Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door*
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published September 29th 2011 by Dutton
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.
I have been near to foaming at the mouth waiting for this book, a companion novel to Perkins’s debut, Anna and the French Kiss. Anna was one of the best books that I read this year and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Lola.
Lola had many of the same things that I loved about Anna: the writing had a sense of humor and whimsy, but most importantly a romance that felt powerful– but real. It didn’t shock me to read somewhere recently that Perkins based the love in Lola and Anna off of the love that so often comes in paranormal books because there is that sense of magic to them, even if it is in a contemporary setting.
But while I was able to enjoy cameo appearances by Anna and Etienne (just try to wipe the grin off of my face when I see their names), I really enjoyed getting to know Lola and Cricket.
Let’s talk about Lola first. This girl is so damn interesting. She definitely doesn’t have the traditional family structure, with her two fathers and her birth mother later thrown into the mix, but I really appreciated the way that it was approached. Not as one father being the “mom,” but as them both being wonderful co-parents. Lola has just as many teenage rebellion issues that someone with just a mother or a father would have. ESPECIALLY because her boyfriend, Max is five years her senior.
Now, to be honest? As myself, I don’t understand the draw of Max. But as Lola? Lola who likes elaborate costumes, whose goal is never to wear the same thing twice that year, who has a tendency to be a little bit dramatic, and who speaks in capital letters WHEN IT SUITS HER? Yes. Because Max is older. He gets jealous. He’s in a band. He’s nice to her and he (mostly) puts up with her parents and he picked her. I’m not surprised she wears the rose-colored glasses for a while and doesn’t see that he’s a jerk to the Nth degree.
Now… now we can talk about Cricket. Cricket, who makes my heart pitter-patter just from thinking about him. My love for him is matched only by my love for Etienne St. Clair. I want to stride into a party with one of them on each arm. One thing about Cricket? He wants to be there for everyone who matters to him. Another thing about him? He’s upfront about his feelings and OH THE FEELINGS, they TWIST my heart.
Something about both of them? Neither one of them has recovered from when they last saw each other two years ago.
Overall rating: 5/5. Perkins has the ability to make you think that True Love can exist in the real world. While Anna is probably my favorite of the two, Lola was an excellent novel in its own right.
*Note: I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you choose to purchase the book through my link, I will receive a small portion of the sale. This in no way affected my review.