Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Information: December 2, 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Series Information: Book one in the Anna and the French Kiss series
Format: Hardcover, 372 pages
Source: Bought for my personal library
Recommended For: Fans of contemporary novels, or most importantly, fans of English/French/American boys who have perfect accents and perfect hair and often use phrases like, “Yeah, that was pants.” Instead of “Rubbish. Crap. Shite.”
You guys probably know by now that I am not a big contemporary reader…so even though I was gifted Anna and the French Kiss, and was told that I would definitely enjoy it, I will still wary to start. Let me tell you guys my opinion of Anna and the French Kiss in a word: SWOON. SO MANY SWOONS. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book and the relationship between Anna and Etienne. Though I found some parts to be predictable, I still loved this novel very much. Well, as you can see we are featuring Anna and the French Kiss as our On the Same Page pick this month! Since there were so many swoony moments in Anna and the French Kiss, and because you guys know that I love quotes so much, I decided to make up some nice graphics to go along with my favorite parts. Enjoy!
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publishing Information: July 8, 2014 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Series Information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 308 pages
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher at BEA 2014
Recommended For: Those of you who sometimes feel the pressures of a long time relationship, the good and the bad.
Related Reviews: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Wow, friends, have I been struggling with this review. As you know, for our On the Same Page feature we usually do something a little out of the ordinary to showcase the unique things that we loved about the novel we just read together. The bottom line is, I don’t know how to do that for this book. So I decided I would write a quick and open letter to Rainbow Rowell trying to convey what I felt when I read her novels… Continue reading
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publishing Information: February 26, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Series information: Standalone (It has been rumored that the author is planning to write a sequel, set when the characters are in their 30’s)
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Borrowed from my public library
Recommended For: Fans of romance filled with real characters that you really can’t stop rooting for.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Wow. That was my first thought upon finishing Eleanor & Park. Wow. Those of you who pay attention to this blog (or Twitter, OR Goodreads) know that my go to novels are fantasies. I love dragons and strong heroines and all things fantastical. What I do not have much experience with, however, are contemporaries. That’s why when some of my most trusted friends told me that I absolutely HAD to read Eleanor & Park I sort of nodded and made non-committal noises. Read a teen contemporary novel complete with hand holding? No thanks. Then, I went to Book Expo America and stood in line for quite a while to meet Rainbow Rowell and pick up a signed copy of her new book Fangirl, for my friend Kiki. As I said, I was there for a while, and what do you do while waiting in line at BEA? You talk to your fellow line holders! Let me tell you, these fellow readers were Rainbow Rowell FANGIRLS (that’s right, I went there) and so, when it was my time to meet her and tell her the story about how I waited in line to get a book for Kristina I was taken aback at how amazing and gracious this woman was. She looked me in the eye and listened to my story and had a real conversation with me about the whole thing, and it really heightened my experience (plus, she has excellent hair). I got to thinking about some of the things that people were saying in line and realized that MAYBE I could step out of my comfort zone a little, and upon arriving back home, I went to my local library and borrowed Eleanor & Park. And you guys, I devoured it. In one day.
The first thing I did upon finishing the novel was thank Rainbow for Eleanor, and I will say it again, I am so thankful for Eleanor. I saw myself in Eleanor. I saw myself in her eccentricities and in the way that people made fun of her for her clothing and for the way she was different from everyone else. I was that girl. I don’t think that it is out of line to assume that at some point or another, we have all been that girl. She was quirky, and she was kind, and she was left to fend for herself in an ugly world. Park was different from Eleanor. He managed to fit in despite his half-Korean background and spends his time as most teenagers do – hanging out with friends, complaining about his (admittedly lovely) family, and listening to music. When Eleanor comes into his life everything is turned upside down and he doesn’t really know what to do about it.
I love the way in which Rainbow didn’t omit details of either character’s story. We learn that Park has a somewhat aggressive father, but he is in no way as aggressive as Eleanor’s. We learn that while Park is begrudgingly spending time with his family, Eleanor is hiding from hers. The beauty of their love story is how quietly it happens at first. Park catches Eleanor reading his comic book over his shoulder – and he waits until he knows she is finished before turning the page. Or when he loans her batteries so that she can listen to his favorite tapes:
“He slid the new tape in and then, pressed Play, and then – carefully – he put the headphones over her hair.”
It was beautiful, and heart wrenching. Never has hand holding been so romantic.
The thing that stood out for me the most about Eleanor & Park was how real their story felt. Sure, it’s classified as “realistic fiction” but I can’t put into words just how realistic it was. Sure, their love story was sickly sweet, but it was also deep and meaningful in a way that anyone can understand. This novel comes highly recommended for all readers, especially for those who don’t usually read contemporaries.
Title: The Lover’s Dictionary
Author: David Levithan
Publishing Information: January 4, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Series information: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 211 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Recommended For: Readers looking for a very different type of novel focusing on the ups and downs romance
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
This book is more like a set of poems than a regular novel and that is part of the reason that it is so beautiful. Each page of this book contains a different word and a “definition” for the word. The definitions mold together like clues to create a love story with both happy and heartbreaking parts. It shows both the ups and downs of the relationship and as you read you really feel with the narrator and relate to the angst and bliss he or she is feeling.
Though this book is a quick read it is still one that you should take your time with, read each page slowly and ponder its meaning to the author but also if/how it relates to your life. The language is superb, not too sad or too happy but the perfect mix that will really play with your emotions.
It is near impossible for me to explain the splendor of this book so instead I will provide some examples:
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it – you’re done.
And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
The kiss I like the most is one of the slow ones. It’s as much breath as touch, as much no as yes. You lean in from the side, and I have to turn a little to make it happen.
I’m not going to even try.
I think our top two are:
1. Not enough coffee.
2. Too much coffee.
I recommend this book to all; it is all things good and bad in relation to love and is extremely relatable.