Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins is a delightful contemporary YA romance. The characters are fun, quirky without being overdone, and believable. The romance is believable, sweet but also pretty sizzling. I enjoyed visiting San Fransicso through the book -- it felt like visiting with a local, not a tourist. And the story never left me bored or skimming to get to the "good parts." It was all good parts! I liked Perkins' first book Anna and the French Kiss, but actually enjoyed Lola even more. Bottom line - a feel-good rom-com with plenty of heart and emotion.
The Piper's Son, by Melinda Marchetta is a great story of redemption and family and love in many forms. From a somewhat superficial standpoint, I liked that it was a YA book featuring post-high school young adults. People navigating life "after." I also liked that the primary secondary character (is that a thing?) was Tom's aunt -- an adult! Who isn't a stock character or plot device! Bottom line - this book has so many things I love: humor, depth, heart, love, redemption, and an ending that's just a beginning.
Room with a View, by E.M. Forster proved to be a comfort-food read along the lines of Jane Austen or L.M. Montgomery. Quiet and thoughtful, yet witty and full of keen human observation. Philosophical but unpretentious. The story moved along and kept you wanting to know what would happen, but it didn't rush. The cast of characters may have been a bit expected -- the conventional mother, the whimsical brother, the maiden aunt, the "vulgar" old country man, the pretentions Londonite, the stuffy clergyman and the kind clergyman -- but rather than fell cliche, they just felt familier, like old friends. And the love story truly resonated. As a bonus - Florence! I'm predisposed to love anything featuring Italy, and Forster didn't dissapoint. Bottom line - it's a classic for a reason.