Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: review

Goodreads rating: 4.21
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published September 29th 2011 by Dutton
Setting: San Francisco, California (United States)
 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.
Stephanie Perkins is one of the few contemporary authors I’ve read that I’ll read again. I don’t know why, contemporary always feels like “one and done” for me, which in a way this “series” is. It’s not exactly a series in the usual sense of the word: there isn’t a bigger story arc spread out over three books involving the same characters that are set on reaching a common goal. It’s a series in the way that three books are interconnected with some of the old characters showing up in the new story, but there’s a completely different plot line. I am in love with that idea.

To be honest, I loved Anna and the French Kiss more than Lola and the Boy Next Door. And I think that’s due to the mystery of Etienne, while Cricket (ha!) was very forthcoming about his feelings for Lola. Also, the setting wasn’t Paris and Lola didn’t have the opportunity to botch up French words, so that took out part of the fun already. On that note, I was ecstatic to have Anna and Etienne there. You always wonder what happens to a couple after the book is over. And hence why I love Stephanie Perkins! She gave us a glimpse into the after of Anna and the French Kiss. And I really enjoyed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I adored this book right to the very end. And you know I went back to read the delicious kissing scenes about a billion times. I also realized reading this book that Perkins makes it very hard for guys to live up to fictional characters. We all want an Etienne, and believe me once you read this one you will be desperate for a Cricket (ha!). I think my “problem” with this one (which really isn’t a problem) is that I didn’t cry. Anna and the French Kiss legitimately made me cry. But not this one. That doesn’t mean though that it wasn’t amazing. Because it was. Stephanie is brilliant and romantic and I have no idea how much she has to be in love with her husband and vice versa to come up with these perfect situations. She is brilliant and I think we are all indebted to her for giving us what most of us will never get in real life. So thank you, Stephanie Perkins.

I also liked the family elements, like Lola's two fathers: her gay uncle and his partner. They love her, take care of her, and are much better parents than her deadbeat ones who she barely ever sees. Dear old Mommy does make an appearance though, something Lola does not like. I also liked the familial issues with Cricket (ha!) and his twin sister Calliope. They all used to be great friends, until the twins decided Lola wasn't their friend anymore and they moved away. And now, they're back. The kicker? Lola used to be in love with Cricket (ha!). But she's with Max now, and he's the one. Or so she keeps telling herself. But we all know the truth: you never forget your first love.
If you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss or this book (even if you don’t like contemporary) please do. They’re brilliant and witty and beyond funny, while being romantic to the point of insanity.

1 comment:

  1. I don't read a lot of contemporary books, but these are FANTASTIC and utterly romantic. I always say that while these books look fluffy, they're not. And that's part of the reason why I love them so much. They have depth to them, particularly Lola and the Boy Next Door. Great review and I'm glad you enjoyed it! :-)


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