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Dear Maggie,

For some reason I’ve been adverse to writing the last few days. Once I fall out of the rhythm of it (damn you good, but distracting, books!) it’s hard to get the momentum going again.

Part of the reason is I’m sick with a drippy cold. It feels like there are cotton wads stuck between all of my synapses. Therefore I apologize in advance for this coming out a bit rambly!

To get writing, I found myself some chocolate, sat down, and went to my new favorite website: RainyMood.com. All it does is play rain sounds. You would think this would be unnecessary in Portland, but you would be wrong. Rain sounds make everything better.

Another reason I’ve been delayed is I did worse than cheat. I abandoned Gentlemen and Players. Well…it’s on indefinite hold. I was so dissatisfied with it that while “reading” it last week I also read two fun books and three books for school. It lost its coveted position on the bedside table to be chucked on the floor.

It’s not that bad of a book. I’m just completely disinterested in it. This may be an example of poor book timing— sometimes you just don’t feel like reading a particular book. Maybe it’s because we’ve had a bit too many disaffected youth stories close together, what with The Magicians counting for at least two. Also, I am all jazzed about the new YA books coming out, between reading your reviews and seeing author talks at Wordstock.* But most importantly, I just want a happy fun book right now, which Gentlemen and Players is not.

It’s set at an all-boys British boarding school (of course), called St. Oswald’s. It has two narrators: a teacher who has taught at the school for 40+ years (and reminds me strongly of one of our own high school English teachers) and a young man who grew up poor next to the school. He is so bitter about being unable to attend St. Oswald’s and the elitism of it all that he grows up to con his way into a teaching position so he can bring down the school from the inside. Presumably there will be a murder. *Spoiler alert* that murder has not happened by page 243.

My big beef with the book is I enjoy the teacher’s narration, but I have absolutely no sympathy for the young man. Yes, his life has sucked, and, given he is now a con artist, continues to suck. Yes, not being able to attend St. Oswald’s as a student was unfair and elitist. Does that mean you need to turn into a psychopathic murderer? No, it does not.

I usually don’t quit books halfway through. But I gave the thing 240+ pages, and frankly, I’d rather be reading….

Lola and the Boy Next Door!!

Oh, Lola. Sometimes you just need a book that fills you up with stars, rainbows, and cotton candy clouds. You close the book feeling warm and fuzzy inside with a smile on your face.

Stephanie Perkins, you are amazing at YA romance. I’m completely impressed how a premise as simple as “girl meets boy next door” (yes, the summary of the plot is in the title) can stretch to fill an entire book without it feeling like a stretch, if you know what I mean. It has lots of plot antics and the characters grow through their experiences and it’s entirely engrossing.

It also reminds us that a good story with loveable characters doesn’t need a big, convoluted premise with angsty boarding school boys and murder. You just a need a girl named Lola who loves costumes and dresses up every day and a boy with a passion for Rube Goldberg machines (I knew I would like Cricket the minute I heard about his tinkering).

It took me a week to read half of Gentlemen and Players and two nights to read Lola. This has nothing to do with the ease of the writing but everything to do with my enjoyment of the story. No, Lola does not have a deep plot nor will it garner intense serious discussion, unless you mean the fangirly gushing kind. But how telling is it that Gentlemen is still lying abandoned on my floor while Lola is sitting on the couch next to me as I write this? I’ve found a new bff and sometimes that’s what you need in a book.

Thanks for making me get Lola sooner rather than later!




PS Where did I find rainymood.com? Stephanie Perkins’ (Lola’s author’s) blog of course!

*PPS I probably should have talked about Wordstock, but who wants to read a list of things someone else did at a convention (w/o pics)? A list like:

#1 I saw ____Author they were awesome!
#2 Such and such press was sweet!!
#12 OMG you should have seen that panel!

It just gets a bit boring.

And, well, you already got to hear all of it on the phone…sorry about that 😛 Who knows, if my cold gets better I’ll talk about the PNBA tradeshow tomorrow… if I have a story to tell and not a list.

BTW, can you have a * and a postscript at once?

PPPS Can we dress up like Lola every day?