Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Waters in Melbourne

Tonight I will be sitting in the third row at the Melbourne Recital Hall and metres away from one of my heroes/favourite people, American filmmaker John Waters. I was lucky enough to see him speak last time he was in Melbourne (February 2010 - and that was the same night I decided to start my own blog, after a discussion with the lovely Jess of startnarrativehere).

Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement - I hope you all have an enjoyable Saturday night!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins

The Facts
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Australian Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Date of Publication: October 3, 2011
Length: 348 pages

The Fiction
From Penguin Australia: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit-more sparkly, more fun, more wild-the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood. 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.

I have been looking forward to reading this for quite a while – pretty much since the start of the year when the cover and blurb were released. A San Francisco setting, a girl obsessed with the costume aspect of fashion, and twins?! Count me in! Combined with Stephanie Perkins incredibly charming writing style, I knew October could not come fast enough for me.

I’ll start with our heroine, Lola Nolan. As an aspiring costume designer, Lola’s life revolves around fashion and for her each day is the chance to create a new ensemble and channel new inspiration into her apparel. When she’s not dreaming up Marie Antoinette inspired gowns for her school dance, she’s working at a cinema (with a few familiar faces) or hanging with her older rock muso boyfriend. She also gets along well with her parents and has a wannabe-detective best friend, and everything is going along relatively swimmingly until the Bell twins move back into the house next door. What I loved about Lola and about this story was the fact it has both a romantic aspect (love triangle), as well being introspective and encompassing a strong sense of self-discovery and family.

Now Cricket Bell!!! Firstly, is that not an amazing name? (I am rather fond of teenage characters in contemporary fiction with quirky-but-not-too-quirky names). I am now going to share something that may shock the pants off/anger/upset/confuse people and even though I hate to do the comparisons, I’m going to make one right now – I think liked Cricket more than Etienne. I felt Cricket was slightly more realistic and once again, Stephanie has done a great job at writing male characters who are engaging and likeable outside of their function as potential love interests. Cricket comes across as so awkward and genuine, that you can’t help but like him – especially combined with the little details she sprinkles throughout (the bracelets, the inventions and the tight pants!) certainly helps us understand why the return of Cricket Bell causes such a stir.

Besides the loveliness that is Cricket Bell, the other aspect that really appealed to me was how (surprisingly) family-centric the novel is.  The relationship between Lola and her two fathers was well-written and realistic, and I felt like Stephanie Perkins handled the topic of same-sex parenting with sensitivity and warmth. I hope to read more YA stories which encompass this in the near future. I also thought it was interesting the way in which Lola’s relationship with her birth mother was explored and strengthened the romantic plotlines.

My other favourite thing was the San Francisco setting – having just come back from visiting there (yes, I’m going to through it into random conversation for the next four weeks at least!), I was pretty excited to recognise places in the city that Lola and her friends and family visit. The Japanese Tea Garden, Amoeba Records and Lombard Street (to name a few) are all featured, and Stephanie does an excellent job at capturing the sights, sounds and spirit of San Francisco.

Once again, Stephanie Perkins has authored a swoon-worthy young adult novel. Lola and the Boy Next Door may appear to be light and fluffy on the outside and is certainly written with a funny and sweet touch, but still manages to touch upon a wide range of real teen issues with heart and honesty.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Polyvore Profile - Lola Nolan

I couldn't wait to create a Polyvore set inspired by the lovely Lola Nolan from Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door! As an aspiring costume designer, Lola's life is all about fashion and I loved the playful descriptions of her ensembles throughout the novel (did it remind anyone else of the Babysitters Club books when Ann M. Martin would describe Claudia's outfits?), so I hope you enjoy this set inspired by Lola.

Lola Nolan

If you liked this, be sure to check out my Polyvore Profile of Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. I'll be posting my review of Lola and the Boy Next Door tomorrow and am looking forward to hearing what everyone else thought of it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Snaps

I won't bore you all with a million photos from my travels but here are a few highlights:

The Strand Bookshop!!! I was ridiculously excited to visit The Strand (to the extent that I made my best friend & travel buddy mark it on our NYC map four months ago). Not only was it one of the most amazing bookshops ever, a book by two of my favourite authors, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is set there, which added an extra layer of excitement for me. I limited myself to an hour there (maybe the hardest moment of the whole trip), but oh my goodness - the books!!! I was seriously roaming around the store, practically hugging the walls.

Dreams really do come true at Disneyland, where I got to meet Ariel (and my five-year-old self was dancing with happiness).

And then my fifteen-year-old self's dream came true by finally getting to see Rent (with an incredible and extremely talented cast).

Me and some dude, I think he was in that vampire movie?

(In all seriousness, I had to be coaxed by my friend to pose in any photos at Madame Tussauds - hence the cheesy smile. I found the wax sculptures to be uber-creepy and the whole concept of the museum a bit odd).

And with the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.

I promise regular posting will return here soon!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Return to Oz

image source: we ♥ it

Hello friends! I’m back from a lovely break and am feeling refreshed and excited to get back on here and writing again. I had three amazing weeks in the United States (which I hadn’t been to before) and then I gave myself an extra few days off from blogging while I caught up on other things. Even though the trip was a fun-filled holiday, it also allowed me to stop and think about this blog, and the direction I’d like it to go in the future.
I’m hoping to share some of my photos from the trip in the next few days and I’ve got lots of reviews coming up (not to mention over 1200 posts in my blog reader to get through). Here’s a glimpse at what I’ve been reading and what I’m looking forward to read soon:

What I've been reading:
Gingerbread, Shrimp and Cupcake by Rachel Cohn
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
How to Ruin A Summer Vacation, How to Ruin My Teenage Life and How to Ruin Your Boyfriend's Reputation by Simone Elkeles

What I'm looking forward to reading:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (I am so ridiculously excited about this!)

What you should be reading:
♥ Megan’s posts on the A Thousand Words festival, The Illusion of Intimacy and Being Lucky
♥ Nomes covering a number of awards in Aussie YA
♥ Erin at Forever YA’s review of Shut Out by Kody Keplinger and Meghan’s Secrets of Discovering the Best Worst Books