to it.

OK. Is everybody clear now? Good.

Hello? Why are you still reading this? Star the book!

Rating: *****
(5 stars)

This Must Be Love (Or how I made my midsummer  dreams come true…) is Tui Sutherland’s debut novel, and is a brilliant re-telling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is one of my favourite plays (as it has some of my favourite characters).

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Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lithuuanian WW2 novel

Between Shade of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, UK edition cover.

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Ruta Sepetys
Young Adult (YA), Romance, War
Publication Date:
7th April 2011

That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For her future.
For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to loose . . .
Will hope keep Lina alive?

Rating: ****
(4 stars)

Below the blurb in my edition of the book is the following section of text:

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

This is not the first fictional war story I have read, nor is it the first one based on a “true” account – for my A-Level (or was it AS?) English Literature I was obliged to devour several books and poems about World War II – nor is it even the first YA book with this theme I have read. What is new for me is the subject matter. This book is about the travesties that Russia under Stalin’s rule committed, particularly to the Baltic states – though the Lina and her family originate from Lithuania. It was an eye-opening read, as I honestly had no idea what happened in those states between 1941 and 1991 (it may have started earlier, I don’t know).

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