Stephanie Perkins you win again.
Last year I read Anna and the French Kiss swiftly followed by Lola and the Boy Next Door. I shared some thoughts on those two books here but to echo the sentiment a bit, these books moved me so much. These characters are just so alive and so beautiful and broken and unique. The way Stephanie writes is just electric and so full of love. You can feel this woman's passion and love for words and her characters soak through the pages.
She writes how I want to write. I love when you can tell an author loves their characters and I think Stephanie Perkins takes the cake there. I can almost feel her squealing with me when the characters kiss and getting frustrated with me when her characters aren't together. I like that I can feel how much love and care and attention each character gets. I like that the characters become my friends and that they are Stephanie's friends too.
I devour her books also. It's been a good summer for reading but good GOD I was not ready for the majesty of Isla and the Happily Ever After, the last book of her sort of, interrelated series. I don't want to give anything away by way of plot but here's the low down. Isla is shy and has always loved Josh, a broody hot artist who can't seem to focus on much. After a very awkward (and literally awesome) first official meeting over summer vacation, their school year in Paris becomes a lovely jumble of romance and sorrow and GUYS I COULD NOT.
One of the best parts of these books is that they truly transport you to the landscapes that they take place in. In Anna, you are swept away to Paris and you return back to Paris in Isla after some time in New York and some even more delicious time in Barcelona (STEPHANIE PERKINS I CAN'T WITH YOU). But one of my favorite experiences was reading Lola while I was in San Francisco last week. I mean, holy wow it brought the book to life in bursting colors. I drove through the Castro and picked the houses I though Lola and Cricket lived in and loved in. I bought some crazy dresses in the Haight and felt my Lola showing. She knows San Francisco and she paints each city she uses so lovingly and so beautifully.
|My favorite line of Lola|
Stephanie Perkins is the writer I want to be and her words always wake me up when I need them to. I have been in the worst writing rut of all time. I feel like I have creative ADD. I sit down to write, feel so jazzed to be writing, and then I just can't. It feels empty and useless to try. I feel like I have nothing to say and no words to say anything. But her books excite me. They make me feel love and they make me feel a love of love in books. That feeling of getting so sucked into words that you cannot stop, you cannot and will not put it down. I want to write a book like that and Stephanie Perkins makes me feel like that type of writing is possible.
On her blog she has talked about battling depression. About how hard it is to write through it sometimes. I feel that pain so so much. Brains are assholes. Brains tell you you can't write or that you shouldn't or that people won't like you. And when that happens, bodies and words shut down. On one of her posts about depression, I left a comment for her about how much she inspires me. And guess what? She responded to me! :) She said "Thank you, Em. I'm so sorry that your brain is mean to you, too. I'm glad you're fighting it! Keep writing. I can't wait to read YOUR book someday. :-)"
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I was dying when that happened last year. And something more, I know she means it because she is just the nicest.
I know this post is all over the place but in the end, it has one purpose. Thank you so much Stephanie Perkins. Thank you for your books, your characters (particularly the boys but... how can I pick between the three ugh), your hope, your words, being you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for giving me my writing back.
I cannot wait for your next masterpiece.