Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gushfest: Lola and the Boy Next Door

I somehow stumbled into the luck of winning an ARC of my most anticipated book of 2011 -- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Having this ARC still feels like a dream to me, I wanted it that badly. Thank you so, so much to Leah Clifford for her BlogTV chat where I won it, I am eternally grateful!

Where to start, where to freaking start...

Like I said, this is my most anticipated book of 2011. I read Anna and the French Kiss earlier this year and it rocketed to the top of my list of all-time favourite YA books. It had heart, it had hilarity, it had the most relatable, loveable protagonist and the most swoon-worthy love interest... and it had two forthcoming companion novels.

(May I just say that I love the idea of companion novels? I've spoken before about how I'm often tired of every single YA release being part of a series. I like new, fresh stories and characters every time. But of course, I love the added excitement of catching up with old friends in overlapping characters.)

I was nervous for Stephanie Perkins's sophomore novel. What if it sucked? What if it totally lacked the spark that Anna held for me? Even worse -- what if I was just apathetic about it?

Safe to say I worried for no reason. Lola and the Boy Next Door is close to perfection.

Because I cannot really articulate all the things I love about it in a cohesive review, let's continue on in list form.

Things I Loved:

-- Lola has two gay dads, and they were real, honest-to-goodness good characters. Funny, nuanced, and they loved Lola so, so much. They were such good parents and fun to read about, to boot.

-- the setting. San Francisco was so vibrant and lovely in this book, and it made me want to go there even more. (Hey, maybe I should go -- it's only about a two days' drive from here!)

-- Lola herself. I was afraid I wasn't going to like her as much as I liked Anna, but I did. Where Anna had that manic nervousness that I could so relate to, Lola had such a magnetic confidence that I want to relate to. Lola is someone that I want to be. She's a great role model. Plus she has the best style the world has ever seen. Any character with Marie Antoinette as a style inspiration is all right with me!

-- Max. I know, I know, he's a douchebag. And I don't like him in a swoony way. I just loved how he was portrayed, how he seemed all right for the most part but would occasionally show his thorns -- and then it would hit you that he is not the right guy for Lola, not at all. I loved how Stephanie Perkins used him as a foil to Cricket.

-- Cricket. While he didn't have the same omg-I-love-him factor that St. Clair did for me, I loved his zaniness. And his awkwardness was so adorable that I wanted to cry. In a good way, if that's possible.

And finally,

-- Seeing what Anna and St. Clair are up to. They slipped into this novel so effortlessly. They really fit. It didn't feel at all like they were just shoved in to appeal to the the fans of their book. Even if you haven't read Anna and the French Kiss (and why the heck not?!) and don't know them already, you'll love them.

Stephanie Perkins has become one of my absolute favourite YA writers in what feels like overnight. I'm going to be buying a finished copy of Lola the day it's released, and it'll sit next to Anna on the bookshelf, awaiting the day Isla and the Happily Ever After can join them!

Lola and the Boy Next Door is being released September 29th, and I can't freaking wait for you all to read it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Has a Guest Post

Hey, all!

While I'm still getting it together after a really busy few days, here's a guest post I wrote over at Brittany's blog. I promise I've got some good posts up my sleeves, but I hope this will tide us all over until then.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

50k in 15 Days

That title is no lie. I wrote 50,000 words in fifteen days of Camp NaNoWriMo.

Who's awesome?!

But, like most NaNo books go for me, the story's not done. I'm trying to do 2k a day now for a couple more days so I can reach THE END. And then take a break from writing for a little while, because I'm feeling a little burnt out. But probably just for a few days. A week tops.

But who am I kidding, nobody's reading this! You're all over at WriteOnCon -- right? ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Series or Standalones?

Do you read Natalie Whipple's blog? If not, you should. It's fabulously entertaining and offers some great writing insight (plus Natalie's just so cute).

Today, she blogged about series and sequels versus standalones, and it really got me thinking.

I am in no way, shape, or form cut out to write sequels to anything I write.

I've tried. When I was younger, I wrote a couple sequels to other novels I'd written. That was back when I was still just writing for fun. Now that I write more seriously, I find it impossible to dwell in the same fictional world for too long.

It's not that I don't love the characters. I do. But a lot of the time I want to do something new instead of write about the same old people. And, in a weird way, it feels like I'm trying to involve myself too much in my characters' lives if I try to write sequels. Almost like I'm a mom trying to cling to her adult children. They don't need me anymore. They're independent. They can handle themselves just fine without me, thankyouverymuch.

Personally, I think YA needs more great standalone novels. Is it just me, or does it feel like every new book you pick up is the first in a trilogy? And how many times have you read a sequel to something and thought, "Wow, that was unnecessary"? I know I've done that. I would much rather read one solid, amazing book that packs a real punch than read three separate, but weaker books.

(Although I do like the idea of companion novels -- sequels-but-not-really, like Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. But maybe I just think that because Stephanie Perkins can do no wrong!)

What do YOU think? As a reader, do you prefer series or standalones? How about as a writer?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo Day Seven

So in my last ecstatic blog post, I gushed that I'd written 6,000 words on day one.

Well, guess what?

On Day Seven, my wordcount is 28,043.


I've never written anything this fast in my life. I'm amazed with how easily this book is coming.

I say that now, but that must be because my brain is so frazzled from so much creative output. Believe me: in a few weeks/months, this blog will be full to the brim with revision woes about this book.

But oh well. This kind of rush is what I live for, and the reason I friggin' love NaNoWriMo, in all its incarnations.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo Day One Recap

Yesterday was Day One of Camp NaNoWriMo, the month where I go crazy and write a lot.

I wrote...


6,084 words.

Oh. My. Gawd.

I don't think I've ever written so much in a single day. I'm extremely impressed with myself, and I plan to get to 10k by tonight. Think I can do it?

Because I'm feeling so jubilant... want a teaser?

I can't share too much, because sharing works-in-progress tends to mess me up, but here's the first line of THE BRIGHT FOREVER, my NaNo novel:

"I can't believe the sun really exists."

I think this book might be a weird one, guys XD

If you're participating in Camp NaNo, how are you doing so far? Even if you aren't a camper... how are you, in general?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo!

Today is August 1st, and I'm starting Camp NaNoWriMo today! I'm so excited. This will be my fourth NaNo novel.

Are YOU NaNoing this month?