Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein

Summary: Lotus Lowenstein's life is merde. She dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre.

At first, Lotus thinks Sean is the best thing to happen to her in years. He’s smart, cultured, and adorable. Unfortunately, though, Joni feels the same way. And having an existentialist view of love, Sean sees nothing wrong with enjoying both girls’ affections. Things come to a head when all three depart for Montreal with their teacher, Ms. G, on the French Club’s first official field trip. Will Sean choose Joni over Lotus? And will Lotus and Joni’s friendship ever recover? -- Delacorte Press

I am always a sucker for a cute chick lit book whether it be Middle Grade, Tween, Young Adult, or even grown-up fiction. So I am very excited to tell you about a new YA book that I just finished called THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN by Libby Schmais. This book was positively adorable, and I found myself laughing a lot while I read it!

I think one of the main reasons that THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN was so special was because of Lotus. She was just a terrific character. In so many ways, Lotus is just a typical teenager (and believe me, that didn't always endear her to me!) She was at times self-centered and sarcastic; but by the end of the book, I absolutely loved her!

I really appreciated how the author chose to tell this story. The book was written through Lotus' diary entries; and while this presentation isn't exactly original anymore, I thought it was executed perfectly in this novel. The diary entries allow the reader to get to know (and love) Lotus; and I thought her witty remarks and insights into life were hilarious!

I mentioned earlier that Lotus was a typical teenager in quite a few ways, but she was also much more than that. Lotus loved all things France and actually wanted to move there and live as an Existentialist! I'm not sure I even understood all of that when I was a teenager, but Lotus is in many ways wise beyond her years. Unfortunately for Lotus, the closest she can come to France is visiting Montreal on a school trip with her best friend, love interest and teacher! It was when Lotus went to Montreal that I found myself really warming up to her character.

Even though Lotus could be a little difficult at times, my heart went out to her. Her parents weren't always the most attentive and supportive ones, and she exhibited many of the "normal" teen behavior such as angst, insecurity with boys, and best-friend trouble. What I loved the most about Lotus is that eventually she did make the right decisions for the right reasons. I liked that her character matured and evolved throughout the course of the novel. In some ways, I thought the book was a mix between a chick lit and coming-of-age novel.

I highly recommend THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN if you are looking for a cute and entertaining book! I can only imagine how much young teen girls are going to love Lotus and her witty insights!

Check out the book trailer. I think it definitely captures the essence of this very cute novel:

Lotus Lowenstein's My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have a Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza

Today’s French Word du Jour is poutine (which means "French Fries with Gravy"). If you collect all the French words du jour on the Blog Tourapalooza, you can enter a contest to win fabulous prizes (a $25 Sephora gift card and a personally autographed Pillow Book!). Once you’ve visited all the blog tour stops and collected all the words, email the complete list of words to lotuslowenstein@gmail.com with the subject line “French Word du Jour Contest.” All e-mail entries must be received by midnight (EST) on December 21, 2009. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2009. Be sure to include your name, e-mail address, and daytime phone number with your entry (If you're under age 13, give your parent's contact info). The complete My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have-a-Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza schedule can be found at lotuslowenstein.com. Our next tour stop is Shelf Elf on December 16. See you on the road, mes amis!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for sending me a review copy of this book.


Sandy Nawrot said...

How cute! I'm wondering if my daughter might want to read this as well. I'm off to see if it is at our library. Great review!

bermudaonion said...

That does sound like a fun book! I love the name of the book tour. Merde was the first French word Vance picked up when he went to school!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This does sound very cute. And what could be more romantic for a teen than a school trip? I remember mine (to Philadelphia) which seemed very romantic until some guy told me I had big hips! Ack! Ruined the whole city for me! :--)

Jenny Girl said...

This sounds like such a cute book! I was definitely not that deep thinking in high school. I still think I know exactly what existentialism (sp) is.
I am also going to check my library. Thanks Julie!

Mike Lindgren said...

Am I the only one who still kind of does a double-take at the phrase "book trailer"? :)

Beth F said...

This does sound fun!

S. Krishna said...

I got this one unsolicited and had no idea what it was about. I'm glad you thought it was good!

Bookworm said...

Very cute trailer! I'm just about done with the book now, and it's so unique and funny--I'm loving it! Great review!