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The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein by Libby…
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The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein

by Libby Schmais

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Lotus was named by a mother who was going through a Zen phase when she was born, and is burdened with lame jokes and Zen breathing as a result. This book was pretty uninteresting, and I finished it purposefully just to see what happened. The first three-fourths of the book deal with Lotus loving France, including a lot of French words, and dealing with her crazy family. Her father is writing an existential play and Lotus seems to know quite a lot about John Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, weirdly. She and her best friend fall in love with the same boy, and the three of them form a French Club which ends up going to Montreal. By the end of the book, both girls have seen him for what he really is, but it takes a long time and a toll on their friendship. A confusing book – why would either girl put up with him? And the best part is the location – New York City and Montreal. Not worth the effort I put into it. ( )
  59Square | Jun 19, 2010 |
Reviewed by Angela S. for TeensReadToo.com

Lotus Lowenstein is enamored with all things French. She has been begging her parents to let her go to Paris during the summer, but her parents tell her they can't afford it. So, what's a girl to do? Start a French club, of course!

Lotus decides to start a club at school to discuss all things French. At first, its only members are Lotus and her BFF, Joni. But then the cute new boy in school, Sean, decides to join, because he loves all things French, too.

With a trip to Montreal and a lot of boy drama, this book is sure to please those who love everything French - from Parisian food to its hip style. It's even sure to please those who don't love French - and who don't know their croissants from their donuts.

Written in diary style entries, Lotus is a fun and sweet character with lots of spunk. Surely, readers will enjoy her life and find themselves immersed in the story very quickly. ( )
  GeniusJen | Apr 30, 2010 |
The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein was a fabulous, delicious and hilarious book! It's really hard to pick a favorite part of it. The entire book is written as Lotus's diary and her observations about her friends and family. Lotus lives in Brooklyn, is obsessed with all things French, and has a fantastic sense of humor. She's someone I would want to hang out with.

I love how she wanted to immerse herself in French culture and existentialism. She's really into fashion and just getting out there and trying to have a good life and include others in it. And as I've said before she's just funny, her observations about everything reminded me a bit of Georgia Nicolson, as others have mentioned. She's hard to describe because she's so absolutely layered which I loved!

I loved being reminded about why I took French in high school and how much I just love French culture just like Lotus! It was nice being back in that place. I also was excited to see how the love triangle between Lotus, her best friend Joni, and other French Club member Sean played out.

Overall this was a hilarious and heartfelt book and I can't wait to check out some of the author's other adult books. I hope she also continues down this track with another book in this same spirit for the young adult audience! ( )
  mint910 | Dec 6, 2009 |
Lotus is obsessed with French culture. She swears by French dieting, idolizes French existentialists, and drops French words into her conversation and writing as much as possible. Lotus’ dream is to move to Paris, immerse herself in the culture, and hopefully find a hot Parisian boyfriend. The only problem is, she’s stuck in Brooklyn, New York, with stressed-out parents and a chess-master little brother who make light of her dedication to the French culture.

When Lotus and her best friend, Joni, start a French club at school, they figure they’ll be the only members…until Sean walks in the room. New to school, Sean is cute and an existentialist, thus making him the perfect boy for both Lotus and Joni’s affections. Sean doesn’t seem to have a problem being with both of them at the same time, but the stress wears on Joni and Lotus’ friendship. Will an upcoming French club trip to Montreal repair the girls’ friendship, or has Sean destroyed it forever?

Chatty, cute, and touching, Libby Schmais’ YA debut, THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN, will satisfy fans of Helen Fielding’s BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY and Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series.

Lotus is a relatable protagonist whose obsession with French culture brings a flair of uniqueness to novels-in-diary-format. Lotus may be occasionally shallow, dumb, and obsessed, which will turn her off to readers who don’t enjoy those kinds of characters, but she is loyal to her friends and family through and through. The most remarkable part of this book is Lotus’ growth from self-obsessed, whiny teenager to a mature young woman, capable of making sacrifices for others, but still not above being good and true to herself. Often she doesn’t quite know how she can help, but whether it’s hanging around rehearsals while her father attempts to make his playwriting debut, or helping her teacher make over her life, she tries her utmost hardest and approaches everything she does with the complete goodness of her heart.

The supporting characters are well drawn for a story told entirely in the protagonist’s diary entries. There are underlying conflicts and subplots involving Lotus’ parents, younger brother, teacher, grandmother…Lotus’ world is rich with interpersonal relationships, and the other people enhance Lotus’ appeal as well, as she is an extrovert and shows her best side when she interacts with others. Sean is, admittedly, a bit weak as the supposed love interest, but his lack of character didn’t disturb me as much because there was so many better and more important things going on.

Overall, THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN is a great read if you enjoy novels written in diary entries, chatty main characters, and have ever thought of escaping your boring hometown for someplace more exotic. I hope that fans of Bridget Jones and Georgia Nicholson will give Lotus and her story a try, because this is a worthy addition to the subgenre. Vive la one and only Lotus! ( )
  stephxsu | Dec 3, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737564, Hardcover)

An adorable, completely original YA voice.

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Quirky sixteen-year-old Lotus Lowenstein's diary reveals that although she lives in Brooklyn and is failing high school French, she loves all things Gallic and dreams of living as an existentialist in Paris.

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