My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. 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.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

My Bookshelf: Tales of The Madman Underground

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Title: Tales of The Madman Underground

Author: John Barnes

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summary:

“September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I did not want Darla and Karl to end up together. I don’t know if that’s even what happened, but Darla is fucked up and I didn’t like her.
  • There were a lot of people and I sometimes got confused on who some of the less central characters were.

Cheers:

  • Literally everything else.
  • The writing was good. The characterization was good. The plot was good.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I loved this book so much that I let a friend borrow it. She then kept it in her trunk for 4 months and it ruined it. It was a signed copy. I didn’t read it since then because it’s in shit condition, but I finally did and I’m glad I did because I forgot how much I loved it. (But if anyone wants to know why I have trust issues and won’t let people borrow my books, this is why.)

Amazon link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Madman-Underground-John-Barnes/dp/0142417025

My Writing Mentor

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I have been writing since I was in first grade. I started identifying as a writer in third grade, and in fifth grade I started doing it regularly. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had finished a 50,000+ word “novel.” I kept writing, and I published my first novel in September.

I’m officially an author! It’s awesome, finally achieving this goal I’ve had all my life. I’m still just starting, but I’ve made about $40 so far. Yes, it’s not a lot, but that’s 4 pizzas I wouldn’t have been able to eat before publishing, and I’ll continue writing and continue building an audience and putting myself out there until it picks up, and I won’t give up. Because I honestly love writing. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Knowing that, some of you may be surprised to learn that in middle school, I hated English class. Absolutely hated it. Mrs. J was my English/history/7th grade teacher (it was a small school) and she installed a deep loathing of English class deep into my soul. Mrs. J, if you’re reading this, you suck. Seriously. I never remember hearing one nice word from her.

I worked hard in her class, at first. I admit that I sucked at history, but I loved writing, even non-fiction, and I remember specifically that we had an entire lesson on poetry that included filling out a whole huge packet on poems over the course of the semester. I wrote poem after poem, and I never got any praise or anything out of it. Mrs. J blatantly had favorites, and only they ever heard nice things from her.

Mrs. J, I’ll once again say that you suck. I was bullied in middle school, and she knew, and she still made no effort to be nice to me. She didn’t like my mom, and my family didn’t have money, so she hated me. She made me feel like an idiot in her class, and if it wasn’t for my 8th grade teacher sitting me down with my parents and telling me that my test scores indicated that I was a smart girl, I would have believed that I was stupid. So thanks, Mr. R, for being nice to me. A+ for you. I’m sorry about when I forgot you were in my living room last year and you heard me talking about sex with my boyfriend. My bad.

Going into high school, I didn’t have high hopes for English class. Freshman year was pretty boring, mostly Shakespeare and vocabulary words, but then sophomore year I had Mr. C. Mr. C, a writer himself, was one of those amazing teachers who actually enjoyed teaching. He wanted everyone to think and learn and grow as a person. His class was about discussions and expressing ourselves.

Mr. C was the first person who told me I was a good writer. He encouraged me to submit short stories for publishing (erm… still working on that…) and called me a wordsmith. In front of the whole class. I believe his exact wording was, “I may not be a wordsmith like Bethany, but…” Yeah. I freaked out. It’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. I put great effort into picking the right wording to make things sound just how I want them, and to have it recognized was amazing. He really gave me the encouragement to keep writing, even if he couldn’t revive my interest in the study of literature.

Has any one person significantly influenced your writing? If so, how?