Monday, October 17, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

* * * * *

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.

Cricket Bell broke Lola’s heart two years ago. He moved away and Lola moved on. Now Cricket is back and he is still head over heals in love with Lola. But Lola is dating Max (the older experienced guy that her dads don’t approve of) and she isn’t interested in allowing Cricket to break her heart again. Or is she?

If you remember, I loved Anna and the French Kiss. So much so, that I was on pins and needles waiting for Lola to be released. To give you an idea how impatient I was….I pre-ordered my copy of Lola but then decided I couldn’t wait for it to arrive at my house. So I downloaded it to my e-reader at midnight of the day it was released. Stephanie is a genius at writing romance and I simply cannot control myself when it comes to her books. And I don't regret my need for immediate gratification.  Because Lola managed to be both different and every bit as good as (if not better than) Anna.

In the words of Lola’s dad, Andy: “I am trying really hard not use the word ‘fabulous’ right now.” So instead I will say that Lola and the Boy Next Door IS SUPERB, SUBLIME, SPLENDID!

The best things about Stephanie’s books are the characters. Every character in this book was quirky and amazing. Lola was wonderfully insecure yet confident. She was brave in a way that I only dreamed of being when I was a teen. The way she pushes the boundaries to express herself is over the top and fun. And Cricket. Oh my. Yet another addition to my long list of fictional boyfriends. What I loved most about Cricket? Besides his sincerity and insecurity and height (all 76 inches of him)? He was totally the boy I would have had a crush on in school. *sigh*

The supporting cast was also great. Lola’s dads were refreshingly active and overprotective parents. Lindsey was an excellent, steady yet still quirky BFF for Lola. Max was a frighteningly realistic controlling boyfriend that you like in the beginning and then gradually grow to dislike but still pity. And Cricket’s twin, Calliope, was a surprisingly developed and multi-layered character. Then there were Anna and Etienne. They don’t have just a cameo in this book. They are actual supporting characters which was a lot of fun. And it was hilarious to see that they still participate in indecent public displays of affection that embarrass everyone around them.

Seriously, I could get out of control with telling you about all the reasons I enjoyed this book which means I have no idea how to end this review. I will just stop while I am ahead and tell you this one last thing: READ THIS BOOK! It’s a lovely romance and reading it was one of the bright spots of my month.

~ Nat

1 comment:

  1. Lola is great. She's so different than Anna and spazzy and original and artsy and creative and so utterly relatable in a way that only Stephanie Perkins' characters can be. I know some people like Lola more than Anna and I can see why, but Anna is me in literary form and therefore she automatically wins. But Lola still rocks and it's so much fun to be immersed in her book. And Cricket! You guys have already heard a lot about Cricket but CRICKET! There's really nothing I can say that you'll understand until you read the book other than CRICKET! And Lola's two dads - I have so much love for diverse family relationships and I love reading about them and I love Stephanie Perkins for helping to create.