I would classify the books I read into two kinds: There's the complicated ones, full of epic mystical, philosophical, ethical stories that leave your mind spinning over the turmoils you've just read. And then there's the light reads, which leave you with bittersweet ultimate happiness accompanied by envy of the characters' lives. They're stories you wish would happen to you, and the series I've just finished is the perfect example of one of these.
Stephanie Perkins' three romances are literally so well written and idealistic. And by romance I don't mean the sordid stuff for middle-aged women, which is the idea we seem to have attached to romance novels these days. I mean the really cute romances we often see play out in chick flicks, except executed better with deeper meaning, because words always convey more layers than a movie ever will. Not only are these books super duper cute, but they're also predominantly set in France, which means the characters can visit modern museums, the Latin Quarter, have walks along the River Seine - Life wouldn't get much better than that.
The three couples from the three books are also all so different from each other, in their own perfect way.
In Anna and the French Kiss there's Etienne, who's like all the perfect characteristics of any dream boy rolled into one. He's funny, charismatic, charming, and apparently each of the girls in their French boarding school have liked him at one point. He's also British, French and American. Then there's Anna, who comes from America to France to study for a year, where of course she has to meet a boy as perfect as Etienne, and of course they're in love but there are other complications. And then, in the end, there's the usual happily ever after.
The thing is, while I was reading this book, a girl at my school actually was spending a year studying in France. My friend who also read this book made a valid point about how envious she was, how she somewhat wished she could experience a year in France herself, have an Anna and the French Kiss experience. It's a pity we all know life doesn't really work out like this though. Sure France is beautiful and a year there would be an adventure, but how many perfect French boys who are perfectly compatible with us will we meet? I think the answer is none.
The second book is Lola and the Boy Next Door, and they're a pretty weird pair, which is why they're so sweet and work perfectly. Lola is really into whacky fashion. She's got the extravagant skirts and clashing colours and it's all just crazy. Then there's Cricket, who's really into inventions if I remember correctly, and the twin of an ice skating sister. He's super sweet as well, and they live next door to each other if you hadn't already gathered that. A next door neighbour I would immensely enjoy hanging out with - Why can't I have one?
I remember there was this one scene I found really cute in this book. Lola was wearing funny cat-eye glasses which actually turned out to be real, but they were crushed by her co-worker at the movie theatre she worked at. Cricket was there and she was blind so he helped her all the way home through the Subway, which was partially hilarious and partially sweet.
And the final book, which I finished a few days ago is called Isla and the Happily Ever After. The guy is Josh, who is artistic and super smart, but would rather focus on his art. He may seem a little strange but I think he's pretty deep, and can be charming as the son of a diplomat. He's actually a pretty complicated character. Then there's Isla, who is smart and insecure which makes her seem even more real. She's pretty complicated too.
I absolutely loved the setting of this book - It was located both in New York and Paris, which are two of the most contrasting beautiful cities in the world. They also travel to Barcelona by train at one point, showing how compact all the unique countries of Europe are. I really just want to travel, experience some escapism.
Reading books like this, which are well-executed and realistic, but don't seem to happen in real life, give me such high expectations. Why is it that life is always better when made up, when played out through a story? I don't know if I'll ever be able to settle for any relationship less than one of these.
So I guess it's either life throws me someone or something just as spectacular, or I continue living fantasies.
Is that necessarily a bad thing?