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Tag Archives: Author: Stephanie Perkins

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books For People Who Like Kirstin Cashore

It’s Tuesday again and over at The Broke and the Bookish that means it’s time for another Tuesday Top Ten! This week’s topic is the Top Ten Books For People Who Like Kristin Cashore,

Kristin Cashore is the author of three novels: Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue. All of  Cashore’s novels are set in an interweaving fantasy world and all three feature an incredibly strong female protagonist. If you know me at all, or you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that’s one of my main criteria for selecting a book. I know that there are plenty of people out there who love the Bella’s of the literary world, but that’s just not me.

So, here are ten books for people who love Kristin Cashore’s strong, sassy females!

1. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKInley. I talk about this book ALL THE TIME and that’s because, really, it’s amazing. Aerin is one of my all time favorite fantasy characters and she is one hell of a girl, but at the same time she is human and has her flaws. She fights for her crown, she fights against the expectation placed on her and she fights for love. Oh and did I mention that there are dragons? Cause there totally are.

2. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. The this expertly executed retelling of Little Red Riding Hood  gives you two completely different, yet equally strong women. In alternating chapters you’re given a look at sisters Scarlett and Rosie March. Scarlett’s strength lays in the gift she’s been given while Rosie’s strengthallows her to forge a different path for herself.

3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. A work of epic fantasy Pullman’s Lyra is stubborn, headstrong, independent, often reckless, spoiled, bratty and yet still completely lovable. If you loved Graceling and Katsa, the often difficult to love heroine, then Lyra is sure to charm your heart.

4. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley. Another one of McKinley’s fairy tale retellings, this one gives a unique look at the Sleeping Beauty story. This story gives us two strong women who fall on each end of the social conventions spectrum, Rosie is more likely to wear pants and work on whittling spindle ends while Peony is shown wearing dresses and practicing embroidery. There’s no right or wrong way to be an independent female in YA and McKinley shows that here.

5. Vampire Academy and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. Another series of books where you see two equally strong and independent woman, who are very different personality wise. Rose is the punch first, ask questions never type of female protagonist, while Sydney is more analytical, methodical and has to always have a plan for everything. I love both of these characters and I think it’s important to how teens that there is no right or wrong way to be a strong woman.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. A bit of a departure from Kristin Cashore’s world of fantasy, Anna is set solidly in the “real” world but she is every bit as fierce and determines as the heroines you encounter in the fantasy worlds. The spunky protagonist of this story will easily steal your heart and leave you with an Anna shaped hole when the book ends.

7. Goose Girl  by Shannon Hale. At first glance Ani does not fit the mold of strong and sassy female, she’s a princess who is soft-spoken and socially awkward, not exactly traits that help someone run a kingdom. But when things spiral out of control and ANi is forced to take a different path than the one that was laid out for her she shows jsuthow strong she truly is.

8. Belles by Jen Calonita. Another contemporary book, but one that I feel absolutely needs to be mentioned. Isabelle lives with her grandmother and has been her main caretaker ever since she started rapidly decking health wise. While doing this she manages to hold a job and swim for the local swim team. It takes a strong person to be able to patiently care for someone in her grandmother’s state and it’s easy to see that Izzie is made of seriously strong stuff.

9. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Not your typical strong heroine, Liesel is a foster child living with a family near Munich in the middle of World War 2. She’s strong willed and that helps keep her alive through the war and she has a thirst for knowledge that drives her to read everything she can find or steal. There are a lot of things thrown at Liesel over the course of the novel and it is only her inner strength that gets her through.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know, everyone has read this already. But on the tiniest of off-chances that you’re one of the select few that hasn’t, I suggest you take some time and get acquainted with Katniss. She’s feisty, loyal, strong willed and determined. She’s willing to sacrifice everything just to save her family.  Katniss is a prime example of kick butt women in YA fiction.

What other books would you add to this list? I’m sure there are some strong females that I left off, so let me know in the comments!

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


Title:
Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publication Date: September 29, 2011

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (from Barnes & Noble): In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, 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 move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket – a gifted inventor and engineer – 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.

Review:

Not going to lie, I’ve been waiting and looking forward to this book for months, since the moment I turned the last page in Anna and the French Kiss. And all of the reviews from bloggers who received advanced copies only fueled that desire to the point where I’ve been almost counting down the days until the book arrived in my mailbox.

So, basically, I was extremely excited when I came home yesterday and found out the Amazon had delivered my copy early. It was like Christmas in my apartment! I promptly curled up on the couch and didn’t move until i’d read the book in it’s entirety. And when I finished it, the first thing I wanted to do was pick it up and read it all over again. Stephanie Perkins got it absolutely
right a second time, and while this book holds the same magic that Anna did, it feels so different and so new.

I fell in LOVE with Lola, the book and the character. Lola is one of those girls that I always wish I’d had the guts to be; she’s independent, creative, determined, and she’s gutsy. I could never pull off, let alone think of, half the outfits that she puts together with ease. And yet, despite the tough yet very girly vibes she exudes Lola was sentimental, emotional, fragile, confused and conflicted, just as I was as a teenager. It was so easy to think of Lola as a sister or a best friend, that it pulled me into the story and has me experience the highs and lows right along side of her.

And then, there’s THE BOY. You know, the boy from the title. And while I went into the book hoping he’d be even a fraction of the awesomeness that was St. Clair in Anna, I had my reservations that he’d be able to compete. And oh boy was I wrong, So very, very wrong. Cricket is unique and wonderful and adorable and awkward and oh, so perfect. I found myself giggling like a teenager whenever he’d appear with his obvious crush and interest in Lola and it was so endearing that you can’t help buy fall in love with him too.

As much as I loved Lola and Cricket, you’d think that the other characters would pale in comparison, but that’s not even remotely true. Lola’s best friend was unique and perfect in her own way (I’d totally have a Veronica Mars marathon with the two of them any day!). And Lola’s two dad’s were incredibly supportive and loving (not the absent parents that so often populate YA literature). And I nearly fell off the couch in excitement when Anna and St. Clair made their first appearance in the book!

This book swept me right up into Lola’s life and I felt I was right beside her, traipsing across San Francisco (via train, bus and foot) and navigating the challenges of being in love and dealing with relationships, friends, parents and school. Both Lola and her story just felt so real and normal and Stephanie Perkins never crossed the line into sappy or melodramatic. She managed to capture the voice of a normal teenager who is dealing with complicated, difficult and awkward issues, it felt genuine and real.

While I adore the YA realistic fiction genre, I usually feel that most of them are too over the drop dramatic, or too formulaic, or just too something. But Stephanie Perkins gets it just right, everything is pitch perfect. I will without a doubt be buying every book that she writes from here until the end of time. And I know I’ll fall in love with each character and be so sad when it comes time to say goodbye to them.

With all that being said, if you haven’t read Lola and the Boy Next Door, I’m honestly not sure what’s stopping you. So no more excuses, go now!

 
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Posted by on 29 September, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publication Date: December 2, 2010

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Barnes & Noble): Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

Review:

So, full disclosure first, when I was in college I spent a year studying abroad in England (and I’m a born and raised Atlanta girl just like Anna). And while unlike Anna’s situation it was my choice (and I was extremely excited about it), it was painful at times due to the home sickness and loneliness. I lived in a very international dorm with students from all over Europe, and I ended up in a sorta relationship with my very cute French flatmate until we left to go home at the end of the year. First semester I left a guy back home who I had been sort of dating and had hoped to continue dating when I got back over Christmas, however I found out in late November that he had hooked up with, and subsequently began dating, my best friend. That was quite the shock and quite a blow to my rather insecure emotional state. So, I had a bit of an emotional investment in this story.

As a result of all of that there were parts and scenes in the book that caused me to have to put it down and walk away for a little bit in order to move past the memories that came swimming back. I think Stephanie captured the perfect feeling of a teenager left alone in a foreign country, I had many of the same experiences that Anna did and her reactions to things were spot on. Following Anna as she discovered Paris was almost more thrilling to me than watching her friendship/relationship with Etienne unfold.

The drama she found herself in with her friends felt real and relateable without being over the top. These are situations  that we’ve all found  ourselves in at one time on another whether we were the Anna or the Meredith, the Rashimi or the Ellie. It made reading them a bit difficult at times, but that simply attests to Stephanie’s true to life writing!

True to the YA genre this was a great book about self-discovery, friendship, young love and adventure in a foreign city. I personally think every girl should study abroad if she gets the change, you never know when you’ll meet your very own Etienne, Meredith, Rashimi and Josh and have your own spectacular adventure! This is definitely a book worth reading.

 
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Posted by on 18 March, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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