Publisher: Dutton Books
Publish Date: September 29, 2011
Synopsis: 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 rating: 5 of 5 stars
*I do not think I will have any spoilers, but just be warned anyway*
I longed for Lola since I first heard that there were ARCs going around. I saw copies at BEA, and then at Comic-Con. There was so much positive feedback that the anticipation was getting out of hand. You see, I loved Anna and the French Kiss. I hadn’t felt that way about a love story in a really long time. There was something so simple, yet so complicated about the relationship between Anna and Etienne. And from what I had heard, Lola had the promise to make me feel the same way.
I had pre-ordered a hardcover and the ebook from Amazon. I had to make sure that at least one of the copies would find its way to me. Once I received Lola, I stopped everything to start reading. And once I started, I could not stop. The magic that Stephanie Perkins’ words casts on me is surreal. Her stories are memorable, making a lovely picnic in my heart.
In Perkins’ second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door, we meet the magnificent Lola. Raised by her two dads in a prominent neighborhood of San Francisco, seventeen year-old Lola definitely knows who she is. Lola oozes cool. From her collection of wigs with colors that has the rainbow jealous, she compliments each look with a design creation of her own. She loves fashion, her rocker boyfriend, Max, and everything about her life.
But one Sunday morning, her happy world is disrupted by several moving boxes. No, it wasn’t another tenant renting the house. Unfortunately for Lola, the Bells were back, and along with them, Cricket. Cricket was one of her first friends. Cricket was the first boy that she loved. Cricket was the first boy who broke her heart. How could she live with him next door?
I loved this book. Lola and the Boy Next Door was everything that everyone said it would be. There were so many different components that made it so easy to love. Perkins did a fantastic job, once again, with the story progression and pacing of the story. She had me with Lola’s eccentric wardrobe, all the way through the end. There are so many things to say how awesome this book is.
I related to Lola more than Anna, but I can’t really say I like it more. It’s hard to compare the two books. While the subject is still about first love, Perkins approaches love from a different point of view. While Anna was a fast type of love, Lola was about a love that was nurtured over time. I guess that same type of love also reflected between her two dads, and in some cases, with her mom.
Lola is a brilliant character, strong and quirky, but also so innocent at seventeen. While she has this brave facade on the outside, she really is soft and vulnerable inside. And at seventeen, weren’t we all the same way? Perkins captured the essence of a teenager filled with angst, who disagreed with her parents and pushed every boundary, but still sought out love and emotional support.
Cricket is awkwardly intelligent, and okay I can say socially challenged. He is adorable and cute, and definitely the perfect boy next door. I can’t say that much about him without really giving a spoiler or two away.
In this world of wonderful supporting characters, you will find, in Lola and the Boy Next Door, that two familiar faces shows up. Anna and Etienne play some key parts in this book. I must admit, seeing them gave me the warmth of two friends that I have longed to see. The relationship between these two are effortless and perfect, and offers a good friendship for Lola.
When you read this book, please have tissue. Perkins will tug on your heart slowly, and when you least expect it, the tears will fall. She captures the essence of first love so perfectly. I was warped back to the time of my first crush, love, everything. Perkins does it again with her second novel, and has reaffirmed why she is one of my favorite authors.
If you haven’t read Lola and the Boy Next Door (or Anna and the French Kiss), please do so today. You will soon find your love for Perkins’ writing and the characters she has created.