Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why I Love Anna, Lola and Isla

Okay people, it’s time for some book love! A few weeks ago, I finished Isla and the Happily Ever After, the last in the companion series by Stephanie Perkins. I indulged in Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door last November and I LOVED them. And I LOVED Isla even more (probably because she’s a redhead)! Here are the top five reasons I love Anna, Lola and Isla (in descending order):

5. Location, Location, Location
Paris, San Francisco, NYC and Paris again. For a Midwestern girl, traveling to these awesome cities is, well, awesome. I’m not a stuck-in-the-Midwest girl as I’ve been to Paris and NYC, so Anna and Isla's surroundings were easier for me to picture. And I love Lola because she re-introduced me to San Fran. (I say 're-' because I was introduced to San Francisco by Full House. Wasn’t that the case for every girl of my generation?)

4. Harry Potter references
Everyone loves a well-done reference to the Boy Who Lived.


3. Relatability
I relate to these girls. They drew me in and even though I relate the most to Isla (red hair, y'all), there was a strong connection to Anna and Lola as well (even though I’m not a movie-lover or designer).

Also, the BEST thing I’ve read about what redheads experience appears in Isla, when she's talking to Josh...

“And when a redhead hits puberty? You become this magnet for gross men. A month doesn’t pass without one telling me that I must be good in bed because all redheads are sex fiends, or I must be a bitch because all redheads have fiery tempers. Or they’ll tell me that they only date redheads, or that they never date redheads, because we’re all ugly… At least a dozen men have asked if ‘my carpet matches my drapes.’ And now there’s the ginger insult—thank you, England—and some cultures think we’re unlucky, and ohmygod, you know what the French say about redheads, right? They think we smell.” (page 133)

I know blondes have a bad rap and each and every woman is unfortunately a magnet for gross men in some way or another, but I’ve never heard it put this succinctly for redheads. To be honest, my experience hasn't been to the same extent as Isla, probably because I grew up in Indiana and she lives in NYC, but I still related. I RELATED SO MUCH. SO MUCH IT REQUIRES A LOT OF CAPS. Yeah.

2. Characters are people too
Anna, Lola and Isla are people to me. So are Etienne, Cricket and Josh. They are real. They are fleshed out and have unique interests and personalities. Also, CAMEOS ARE THE BEST. Anna and Etienne are in both Lola and Isla and Lola and Cricket are in Isla. There are conversations and updates and snark and even one MAJOR DEVELOPMENT. (You’ll find no spoilers here, though.)

1. Swoon-worthy romances that make you cringe and cry and cheer
Teens in love sometimes take a while to get it right. There are obstacles and misunderstandings and shyness and general fear and more misunderstandings. The romance between Anna and Etienne, Lola and Cricket and Isla and Josh are each wonderful in their own right. They made me cringe in the oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened way. They made me cheer in a yes-you-go-girl kind of way. And they made me cry (though usually that came before the cheering). Real tears too, not just the sniffles.

Also, I need just a moment to swoon over these book boyfriends of mine. Etienne, Cricket and Josh. (Once again, I relate to Isla as my boyfriend’s name is—get this—Josh!) I mean, my toes are curling just thinking about them. *sigh* Book boyfriends...

Anna, Lola and Isla are one-sitting books. They are make-actual-facial-expressions/ make-actual-noises/ shout-at-the-characters books. They are yes-I’m-crying-but-I’m-going-to-grab-a-tissue-without-looking-because-I-must-keep-reading books.
Need a binge-read? Want a realistic YA romance? Want to travel? Want ALL THE FEELS?
Read Anna, Lola and Isla.

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