Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Posted August 13, 2014 in Book Review / 0 Comments

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Published by Dutton Books on September 29th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 338
Format: Hardcover
Source: Amazon
Goodreads
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five-stars

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.

Main Points
Writing Style:
I love it. I LOVE it. A nice present tense that isn’t distracting. Easy words, contemporary. A teenage tone. So refreshingly honest.
Plot:
Another beautiful story. Unforgettable. An easy favorite. It has the same charm as the first one, but everything seems magnified. It’s just so much more. And just so honest.
In the first review I talked about how Perkins portrays the real-life feelings that people don’t often think about. This is one of the main reasons I love her books so much. The one that really struck me in this book was on page 200. Lola surprises Cricket at his dorm, and he’s sort of in a state of shock. “You’re in my room,” he says quietly. “You weren’t in my room five minutes ago and now you are.”
This is so classic. So real. It’s totally something you feel when you like someone. It’s like daydreams coming true. When something you’ve always wanted but never expected comes to pass, it’s an incredible feeling. She got it exactly right.
One of the reasons I liked Cricket so much was because of his honesty. He may have wasted opportunities when he was younger, but when he sees Lola again, he certainly wastes no time. He comes right out with his feelings. It may have been hasty, and it did little to make things less complicated, but it saved a lot of time and confusion. If everyone was completely honest about that sort of thing, life would be easier. Of course, it may have been attributed to Cricket’s lack of experience in these matters, but still it’s a fantastic quality to have. It’s how I’m constantly trying to live. Life is too short and it would be too ridiculous to waste time with lies and half-truths. I may not be exactly like Cricket, but I recognize the power of honesty.
Another cute habit he has is writing reminders on his hands. I’m a huge fan of body art myself, and I have several tattoo pens. I also forget things a lot. So I decided to take his habit and use it for myself. It’s quite fun.
The one thing I’m a bit skeptical about is this. Things may have worked out a little too well for Cricket. The first time he has an actual real relationship (I don’t really count his first one), it turns out to be The One. Things actually work out sort of the same for Lola. He was her first love, after all. Now how many times does that happen?
Like with Anna, I wasn’t completely in love with Lola. She wasn’t the wisest girl, or even the most relatable. But she did have her strengths, oddities, and faults that everyone else does. So she was a satisfying main character.
I really didn’t see how she was so oblivious about her relationship with Max. I never liked Max. He was a jerk. He so obviously wasn’t as into her as she was into him. She should have known from the beginning that age was a big issue and she shouldn’t have thrown herself at him.
She also spent a lot of time being remarkably confused about her own feelings, when I (along with everyone and their dog and the mailman) could so easily tell that she liked Cricket back. I mean, how long do you think you can hide from yourself that you’re making excuses to see this guy, and that your feelings towards him are far from friendly? Well, to be fair, Cricket wasn’t exactly holding himself back from her either. He did at the right times, but in general, he was just as obsessed with her as she was trying not to be about him. You’d think that would convince her. It didn’t really until towards the end. 

“He couldn’t concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars.” -Cricket, page 326

I liked seeing how Anna and Etienne still are very much in love. I liked her relationship with Lindsey. I liked how Calliope turned out to be a good person, and so did Norah, her birth mother. I liked seeing how her relationship with her dads was different from having a mom and a dad. There were a lot of wonderful little sub-relationships in this book.
The differences between this book and the first book are pretty clear. They are kind of inverse. First of all, it’s not in France. Lola is the one who starts off in a real relationship that’s difficult to get out of. And Cricket is (almost) 100% honest about his feelings. Another reason I really liked both of these- because they are similar but opposite in these factors. And both make great stories. The second one may be a little more realistic and a little more painful, but that’s what makes it more beautiful in my opinion.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • writing
  • feelings
  • relationships
  • most characters
  • realism
  • plot
Less than perfect:
  • Lola
  • Max
Bottom Line
Another absolutely beautiful story. It’s different (sort of inverse) from Anna and the French Kiss. It has the same charm, but it’s so much more than the first one. Her writing continues to be astounding and Cricket is amazing. The honesty is refreshing. There are a lot of nice little sub-relationships. Perkins continues to capture the feelings that we don’t often think about but are a regular part of life. Would I read more by this author? Yes, everything. Would I recommend this book to others? Totally.

About Stephanie Perkins

Hi, there! I’m Steph, and I wrote ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. They have funny bits and kissing, so you should totally read them. If you’re into that sort of thing. The final companion is called ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, and it will be released in August 2014. I also edited (and contributed a short story to) a romantic holiday anthology called MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME (October 2014). My next novel will be horror—a teen slasher published by Dutton.

Rating
Plot
five-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
five-stars
Setting
five-stars
Romance
four-half-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Ending
three-half-stars
Overall: five-stars
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