Lola and the boy next door

Sometimes, you just need to read something light and potentially fluffy, because books like this lets its reader relax, think about something else for a moment and, first and foremost, doesn’t have a bunch of heavy happenings that need a lot attention. But this turns out to not be true, well, not always, anyway. Sometimes, even the lighthearted books carry deep questions you can lay awake during the night and ponder about. Lola and the boy next door is one of these books.

Lola Nolan in a seventeen year old girl who attends high school, lives with her two dads and dreams of being a costume designer, which shows in the crazy way she dresses. She also has a five year older boyfriend who happens to be in a rock band and that her parents just happen to dislike. A lot. While Lola is doing her best to get her parents to like her boyfriend, Max, uncomfortable memories awakens in Lola when the Bell twins move back in the house next door. Suddenly she has to handle Calliope Bell, and the other, while trying to get her parents to realize that Max isn’t the bad guy they think he is.

This is Stephanie Perkins' second book, the first one, Anna and the French Kiss, is an international best seller and it’s clear why when you read it. Lola and the boy next door is the sequel, in some ways since it involves Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss. But now the main character is called Lola and battling her own war which, in the end, isn’t very far away from what Anna and Etienne went through back when they were in Paris. But now we’re in San Francisco with new main characters in Lola, Max and the Bell twins and only sometimes do we get to see Anna and Etienne pass through in the story.

After I finished Anna and the French Kiss, I yarned for more, to know more about them. I think Perkins has written a splendid sequel in a great way. She gives the reader more information about the previous story without making it a book about them. This is about Lola and she is one firecracker you just can’t miss. She is bright and bold and crazy, utterly believable and so very loveable. To get more answers, and knowledge, about Anna and Etienne and at the same time follow someone knew was so much fun.

Perkins has a light way of writing, it’s easy and fast paced and fun to read. The pages just blurs past. The dialogs usually make me laugh and I like reading books were you feel like the character is speaking to you. It makes the story even more alive. And Perkins' books are alive. They are colorful and fun and sparkling and I wish them to never end. Luckily, a third is coming and I can’t wait until I get my hands on a copy!

The Death Cure

And so, after a year of waiting and putting it off, I finally had the last and final piece of The Maze Runner trilogy in my hands. The Death Cure. It was clear from the start that this would be the book where all the answers were given, were every secret was spilled and I was very excited to find out the truth about WICKED, the world and Thomas himself.

Like The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure jumps in right where the previous book ended. Thomas, saved from the Scorch after the final trial but now locked in a room for his own good after hearing that he has the Flare. But when Thomas gets out of the room he finds out that that’s not true, that he is, in fact, immune. But WICKED is still not done with the mapping of their brains, in order to find a blueprint, a cure to the horrible disease, the Flare. They want Thomas and his friends' help, but Thomas has other ideas. He’s done with WICKED and each and every one of their games. He breaks out of WICKED headquarter with a few of his friends and they travel to Denver in order to seek answers and possibly start a new life. But it turns out that everything is not that simple. Denver isn’t just a city. It’s a city with quite a few plot twists in its back pocket.

Like I said, I was very excited to have the final book so that I could finally get all the answers. In the previous two books, every question has been answered with something that makes you ask a new question. But since this was the last book I figured that everything would reveal itself. It turned out that I was wrong about that.

I remember reading The Maze Runner. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, yet, being as curious as I am, I wanted to know more, get the answers. So I kept reading. And now… well, it’s not a waste of time, but there are certainly better books to read, in my opinion. Throughout The Death Cure, I kept waiting on that thing, that spark that would blow up the entire book with a big bang and then everything would reveal itself. But it never came. It was 300 pages of nonstop action, true, but it almost got a bit too much. I found myself wanting to breathe, but behind every door Thomas opened, a monster was always waiting. He could barely take two steps without someone trying to kill him and in the end, that got me exhausted trying to keep up.

The Death Cure, all three books in fact, are fast-paced and I have no problem with that, I don’t. But in this case, it might have been a bit too fast. I found myself thinking, more than once, “This is it?”, because Dashner speed-told practically every event. Thomas faced it, he was scared, he punched some guy and barley escaped with his life still intact and then onto the next similar event. Some more meat to a few situations in the book and I think it would’ve been nicer to read.

Another thing that bothered me was the characters. Teresa, especially. She had something that I just didn’t like. She always did the weird things and explained it with her “WICKED is good.” Throughout the books, she is a mystery and not a good one. She’s there and doing all the weird things and I was waiting for an explanation but it just didn’t come. Not even at the last pages. I couldn’t grasp her or understand her and that, for me, made the book a lot weaker. There are other characters that I think aren’t completely worked through, but none as strange as Teresa.

As I mentioned earlier, I kept waiting for the big blow-up. In retrospect, the whole book was the blow-up. Something new and crazy popped up on every page and it gave me a headache, from time to time. And then, in the end, everything really blew up but there were still not any clear answers. And then it just ended. And I got my answers, well, kind of. I got about half of them and for me, that’s not good enough. I’m not saying Dashner had to reveal every little secret, but there were so much that happened and so little that was explained. That, along with the characters and the too fast-paced story ruined the whole thing for me. I am thoroughly disappointed.

Scarlet

Usually when you’re wrong about something, you’re very wrong about it. Remember what I said when I reviewed Cinder, that I first didn’t want to read it because it was about a cyborg and I thought that would be too weird? Well I did read it and I hated myself for even thinking that and that annoyance only grew when I read Cinder’s sequel, Scarlet.

Scarlet Benoit lives in a small town in France with her grandmother and thinks her life is as normal as the next door neighbor. But when her grandmother suddenly is kidnapped, Scarlet realizes that secrets have been kept hidden from her all her life. Without any real help from the police, Scarlet goes searching for her grandmother, but the only one who seems to have any answers is Wolf, a street fighter who Scarlet doesn’t trust. Though he is the only one who can help her and Scarlet realizes she must take her chances in order to find her grandmother. At the same time in a different part of the world, Cinder is breaking out of prison to search for more answers about her past. But her escaping prison and leaving the Commonwealth sets emperor Kai in a troublesome situation with Luna Queen Levana, who wants Cinder executed about just as badly as she wants a marriage alliance with Kai. Cinder knows she has to do what she can to see to it that Kai and Levana never marries, knowing that that will be the end of the Commonwealth and probably the beginning of war. And then she meets Scarlet Benoit.

Marissa Meyer continues on the story about Cinder, Kai and the evil Luna queen, writing in the same light, fast paced, fun way as her debut novel. She has yet again taken an old fairytale and turned it into something new, though still with some details that reminds you of said fairytale which in this case is Little red riding hood. Like I said after reading Cinder, this is something that, if written wrong, can fail miserably. But, if written right, can be a huge success. And in this case, it’s the latter.

I could honestly sit here and praise Meyer for hours, because her story is excellent. There’s never a dull moment and even though it’s a lot darker and heavier than the fairytale, some lines and some characters just makes you laugh out loud. It’s just the right amount of seriousness and humor and old meeting new which makes for a real treat. I loved each and every word of Scarlet and though I tried hard to make it last for as long as possible, it did inevitable end. Now I very much look forward to the sequel and the next step for Cinder and Scarlet.