Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Description (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 thoughts:

Once in a while you find a book that puts you in awe - the story works, the characters are interesting and likable and the story is well-written. That happened earlier this year with Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss. I never expected that it would happen again so soon with a book by the same author. But yes, it happened, and I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. Stephanie Perkins has made me fall in love with two awesome guys - first Etienne, now Cricket.

Lola seems like the coolest girl in the world and I would kill to have a friend like her - she wears wild outfits, she has two dads and she works in a cinema. She is not afraid to be herself- and it seems that she is addicted to pretty good TV shows as well. She is going out with Max, who is a musician and older than she is. Everything changes when Cricket, a neighbor she has a a crush on, moves back. Before Cricket left, there was something between them, but now that Lola is with Max she cannot believe that she still has some type of feelings for Cricket. 

Cricket seems like such an adorable guy! His great-great grandfather or something like that was the guy who invented the telephone... or at least that is something a lot of people believe in even though Cricket has a bit different kind of opinion about this. Cricket himself is also into inventions, but he has always lived in his twin sister's shadow so he does not really trust in his talents. But when he is with Lola he can be himself - Lola recognizes his talent and encourages him to bring it out. 

I was so happy when I noticed that Anna and Etienne also have a small role in this book - they are now in San Francisco and Anna (and eventually also Etienne) work in the same cinema with Lola. The book is not about them and their relationship, but it was nice to read a bit more about them since they became such dear characters to me while reading Anna and the French Kiss.

Stephanie Perkins truly is a talented young adult writer - she is able to engage her readers by creating likable characters you can identify with. Her characters are unique and special, but they have their flaws, which makes them more realistic. I have truly enjoyed these two novels I have read by Stephanie Perkins and I cannot wait to read more from her.

And btw, these books would make perfect films! Who would you cast as Cricket? Who as Etienne?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Description (from Goodreads):

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

My thoughts:

I really do not know how to start this. The description already kind of makes you flinch, question everything and at the same time hurt - the prospect of reading about a relationship between a brother and sister makes you think that they must be some way twisted, but at the same time I expect to find out why they are in love. 

Maya and Logan have grown up too early - when their father left and moved to Australia with his new family, their mother started to drink, date new guys and eventually Lochan and Maya became the parents for their three younger siblings - they go to school, cook, shop, make sure their siblings are safe - they are responsible for everything. They have to keep up the appearances in order to keep the social services away, but everything gets difficult when Lochan and Maya realize they are in love with each other. 

Maya is pretty and loving, Lochan handsome and wanted by many girls at the school. But they feel that they can be themselves only when they are together - they have experienced so much together, they have pretty much raised three children together. They have always been more than siblings, but when they both realize they have feelings for each other that are not proper, they of course are scared. They are so completely drawn to each other that eventually the feelings cannot be kept at bay - this is the beginning of a very dangerous, very serious relationship. 

Lochan and Maya know it is not normal to love your own sibling the way they love each other - they kiss, they hug, they touch each other. It feels good, but at the same time they know it is very wrong. As they spend more and more time together the situation gets more and more serious, eventually resulting in something they never expected. Was it all worth the risk? Is their love worth the hiding and sneaking?

I am still gobsmacked by 'Forbidden'. The issues it handles are so realistic and the way the things and feelings are described is so realistic and because of that you really start to feel for these characters - you understand their decisions, their need to spend time together. You even start to understand why they love each other and you keep hoping that they could be together.

I have never seen this type of story before - it probably has not been discussed much in YA literature. The subject matter - a sexual relationship- between siblings is not something you generally want to read about. As I said before, this novel is written so BEAUTIFULLY that even though you do not like the subject matter, you probably will not have bad things to say about this novel. Suzuma is really talented writer and I am really looking forward to reading something else by her.

As I was going through Goodreads, I noticed that this book is marked as a part of a series. Does anyone know more about this - is there a second book coming?

I recommend this novel to pretty much everyone - the story, the characters and the feelings are so realistic, so beautiful and at the same time so heart breaking you will end up in tears.