ON MY BEDSIDE TABLE: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

( photo credit: http://magicofstories.tumblr.com) Reading these books was purely unintentional. I was just drafting a blog post and ...

(photo credit: http://magicofstories.tumblr.com)

Reading these books was purely unintentional. I was just drafting a blog post and was browsing for some quotes about a person's possibility to be a home when a line from the book appeared and I tried to read what made her - Anna - say that. The small portion that I read interests me to the point that I can't wait to get my hands on the book.

Several days after, I found myself drowning in Stephanie Perkins' words.



As I started reading Perkins' first book, I am suddenly transported to Paris and is in my quest to getting to know Anna Oliphant; an aspiring film critic and senior student from Atlanta who transferred to School of America in Paris (SOAP) because of her novelist father's desire for her to grasp another culture.

With heavy heart about leaving her best friend and a guy whom she's starting to like and tongue who can't even stomach the Spanish language let alone French, Anna bade hello to a new world and a new person whom she'll eventually love, Etienne St. Clair.

Anna and the French Kiss is a light and romantic read that will not make you put it down. Although it is the usual boy-meets-girl story,  Perkins' creatively circled through other themes and showed even the dark sides of her characters. (e.g. Anna and her friends' problems with their own families, ugly and beautiful portions of relationships not only romantically but even in terms of friendship.

Another thing that I admired is how she made her characters reckless, vulnerable and inspired. They have a well-balanced personalities -  from getting detentions type to I-have-a-dream-and-I-will-do-everything-to-get-that-dream. I love how Anna is simply Anna and she is okay with that and of course let us not get out of the picture the guy who has a Cathedral for a name, the very dashing Etienne St. Clair who has an avidity for history and can make any girl want to snag their own English man.

The City of Light and Love is also captured wonderfully. When you're reading the book, it is as if you, yourself is in the center of point zero and making your wish, or admiring Notre Dame and visiting the museums.

This book will certainly make you fall in love... and that's exactly what it made me.



While the first book's story still lingers in my happy heart, I then opened the 2nd to see what is ahead of the story.

Set among the calm backdrop of a quiet neighborhood in San Francisco, Lola and the Boy Next Door's story courageously tackled same sex, past-to-present and age-doesn't-matter kind of relationships.

I personally wasn't thrilled by how the story started. Lola at seventeen has a boyfriend, Max, a rock star; who is older than her for 5 years and both her dads are not approve of him. Also how the issue about the Bells wasn't introduced immediately hence the confusion as to why Lola is getting nervous whenever they are being mentioned.

I also don't like how a wonderful guy like Cricket wasn't given that much attention. The spotlight was always in her figure skater sister, Calliope.

I had a feeling of wanting to know the characters more, to dig in deeper. But it wasn't given to me.

I also can't relate to Lola but I love how she wants to stand out. "Life is too short to be the same person everyday."

Their conversations by the windows at night are what I really adored and the moon and stars stuff. I was also ecstatic to know that Anna and Etienne are both part of the whole story!

Lola and the Boy Next Door was a good read though. It's just that I expected too much from the characters and probably still on a high of how Anna and the French Kiss got me.



The readers got a peek of Isla from the first book when Anna found the drawings of Josh's tattoo in her notebook. Since then, I just can't seem to like her because I felt like she is being an intruder to Josh who was in a relationship with Rashmi at that time.

An intruder she is still in the third book. I don't love how she made the first move (having a crush to Josh since forever) and how everything went way too fast between Josh and her.

Isla is your usual girly girl who is shy, smart and is someone who's not that into risks. She possess a unique quality though and that was how Josh loved her more; she loves reading comics. Other than that, she's an annoying girlfriend and a drama maker without any reason. Also she lacks personality. It's a shame because Anna and Lola both has an interesting background. No wonder I liked Rashmi more for Josh because she's independent and though her scenes are only a few, you can feel connected to her unlike Isla. In fact, she makes me want to put down the book a lot of times. (and made me say, "Calm yo hormones girl!" for a dozen times)

Josh on the other hand is a masterpiece. Perkins' aced this character. A boy who's smart and yet not loud, son of a US senator and an artist. A freaking artist. Others preserve their memories through photographs but him, through drawings. I absolutely fancy his graphic novel biography.

Kurt is also a captivating character because of his love for Cartography.

The story didn't buy me. Of course there are scenes where you will go awww but often, I was caught up by my annoyance to Isla.

The consolation to the story was how the characters in the first books appared again and Anna and Etienne engaged.


But all in all, I enjoyed Perkins. Her sense of style and the light feel of the stories.

"Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?"

And yes, I now know the reason why Anna said that. I'm glad this quote led me to this book.

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  1. Haven't read any Stephanie Perkins, but would love to try reading one after seeing your review. :)


    1. If you're looking for a light read, you'll love it for sure! ;)



All posts and photos are © Elaine Vidal unless otherwise stated. For collaborations, sponsorship and other concerns, you may contact me at waytogoelaine@gmail.com.