I picked up this book again in a fit of insomnia, needing an easy read that I knew would be satisfying. It didn't disappoint on the second go-round, e...moreI picked up this book again in a fit of insomnia, needing an easy read that I knew would be satisfying. It didn't disappoint on the second go-round, either. I like Willow's drive to succeed and her supportive (and yet weird) family. I like that, while there's some confict with Eli that's driven by the past, most of the story is pulled along by Willow's own fears and insecurities. It's all very natural and relatable.(less)
Now THIS is what Pride and Prejudice retellings should be. It's endearing, witty, adorable, intelligent . . . I can't sing its praises enough. The cha...moreNow THIS is what Pride and Prejudice retellings should be. It's endearing, witty, adorable, intelligent . . . I can't sing its praises enough. The characters are great. I love that their names are similar (same first letter), but not the same, thus giving them a more modern feel. I love the way the modern plot was fitted to the old one. Derek is swoon-worthy, and Elise is worthy of her role and lives up to her Austen predecessor. Jules and Chase are cute without being overbearing.
If you love P&P and love teen romances, then you'll love this.(less)
I read this book awhile back and was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It's alternating first person and present tense, and at the time I had...moreI read this book awhile back and was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It's alternating first person and present tense, and at the time I hadn't read much of that--and didn't like it. I'm a little more used to it now, so it rankles a little less, but it's still not my favorite POV. I do enjoy how it's employed here, and it gives the story a nice feeling of immediacy.
This story is a bit about fantasy and wish fulfillment. The main character is a semi-regular girl (a small-time actor) who wins a role in a major motion picture to star next to one of the hottest young actors in the world. What teen girl hasn't fantasized about something at least close to that? Reading about Emma's journey into that world, it's very easy to put yourself in her shoes. She's not an overly engrossing character on her own, but I think it works. Being blander helps makes her more identifiable for the reader.
The other POV character, Reid, is the opposite of bland. He's a bad boy who doesn't have any qualms about being a bad boy. I normally balk at sympathizing at a character like this, but Reid has it tough, despite the outwardly glamorous appearance of his life, and he's just so damned consistent that it makes him feel real. I think if he'd softened too much through the book that I would have liked him less, as crazy as that sounds.
The basic plot is a fairly standard romance sort of thing (and especially the teen-level misunderstandings that drive things), but the framework and the excellent characters made this book feel one step above standard. I really liked it.
This time around, I specifically listened to the audiobook, and the narration was okay. It took me awhile to get used to the narrators, and I didn't feel like the voice acting fell into the background and let me be absorbed by the story. The male narrator, in particular, was pretty horrible at doing opposite-gender voices, and that was annoying. I did eventually stop paying as much attention to the voices and get back into the story, but I think I'll stick with the text next time unless I'm driving or something.(less)
I didn't expect myself to re-read this one, but I wanted a quick contemporary YA read, and this one caught my eye. There's nothing overwhelmingly spec...moreI didn't expect myself to re-read this one, but I wanted a quick contemporary YA read, and this one caught my eye. There's nothing overwhelmingly special about it, but it's a good read. Good way to pass a few hours if you want something that is not a tear jerker but is also not too fluffy.
I love love love love LOVED this book. I'm so glad I listened to all of the positive reviews, because they were right.
The setting is awesome, the char...moreI love love love love LOVED this book. I'm so glad I listened to all of the positive reviews, because they were right.
The setting is awesome, the characters are realistic and flawed and still lovely, and Anna and Etienne are adorable. Even though the romance element was great (great build-up, ups and downs that weren't maddening in their execution), I think their friendship was my favorite part. Especially Christmas, when they were apart. Their friendship is REAL--not just something they (or the author) play at in order to get hooked up--and you can really feel it. As a matter of fact, all of the characters and actions and situations and relationships felt realistic, and that's probably what made the book work so well, as a whole.(less)
I already feel guilty for this review and my three stars, and I haven't even written it yet. This book was good, but considering how much I adored Ann...moreI already feel guilty for this review and my three stars, and I haven't even written it yet. This book was good, but considering how much I adored Anna and the French Kiss, it had big shoes to fill, and well.... Let me see if I can break it down.
Things it had working against it:
1) It's not about Anna and Etienne. Now, I realize that they've got their happiness, and a story wouldn't be interesting without more drama--and they totally deserve to stay happy. They actually guest starred in this book a lot more than I expected, but it wasn't the same. It's really difficult to recapture that kind of magic with a new narrator.
2) Even though it's not Anna and Etienne's story, it tries way too hard to be like it. Rather than the guy having a girlfriend, this time it's the girl. *yawn* Max was annoying and boring. I understood why Etienne was with Ellie, but I couldn't understand why Lola was with Max...other than stubbornness and immaturity, which does not make for a good impression of the main character. And in another parallel, the romance is built on a solid friendship--but we don't get to experience the build-up, which was the best part with Anna.
3) The setting. I have nothing against San Francisco, either in general, or as the setting for a story like this. However, when compared to Paris, it just couldn't hold a candle. The descriptions of Paris in Anna and the French Kiss were lyrical and dizzying and beautiful, and it really lent itself to the story in a way that SF does not--at least, not in the way it was used here.
Things I generally didn't like:
1) The secondary characters lacked depth. Lola's best friend, for instance. I've even forgotten her name now! The most memorable thing about her is her obsession with Nancy Drew and all things detective, but I didn't feel like the quirk was part of a full person. Calliope was a tad better, but only because we get to see a few different sides of her throughout the story.
2) I liked that Lola and Cricket were friends. I found it incredibly endearing that he not only loved her, but he was man enough to tell her up front. But honestly? Knowing that he loved her and she loved him...it sort of robbed me of the suspense. Obviously, in this sort of story, I know they're going to get together, but the whole fun is seeing how they figure out that they're perfect for one another. There was no challenge to it, and it made the plot roadblocks feel a little artificial and forced.
3) And okay, I hate to have to say this...but I found Lola a little annoying, too. It's hard to articulate why, but sometimes her (purposely) over-the-top personality was just a little much for me. Maybe I just didn't feel like I related at all.
What I did like:
1) Cricket. As I mentioned above, despite the story consequences of it, I liked that he was super honest with her. He was sweet and thoughtful and creative. (Though, now that I think about it...maybe just a little too perfect. *sigh*)
2) Regardless of all my complaints, the story is very well written. It pulled me straight through the plot over two evenings of reading, and I would have finished it the first night if I hadn't had to get up early for work the next morning. As it was, I lost sleep due to reading late. Stephanie Perkins has a talent for making a very personal, small-scope tale come to life.
3) The setup for the 3rd book, Isla and the Happily Ever After. Anna and Etienne and Lola and Cricket in Paris for the Olympics! Paris! And it's Isla and Josh, both of whom I really liked.
So okay. Overall, it wasn't wasted time, and I did enjoy the story. It wasn't anything spectacular, though. It had its good points and its faults. As a bridge to book three (which I'm praying will be back up to book one level), it's acceptable. I'll even be happy to see Lola and Cricket again...but I'll be happier to see the others....(less)