Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: September 29, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Barnes & Noble): In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think
For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, 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 move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket – a gifted inventor and engineer – 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.
Not going to lie, I’ve been waiting and looking forward to this book for months, since the moment I turned the last page in Anna and the French Kiss. And all of the reviews from bloggers who received advanced copies only fueled that desire to the point where I’ve been almost counting down the days until the book arrived in my mailbox.
So, basically, I was extremely excited when I came home yesterday and found out the Amazon had delivered my copy early. It was like Christmas in my apartment! I promptly curled up on the couch and didn’t move until i’d read the book in it’s entirety. And when I finished it, the first thing I wanted to do was pick it up and read it all over again. Stephanie Perkins got it absolutely
right a second time, and while this book holds the same magic that Anna did, it feels so different and so new.
I fell in LOVE with Lola, the book and the character. Lola is one of those girls that I always wish I’d had the guts to be; she’s independent, creative, determined, and she’s gutsy. I could never pull off, let alone think of, half the outfits that she puts together with ease. And yet, despite the tough yet very girly vibes she exudes Lola was sentimental, emotional, fragile, confused and conflicted, just as I was as a teenager. It was so easy to think of Lola as a sister or a best friend, that it pulled me into the story and has me experience the highs and lows right along side of her.
And then, there’s THE BOY. You know, the boy from the title. And while I went into the book hoping he’d be even a fraction of the awesomeness that was St. Clair in Anna, I had my reservations that he’d be able to compete. And oh boy was I wrong, So very, very wrong. Cricket is unique and wonderful and adorable and awkward and oh, so perfect. I found myself giggling like a teenager whenever he’d appear with his obvious crush and interest in Lola and it was so endearing that you can’t help buy fall in love with him too.
As much as I loved Lola and Cricket, you’d think that the other characters would pale in comparison, but that’s not even remotely true. Lola’s best friend was unique and perfect in her own way (I’d totally have a Veronica Mars marathon with the two of them any day!). And Lola’s two dad’s were incredibly supportive and loving (not the absent parents that so often populate YA literature). And I nearly fell off the couch in excitement when Anna and St. Clair made their first appearance in the book!
This book swept me right up into Lola’s life and I felt I was right beside her, traipsing across San Francisco (via train, bus and foot) and navigating the challenges of being in love and dealing with relationships, friends, parents and school. Both Lola and her story just felt so real and normal and Stephanie Perkins never crossed the line into sappy or melodramatic. She managed to capture the voice of a normal teenager who is dealing with complicated, difficult and awkward issues, it felt genuine and real.
While I adore the YA realistic fiction genre, I usually feel that most of them are too over the drop dramatic, or too formulaic, or just too something. But Stephanie Perkins gets it just right, everything is pitch perfect. I will without a doubt be buying every book that she writes from here until the end of time. And I know I’ll fall in love with each character and be so sad when it comes time to say goodbye to them.
With all that being said, if you haven’t read Lola and the Boy Next Door, I’m honestly not sure what’s stopping you. So no more excuses, go now!