Book Reviews

[review] Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: September 29, 2011 (US)/October 4, 2011 (Canada)
Publisher: Dutton
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 338
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal library

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Discovery: I was one of the last people I know to read Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel, so I was determined to pick up a copy of Lola as soon as it came out. (World’s Biggest Bookstore had two copies available as early/late as yesterday and I ran down after work to get one.)

+     Vibrant characters. If someone were to ask me to describe Lola in one word, it would be joy. I had so much fun reading this novel–finished it in two hours!–and a huge part of that is due to the characters. Lola jumps off every page and her voice is just as strong and unique. I really enjoyed her interaction with her dads and it was easy to get to know her. Lindsey, her best friend, was the character that made me sit up and go “That’s me!” Anna and Etienne’s appearances made my heart dissolve into a puddle (I may or may not have had to stifle high-pitched squeals into my pillow last night). And Cricket…oh, can we just talk about Cricket for the rest of the blog post? No? …Okay, fine.

You know how Belle from Beauty and the Beast sings “I want so much more than they’ve got planned?” This was my tune while waiting for Lola. I wanted someone more than just a pretty British boy who’s also an artist (though I do seem to have a weakness for them). I wanted Stephanie Perkins to surprise me, to make me want to get to know another dreamy fictional boy, especially since I don’t seem to be lacking in them lately. Cricket was everything I could ever want and more. He’s an inventor! He helps his figure-skating sister! He studies star charts! There may not be enough exclamation points in the world for me to keep going. This is why I love Stephanie Perkins’ characters: they’re never exactly who you think they are.

+     Romance. I’ll throw it out there right now: I don’t like bad boys. I get the appeal, but I personally would not want to take all that baggage on. Nice guys are my Kryptonite (see Williams, Rory [Doctor Who] and Mellark, Peeta [The Hunger Games]). So understandably, I spent a sizeable chunk of the book wondering what Lola saw in Max. But the book’s not about them, is it?

The first appearance of our titural “Boy Next Door” had me wheezing from giggling so much. That’s the moment I knew that I’d like him. Cricket and Lola are like the earth and the moon: they are each other’s satellites and it’s obvious from the start that they’re not over whatever happened two years ago. I liked that Stephanie Perkins didn’t drag things out and had them face each other early on. The development of their relationship was believable, though I did want to sit Lola down for a few minutes and tell her that it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Then again, I wanted to do the same for Anna. There were lots of adorable moments and I genuinely like them together.

+     Setting. I’m an East Coast girl, born and bred, so books set in San Francisco hold a rare kind of appeal for me. I’m not a fan of glitzy L.A. or rainy Seattle; the Bay Area’s always been my favourite city on the West Coast. I loved the descriptions Perkins provided of the roller-coaster streets and the little bits of flavour that she sprinkled throughout the book. The music festivals sound amazing!

Recommendations:  I love this book. I really really really love it, maybe not as much as Anna and the French Kiss, but still lots of love. As a contemporary YA romance, everything works brilliantly. Stephanie Perkins definitely has another winner on her hands.

Rating:  Excellent.

Go visit Stephanie Perkins at her website and follow her on Twitter @naturallysteph. (She’s even got a little Anna extra on the website for anyone who misses Anna and Etienne’s banter!)

You can check out Lola and the Boy Next Door on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin


5 replies »

  1. Awesome review Angel. This definitely sounds like an awesome book. You’re certainly not the last person to have read Anna and the French Kiss because I haven’t yet! 🙂 I actually have that checked out from the library to read here soon. But yes, I’m definitely late on the bandwagon. But hey, at least I don’t have to wait as long for Lola! 🙂

    ♥ Sarah @ I’m Loving Books

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