Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

ISBN: 9780142422014
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, #2
Page Count: 338 pages
Find it on Goodreads
See my past reviews for this series

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.

  • Stephanie Perkins definitely created two very different MCs in this book from the two in her first book. They are unique, and though there are some similarities in the story to the first book, we didn't come out with two replicas thrown into a new setting. I enjoyed them very much.
  • Lola, the MC, was more complex than Anna from Perkins' first book, Anna and the French Kiss. Though she cried a whole lot more (see below), she had real issues, demons, and real personality (not that Anna didn't have a personality...). All in all, I liked the character of Lola better, even if she was more immature.
  • The way the story was written felt so real and I remember feeling like I fell right into Lola's life. Perkins is a master, giving life to her characters and her story.
  • Seeing Anna and St. Clair, the MCs from Anna, was awesome! And they didn't just have a little cameo - they were really part of the story and it seems like they will continue to be part of the last installment also, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
  • Random thing: I love the original cover (I do like the new ones too, but the originals are too cool). It depicts Lola and Cricket almost exactly how they are described in the book, down to Lola's wig and Cricket's hair and pinstriped pants. That right there is great collaboration, my friends.
  • One again... (dun dun dun) there was SEX! A teenager having sex. Yes, that's right, the main character, who is still in high school and is under 18, has sex in this story and its not inappropriate nor is it gratuitous. Its simply realistic. It makes me happy when an author can add this into a story (because it's a real situation) and not be offensive.

  • I actually liked Lola's boyfriend Max at first, then all of a sudden, halfway through the story he seemed to be a different person. The transition didn't seem warranted and came out of nowhere. I wish he'd at least been a jerk the whole time instead.
  • There seems to be a pattern between the first book, Anna, and this one, where one of the main characters happens to already be in a relationship, then becomes interested in someone else. In the first book, I found it refreshing because it was a realistic portrayal of what sometimes really happens in relationships, which it still is. But in this book, it was a repeat, thus becoming a way to show that, hey, if you cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend, its totally OK, you'll get the guy/girl in the end anyways.
  • The MC, Lola, was overly emotional. She cried for everything. I mean, yes, a lot of 17 year old girls are like that, but it was too much. I'm reading it, thinking, come on, suck it up, you've been crying for days, now get up and get on with life the story).
  • The ending seemed anticlimactic to me. It didnt have the same emotional punch as Anna and didn't have the tidy-bow ending either. It kind of just left things... blah. I remember realizing I was coming up on the last ten pages and thinking "something awesome better happen between now and the end...", but of course it didn't.

     RATING: ★★★★
After reading Anna and the French Kiss, I was equal parts afraid thinking this one would never live up to Anna, and hoping it would be even better. Better it was not, but it did live up to Anna in many ways. Stephanie Perkins' writing was consistent and I fell right into the story as if it was me falling in love with Cricket all over again. I also loved how Perkins integrated something so controversial to some people (Lola's gay parents) seamlessly and made me love it (though that's not very hard because I am an  advocate for LGBT rights). Still, for some people that is a tough topic and Perkins addressed it in a way that made it lovable and comfortable.
I can't wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After because I know Perkins will give us something awesome, just like she did with the last two. So for those of you Anna fans who are wondering if they should go on to Lola or take Anna for what it was worth and be happy, read Lola. You won't be disappointed!


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