Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 29th 2011 by Dutton
Source: Library
Challenge(s): ABC Reading Challenge, Support your Local Library
Grade rate: A


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.

My Review

I have to confess that I was a little apprehensive to read Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Why you ask?  Because Anna and the French Kiss is hands down one of my favorite books EVER.  Thus, I rationalized that Ms. Perkins couldn’t possibly write anything better than Anna.  I was, (as I often are) wrong.  There are several similarities between the two books, like great characters and an amazing romance, but there are enough differences that made reading Lola a unique experience for me. 

Lola is quirky, exceptional, original, funny and a little snarky and this makes her a great character to read about.  She is a loving daughter and a loyal friend.  And she has a “thing” for the boy next door.  How can I start to describe Cricket Bell?  He is insecure, nerdy, trendy, also loyal, observant, and has the patience of a saint.  I really loved Cricket (even if that sounds disloyal to St. Clair) even tough he lacks the same innate charm and charisma, he makes up for it in other ways. 

Another aspect of the story that I loved is that Anna and St. Clair are Lola’s friends.  This is not a sequel for Anna, but rather we take a peek at what their lives together are now and it adds a layer of depth to the story.  I enjoyed Lola’s dads, their dynamics were different and they were extremely overprotective.  I did not like Max, he is one of the biggest jerks ever to grace the pages of a book.  Calliope didn’t warm my heart either.

The story is flawless, the descriptions of San Francisco make the setting another character to enjoy and get acquainted with.  The plot is simple and expertly executed.  I adore Ms. Perkins writing, she takes romance and character building to a whole new level.  My only issue with the story (as well as with Anna) is that in a romantic relationship three is a multitude.  Why must there always be “cheating” involved?  I wished that Lola would have ended things with Max as soon as she realized that she still had feelings for Cricket. 
Ms. Perkins next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After (BTW, Isla means "island" in Spanish) will be published next year and I am already pinning for it. 

About the cover:  I like the cover of the book.  It portraits Cricket and Lola with San Francisco in the background and it is colorful and unique.




7 comments:

  1. I have a copy of this book - and like you I'm worrying that I won't like it as much as I liked Anna! I think it'll be the next thing I read though!

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  2. I haven't read Anna, yet, but after a THOUSAND recommendations, sure will be! This one sounds like a great read, too. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

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  3. I agree with the initial apprehension with this one. With Anna and the French Kiss topping my favorites list, I didn't want to ruin my opinion of Stephanie Perkins. Like you, I need not to have worried. I love Stephanie Perkins books oh so, so much. Great review.

    ~Nikki (Imaginative Adventure - Giveaway)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Nikki! We need to worry, Stephanie Perkins is awesome!

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  4. Stephanie knows how to write a good romance and the tension between Lola and Cricket was almost unbearable: so aching, honest, and, yes, at times, even awkward. But the final result had me grinning from ear to ear, wanting to weep a little because it was all just so lovely to experience through these characters. So, yes, this was another perfect read from Stephanie Perkins and the countdown has begun for Isla and the Happily Ever After. I can't wait to be wrapped up in more of her delightful stories!

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I love comments! Please leave me one and I will try to reply as soon as I can. Liza

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