Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 338
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: September 29, 2011
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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. "




Lola is a quirky and eccentric teenager aspiring to be the next big fashion designer.  She likes to wear the most outlandish clothing and wigs.  Lola fits in perfectly in artsy San Francisco with her two dads and has grown up in one of the beautiful Victorian homes next door to the twins, Cricket and Calliope Bell. They used to be inseparable as children and things changed once Cricket broke Lola's heart.  However, things are different for Lola now. The Bells have moved away to accommodate Calliope's figure skating career and Lola has an older rocker boyfriend now.  Things are going smoothly for Lola until the Bells move back next door along with Cricket.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins truly captures first love and captured my heart as well.


After reading Anna and the French Kiss, I knew I HAD to get my hands on a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Much to my surprise, I realized that it is very different from Anna and the French Kiss, which I've come to realize is both good and bad.  Lola was harder for me to relate to than Anna. She's a bit out there, overly dramatic and a tad selfish.  I really couldn't connect with her like I could Anna.  Cricket makes for a really cute love interest, because he's a bit on the nerdy side as he's an aspiring inventor.  He is constantly in the shadow of his figure skating phenom sister, Calliope, and is trying to find his way.  I didn't like how he was bossed around by Calliope; I wanted him to grow a pair and that in itself frustrated me.  Cricket is a downright good guy though and lets be honest, we need that in YA.  Also, I must point out how much I LOVED Lola's dads. They were fantastic and I wish there were more books out there that showcase a family dynamic like Lola's.  


Perkins' writing style is enthralling.  Even though I couldn't relate to the characters as much as I had hoped for, I was still very much so invested in Lola and the Boy Next Door.  I really enjoy her writing style and before I knew it, I finished the book.  Perkins reminds me so much of Sarah Dessen in that she can take a character, one that I don't necessarily relate to, and make me sympathize and root for her.  I love that about Perkins!


I also adored the concept of the "boy next door" as most people had something like that in their lives at some point.  Perkins does a brilliant job of capturing this and making it magical.  The stolen glances, the talking through the windows, the peeking across the space between the two houses, the long walks in the neighborhood....I loved it. It was so very Dawson's Creek. (*sigh*)   

One of the best parts of Lola and the Boy Next Door is the fact that Anna and St. Clair are in the book.  St. Clair is his usual swoon-worthy self and it was nice to be revisited by Anna.  I liked how Perkins weaved the two story lines together.  Also, just like in Anna and the French Kiss, the setting of the novel becomes just as important and while Paris is a bit more romantic (in my opinion) than San Francisco, she still made the city come to life.  It was the perfect location for a zany girl like Lola.


All in all, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a delightful read that will take readers back to their first childhood crushes.  Although it lacked some of the magic that Anna and the French Kiss had, I still recommend it for fans of contemporary fiction as well as Sarah Dessen.  I am a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins and can't wait to read her third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, which comes out in 2012 and I hear takes place in Paris! Merci beaucoup, Ms. Perkins!




20 comments:

  1. Doesn't sound for me but it does sound sweet. Great review.

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  2. Lucky you that you got an early copy!!! I can't wait to read this one:) Too bad the characters weren't quite as easy to relate to as Anna and company but it still sounds like a fantastic story and I love that we get a different family dynamic for Lola:)

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  3. From what you've said in this review it sounds like I'll prefer 'Anna' but I still can't wait to get my hands on this book. Lovely review!

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  4. Oh wow!!! I didn't realize Anna and St. Clair were in it! I was already dying to read this one, but now it's an OMGIMUSTHAVEYOUNOWWW O_O

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  5. I cannot wait to read this book!! The Parisian setting was one thing I really loved about ANNA so maybe I won't love this one as much, but we'll have to wait and see. San Fran is one of my boyf's favourite places, but I haven never been. I keep telling him he should take me!

    I'm so excited to meet St. Clair again!! Great review! :)

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  6. Sounds like it's a cute, fun read! Very cool that Anna & St. Clair make an appearance too,

    Wonderful review :)

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  7. I can't wait to read this! I loved Anna, loved the setting and loved the characters. San Francisco is one of my favourite places in the world so I am looking forward to seeing it portrayed in this book!

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  8. Thanks for the great review! I definitely need to read this one!

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  9. I love this cover. this book sounds so good.
    I love it! so lucky you got this before most of us! I sounds great- sorry already said that.
    love the review!!

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  10. Wonderful review, Christina :) I think I want to read Anna and the French Kiss before I consider Lola ATBNX.

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  11. Thanks for checking out my review, everyone! I hope you enjoy Lola!

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  12. I loved Anna too so am dying to read this one. I love the idea of boy next door & yes, sigh, Dawson's Creek!

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  13. I bought Anna & the French Kiss for my Nook and I'm reading it as soon as I get done with Dystopian August. And then I have Lola waiting for me too! *squee*

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  14. I really need to get my hands on both of these books. I have seen so many great reviews for them both.

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  15. Excellent review! I don't think I could possibly like this as much as Anna and the French Kiss but it sounds like fun anyway. I look forward to reading it.

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  16. I still need to get a copy of Anna & the French Kiss, but this one sounds great too. I love the sweetness of it. ;) Great review.

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  17. I agree about Lola... I didn't connect with her quite as much as I did Anna. I still liked her, just didn't Love her. You know? I looooooved that Anna and St. Clair were in the book!

    Great review!!!

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  18. If you haven't read Anna yet, you must read it before Lola. You'll love it! Thanks for checking out my review, everyone!

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  19. I'm actually glad to hear the characters sound very different from Anna : as much as I loved those, I like when authors explore different things. Great review!

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