Readers, including me, flipped for Stephanie Perkins' debut novel Anna and the French Kiss the story of teen Anna who left everything she loved — including her best friend Lola — behind to attend a French boarding school for a year. This month we are finally getting Lola's story with Lola and the Boy Next Door. And don't be surprised when Lola, the boy she thinks she may love and the city she lives in all capture your heart. To get you ready to dive into this new release, today Stephanie shares her — and her characters' — top five destinations you absolutely much check out if you visit The City by the Bay.

Lola Nolan is not your average girl. Cricket Bell is not your average boy. And San Francisco? It’s not your average city.

Together, they create a perfect — and very different — kind of love triangle.

It was a pleasure to write a novel set in my favorite city. Ten years ago, my husband and I were engaged at the bottom of Lombard Street, “the most crooked street in the world,” and because of it, no city will ever feel quite so romantic! I’m proud to have lived in this mecca of arts, organics, and quirky-cool.

Here are five places that Lola, Cricket, and I would encourage you to visit during your next stay:

  1. Castro — Take a walk through Lola and Cricket’s famously gay-friendly neighborhood to admire the beautiful Victorian houses and killer window displays. Grab a crepe for lunch at Squat & Gobble, and then treat yourself to a delicious espresso at their favorite hangout, Spike's Coffee & Teas.
  2. Musée Mécanique — Skip the tourist junk at Fisherman’s Wharf (okay, you should probably check out the sea lions) and head straight toward this privately owned museum filled with antique arcade games and eerie mechanical treasures. Maybe you’ll spot automaton-inventor-and-enthusiast Cricket while you’re there! Or maybe it’ll just give you nightmares. Either way, it’s fun for anyone with a wicked sense of humor.
  3. Alcatraz — The infamous former federal penitentiary is a classic. Explore the island with the Cellhouse Audio Tour, featuring voices from actual officers and inmates. A must-see for fans of crime, history, and . . . creepy papier-mâché heads.
  4. Japanese Tea Garden — Stroll through this peaceful garden hidden inside of Golden Gate Park, and don’t forget to stop by the cute teahouse for a cup of Japanese tea and tasty snacks. This is an ideal spot for dates, both the romantic-partner kind as well as the solo kind for your soul.
  5. Amoeba Records — Just beside Golden Gate Park sits the largest independent record store in the country. Amoeba only has three locations, and the one on Haight Street is my favorite. It has an enormous selection of crazy, fantastic, hard-to-find music as well as live concerts by some of the world’s most intriguing musicians.

Have a fabulous trip! And say hello to the sea lions for me.

- Stephanie Perkins

Be sure to pick up your copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door in stores now! And for more genre coverage head over to our Everything Young Adult Page!

Tags: RT Daily Blog, Young Adult
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