Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Companion to Anna and the French Kiss
Published: September 29th, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Books
338 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Won from Kathy at I Write, I Read, I Review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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 loved Anna and the French Kiss so much, I was almost afraid to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. Despite many of my friends raving about it, I seem to have encountered a bit of a sophomore slump this year - books by authors whose first books I adored, but whose second books were kind of meh. It was disappointing, and I was worried the same thing would happen with Lola and the Boy Next Door, which is probably why it sat untouched on my shelf this entire year.

Turns out I worried for nothing. Lola and the Boy Next Door had all the charm and wit of Anna and the French Kiss while managing to be completely different yet equally awesome.

Lola was a flawed character, and I loved that. There were so many times I wanted to shake her, but I also wanted to hug her and assure her everything would be okay. She was blinded by love and the excitement of having an older boyfriend who was a bad boy, and it led her to make a lot of mistakes. The interactions between her and Cricket had me alternately giggling, sighing, and breathless with anticipation. Sometimes when they were together, the longing there was absolute agony, and it made my heart ache like crazy. I could feel the yearning, the uncertainty, the tenderness - it was all conveyed with perfect clarity, and it made me love Lola and Cricket even more. Their journey made me laugh, cry, and fall in love.

And can I just say: Cricket. My god, Cricket. I didn’t think I could possibly love a book boy as much as Etienne St. Clair in Anna and the French Kiss, but Cricket definitely won a big piece of my heart.  

There were so many other things I loved about this book: the fact that Anna and Etienne weren’t just mentioned in passing, which is what usually happens in companion novels. They were secondary characters, and we got to see the love between them, and that same banter and affection that made me fall in love with them in their own story. I appreciated that the story dealt with real issues that we don’t see often in books - Lola’s parents were gay men, and her birth mother, who was semi-present in her life, was an addict who was constantly screwing up and wreaking havoc in their lives. I loved the family dynamics and how (over)protective Andy and Nathan were, but it was clear that it came from a place of love and wanting to keep Lola safe, while preventing her from ending up like her birth mom. 

Stephanie Perkins has a real talent for creating tension and anticipation. She’s a master of hilarious interactions, embarrassing moments, creating swoonworthy boys, and quirky yet relatable heroines. She’s definitely an author to watch out for, and if you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, you need to. It’s as simple as that. 

 Have you read Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door? Who are some of your favourite swoonworthy book boys?


  1. Wow. This story has a lot of uniqueness going for it! Lola being a flawed character is great, and a loveable love interest? Um, yes, please. Ooh, and that's nice about Anna and Etienne--now I must read that one first. :) AH. Everything about Stephanie Perkins' novels sounds amazing. <3

  2. awwww, YES - to everything in this review. I am SO looking forward to re-reading ANNA, because then I may re-read LOLA if I have time. I can't WAIT for my Florida trip this year because ISLA should be out, and I can take it with me and continue my tradition of reading a Perkins book on the beach. :D

    Anyway, I love your review, and yes, I was so happy this book focused on real issues. I loved Lola so much, too. My heart was so broken for her at so many points, because you could really FEEL what she was going through.


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