Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)
By Stephanie Perkins
Dutton Books

To Sum It Up: Lola Nolan’s life is pretty sweet. She does well in school, stays out of trouble, and dreams of becoming a costume designer one day. With her unique fashion sense, there’s no question that this is her destined career path. Completing this picture of near perfection is Lola’s rocker boyfriend, Max, who she knows is the one. Things become complicated, though, when Lola’s former neighbors, Cricket and Calliope Bell, return to their old home. At first Lola tells herself that she’s completely over her former feelings for Cricket, but as his presence in her life grows steadily, Lola finds herself questioning who the one for her really is.

Review: I’m not a big fan of chick flicks. Occasionally I’ll read chick lit, but too many bad experiences have made me a bit wary of the genre. I’d heard so many glowing things about Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss, though, that I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad that I did. I loved Anna and was very eager to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. What I didn’t expect was that I would love Lola even more. It was simply a perfect read for me. The tone is a little more serious at times, but Perkins maintains her breezy, effortless writing style throughout.

Lola is such a free spirit. I love how she expresses herself through her outfits. I’d never have the guts to go to a school dance in a Marie Antoinette gown complete with towering hairdo. Like Anna, Lola is extremely likable. She has enough faults, though, to make her human and easy to relate to.

I didn’t like Lola’s boyfriend, Max, from the get-go. I found him kind of arrogant in an I’m-too-cool-for-you sort of way, and he just didn’t seem right for Lola. Once Cricket appeared on the scene, I got annoyed every time Max’s name showed up.

My attempts to write coherent, insightful paragraphs on male characters from Stephanie Perkins’s books inevitably devolve into gushing swoon-a-thons, so I’ll just give up the pretense right now. I. LOVE. CRICKET! Smart guys rock! (So sorry, Max.) Cricket possesses all of the qualities that you could ask for in a boyfriend; in addition to his genius-like intelligence, he’s kind, sensitive, sincere, and devoted to his family. There’s also an endearing kind of awkwardness about him that makes you love him even more, if that’s possible. Yet at the same time, Cricket always seems real and not like some prince who’s just walked out of a fairytale.

Like Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a character-driven novel, and Stephanie Perkins knows how to create truly memorable characters. You become completely absorbed in their lives, laughing along with them during the good times and wishing you could cheer them up during the bad times. I can’t wait to meet the new faces (and probably greet some familiar ones, too) in the upcoming Isla and the Happily Ever After.

All in All: I think that you can get away with reading this if you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss first, but do yourself a favor and read Anna if you haven’t done so already. You won’t regret it. Then go ahead and read Lola. I need to add copies of both books to my shelves.

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