Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
◆ Read October 2014
◆ English Edition
◆ Purchase: The Book Depository
◆ 
❝ 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.
I was afraid that I wouldn't like Lola and the Boy Next Door as much as Anna and the French Kiss. I had nothing to worry about though, because it was just as great. Perhaps (dare I say it?) I even liked it a little more. I even finished it in less than a day!

The thing that made me like it perhaps a little bit more is because the book contains so many great characters. I love Anna and St. Clair to bits but they are a little bit ordinary. Lola, however, is anything but. She wears elaborate but peculiar outfits and wigs and feels completely confident while doing so. She's quirky and really creative too, knows how to bake pies and make her own costumes. The other side of her is that she's struggling with her family situation. The book isn't just about the love story, it's about how she deals with growing up, her dads (they were great!), her estranged mother, etc.

Can I also just say how amazing of a character Cricket is? He's so not average with his slightly peculiar but fashionable clothes, geekiness, inventions and the fact that he finished high school early. He's also an absolute cutie-patootie and so in love with Lola that it sometimes made me sad to see him struggle with winning her over. Still though, he was very persistent and the ending of the book was amazingly romantic. Can somebody get me a Cricket please?

I wasn't aware that Anna and St. Clair would make multiple appearances in Lola and the Boy Next Door. I like that they were friends with Lola. It gave a sense of continuity to the book series, because their love story didn't just stop with the end of Anna and the French Kiss. We still got bits and pieces of information about their relationship and how it was developing.

Speaking of the last book, the only thing that irked me was the cheating scenario and I was glad to see that the author chose a different path for Lola. She didn't cheat per se, but was hanging out with Cricket, whom she knew she liked, while still in a relationship with Max. Furthermore, it did not get brushed off this time because her dad pointed out how it was an incredibly bad move on Lola's part. What an improvement from the last book!

While the city sights and cultural aspects formed such a big part of Anna and the French Kiss, this was less so the case in this book. Most places like the Japanese garden or Muir Woods weren't described in a lot of detail. I would have liked to read a little bit more about San Francisco, but at the same time it didn't bother me because there were enough  plot lines to keep the story engaging.

I think I liked Lola and the Boy Next Door just as much as the previous book in the series. It was a bit different, but still very well written, perfectly paced and incredibly cute. I now officially consider myself a fan of Stephanie Perkin's books! I'm secretly even hoping that she'll write a companion novel about Calliope.

5 stars because:
✓ Great, different characters
✓ Anna & St. Clair make appearances
✓ 'Cheating' scenario handled much better
✓ Incredibly cute


 

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