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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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

Welcome to today's tour stop for the Lotus Lowenstein's My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have a Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza!

Today’s French Word du Jour is tristesse (which means "sadness"). 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 In Bed With Books on December 10. See you on the road, mes amis!

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby Schmais
Publication Date: December 8th 2009 (Random House)

SYNOPSIS: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?

Lotus Lowenstein is obsessed with all things French. She dreams of moving to Paris, falling madly in love with a dashing existentialist Frenchman and losing her rather full figured silhouette by religiously following the eating tips in the book French Women Don’t Get Fat. All her sentences are peppered with French phrases and she tries to dress in a manner that any fashion conscious Parisian would be proud of. When I read Libby Schmais’ YA debut, it really brought a smile to my face because I could identify with being a teen like Lotus. I remember wanting to escape the humdrum of everyday life and have adventures in exciting, more exotic locales too. (The only difference was that I daydreamed of moving to Seattle after graduation, marrying Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and hanging out in great coffeehouses. Mon Dieu!)

While headstrong, and sometimes a little misguided, Lotus was also a vibrant character and I enjoyed watching her growth unfold throughout the diary entries. You’ve got to admire a person who is not afraid to march to the beat of their own drum, whether it be in forming a French club with only two members, or wearing offbeat clothing that the popular girls snicker about. Time and time again, Lotus’ antics had me laughing out loud as well- like when she switched library holds around on people just for kicks, or the way she kept track of how many times her annoying co-worker would sigh/yawn or "sawn"! Some of my favorite moments, however, involved the notes Lotus’ teacher Ms. G. would leave for her at the end of her diary entries. Lotus’ appeal was amplified with her interactions with the other characters because they showed just how loyal a person she really was. I loved the way she tried to help Ms. G makeover her life and worked tirelessly to help her father with his play too.

There were many underlying conflicts unfolding in the novel to keep the reader’s interest after the novelty of Lotus’ French obsession wore off. Subplots involving a romantic interest, her brother’s desire to be in rock band and family dynamics with her father’s highly anticipated play writing debut were just a few examples. But what impressed me most was how well defined the secondary characters were considering that novel was told entirely in diary format.

Overall, THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN should satisfy fans of Helen Fielding’s BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY. Lotus is a fantastic character whose obsession with all things French brings a fresh, fun
appeal to this subgenre. Vive la Lotus!

About the Author:
Libby Schmais is the author of the adult novels The Perfect Elizabeth and The Essential Charlotte. The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein is her first novel for young readers. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Sounds cute. I love the name Lotus.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Looks like a fun one. I love quirky characters!

carrie said...

This book sounds too cute! I hadn't heard of it yet. Thanks