Saturday, 1 October 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: September 29th, 2011
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Lola Nolan believes that life is too short to be the same person every day. A budding fashion designer, Lola is all about wearing coloured wigs, sparkles and anything wild and outrageous. All she wants is to wear a homemade Marie Antoinette dress to her high school’s winter formal. And to be accompanied by her boyfriend, Max. Of course, he also happens to be her parents’ worst nightmare, since he is five years Lola’s senior, in a band and covered in tattoos. When the Bell twins move back into the house next door, Lola’s life gets complicated. Calliope Bell is a promising figure skater, and her brother Cricket is a novice inventor. Lola barely recovered from the last time she saw Cricket two years ago, when he broke her heart. But Lola is with Max now, and she definitely no longer has feelings for Cricket. Right? With Cricket back in the picture, Lola will have to come to terms with the fact that she never stopped loving the boy next door.

Boy, was I looking forward to this book. I loved Anna and the French Kiss, so you can bet I was excited about Stephanie Perkins’ next novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door. And of course, it was amazing. First things first, I love Lola. Perkins is especially good at creating characters that are likable, believable and original. Even the secondary characters have a lot of depth. At one point Max says that Lola is constantly changing her personality with her outfits, but I never felt that way at all. Her costumes were a big part of her personality and reflected who she was. Cricket was probably my favourite character in this book. He was everything a boy next door should be (but rarely is, at least in my life.) He was sweet, honest, brilliant and he always saw the best in Lola. What more can you ask for? He definitely gives Etienne St. Clair a run for his money (I’m more of a Cricket girl, myself.) Speaking of St. Clair, he and Anna appear quite a bit throughout the novel. Anna and Lola work together at the cinema, and St. Clair and Cricket live in the same residence. When Anna was first introduced, I was a bit wary about her being in this book as well. No idea why, because it worked really well. Anna and St. Clair are just as cute as ever, and being able to see them from someone else’s perspective was very cool. Lindsey, Lola’s best friend who loves converse shows and Nancy Drew books, was great and I wished we’d seen more of her. Just like in Anna and the French Kiss, Perkins has written interesting characters that really ring true.

As is often the case in chick lit, the plot was fairly simple. And the good writing and great characters make that work well. These things also made the book very hard to put down. Lola’s relationships with boys, her friends and her family are in the forefront in this novel. I feel like Lola could be read as a sort of guide for relationships. Don’t start a relationship off on a lie, it’s probably a bad sign if your boyfriend is rude to your friends, age differences can be trouble, and so on. In the end, I was really satisfied with everything that happened and couldn’t have asked for more.

I really liked this book. It was a sweet story with some amazing characters. Once again, Perkins succeeded in making me wish I lived somewhere else. First it was Paris, now it’s San Francisco. And I wish I had a Marie Antoinette dress (although I am not nearly as brave as Lola, so I’d probably never wear it.) I don’t think that it had the same special magic as Anna and the French Kiss, but it was a great read all the same. I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for a fun and light read, with a swoon-worthy boy and some wild outfits.


“Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.”

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