Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Published: 9-29-2011 by Dutton Books
Get the book: Amazon
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.
Rating – 3/5
This cover…I really don’t love it. I do like the font choices, which are the same as the Anna and the French Kiss cover. I also like how the cover is kind of framed in because they couple is sitting on what looks like a window seat. And windows do factor into the story, so that’s nice. But the models are driving me nuts in a bad way. The girl’s outfit, wig, and pose do not look like Lola to me at all. Lola struck me as a stubborn free spirit and that pose does not say that at all. Plus her outfit is too normal for the Lola I read about. And I do not want to see the love interest on the cover – I want to imagine him for myself. I liked the glimpse of the characters on the Anna cover, and I wish that concept was carried to this one as well. I guess I like the new cover a little more, because it feels very bold and fitting for Lola, but I don’t think the new covers fit Anna very well. I don’t know…they’re growing on me.
I really loved Anna and the French Kiss, which I held off on reading for a long time, so I was expecting a lot from this book. It was really good, but I didn’t love it and much as I loved Anna. Anna and Etienne do appear in this book, much more than I thought they would, but I actually found them a little annoying. I felt like it was Lola’s story and they were just there to please readers and not for the story.
- Cricket – Cricket’s inventions are all really cool, and I liked reading about the different things he made to solve he and Lola’s childhood inconveniences. I thought the bit about his famous ancestor was interesting, and Cricket’s reaction was understandable. Basically, Cricket felt like a real person. He was smart, sweet, and supportive, but also a bit unsure of himself and not assertive enough.
- Lola’s dads – Nathan and Andy obviously love Lola to death. I really appreciated that they each had a unique personality, rather than just being your average YA parent who is present only to butt heads with the protagonist. Nathan and Andy aren’t perfect parents. Sometimes they do the wrong thing, but they try to put Lola 1st at all times. They were also some great comic relief.
- slow romance – This is also something I loved about Anna and the French Kiss. It’s not another instalove story. Lola and Cricket’s relationship developed gradually, in a way that felt genuine. They were obviously friends previously, and in the book they reconnect as friends and then inch toward something more. I love that this story took the slow burning romance and left the whole tired “oh but it would ruin our friendship forever” cliche.
- windows – What’s more in-your-face than a guy who lives next door to you? A guy whose bedroom window faces yours. As a younger kid, it’s obviously pretty awesome and exciting all the time to have your friend within arm’s reach. But what happens when the boy next door is a young man? I really like Lola and Cricket’s exchanges through their windows, and how Lola took note of whether Cricket’s window was open or not. The notes they left for each other were sweet, and the glimpses we got into Cricket’s life just from what Lola could see in his room were really interesting.
- Max – At 1st Lola’s older boyfriend seemed ok – a bit of a jerk to Lola’s dads, but not a complete scumbag. But, of course, he did turn out to be an all-around sleaze. Lola was so accepting of Max going on roadtrips for his band, but Max made it clear over and over that he thought everything in Lola’s life was lame and immature…so why did he even like her? Someone who’s not willing to make any compromises in a relationship is not boyfriend material.
- Lola seems really young – Lola is 17, but she seemed to me like she was 14 or 15. I’m not entirely sure why. I think it was the combination of her attitude about how woefully unfair it was that her parents hated her slimy boyfriend (as if they had no good reason), and her full-on costume every single day routine. We’re not talking about a quirky outfit or accessories here. Every day is Halloween, complete with an assortment of Technicolor wigs. Plus, it’s been years since the unpleasant/awkward situation happened with Cricket and Calliope, yet she got nervous every time she saw a moving truck? You would think she would have moved on and gotten some hobbies or goals – something more important and interesting than hanging on the old fights.
- Calliope – Calliope is awful. She’s manipulative and self-centered. Why can’t someone focused and driven be portrayed as something other than a horribly selfish person? It is possible to be goal-oriented and not treat other people like they’re in your way.
- “Actually, it’s more like a late birthday present.” “How…belated of you?” I roll back toward him. “Hold out your hand.” He’s smiling. He does. “I’m sure you don’t remember anymore, but several birthdays ago, you needed this.” – Lola + Cricket ebook location 3528
- “I can’t go to the dance like this, it’s too much. Way too much.” “Honey,” he shouts to Nathan. “You’d better get in here. Lola is using new words.” Nathan appears in my doorway, and he grins when he sees me. “Our daughter said” –Andy pauses for dramatic effect– “it’s too much.” They burst into laughter. – Lola + her dads (Nathan + Andy) location 3813
Acquired: bought (ebook)