Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin US)
Release Date: 29th September 2011
Other Titles by this Author: Anna and the French Kiss
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 neighbourhood.
When Cricket – a gifted inventor – steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile her feelings for the boy next door.
As soon as I finished Anna and the French Kiss, I ordered myself a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door with a promise from Keris that I’d love it even more. I loved it – I’m fast becoming a Stephanie Perkins fan-girl.
I think that one of Stephanie Perkins’s strengths is in the little things – the details and side plots of her characters. With the synopsis alone you’re led to think that Lola and the Boy Next Door will be a cute, swoon-worthy romance with not a considerable amount of substance. While it is most definitely swoon-worthy, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a lot more than that. Lola has two dads for a start and it isn’t even made a big deal of, it just is; her birth mother has serious problems; and Cricket has a fascinating family and family history and he draws and writes things on the back of his hand constantly. It’s with these details that flesh out the characters to become people that I would love to get to know.
Lola is funky, quirky and incredibly cool; Cricket is beautifully tall, an ingenious inventor and a total sweetheart; Calliope is a character that you don’t really get to know firsthand, but I was incredibly intrigued by and Max has a ’64 Chevy Impala which makes him instantly cool for any fans of Supernatural. And then you have Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss who have a fairly substantial role in the novel and it was lovely to catch up with them and see how they’re doing now they’re back in the US and going to college.
Like Anna and Etienne, Lola and Cricket have a sizzling connection. I know she loved Max, but it was so obvious how she felt about Cricket that annoyed me that she couldn’t see that she should be with him. Even if Max did have an Impala. Though I do understand why she had so much trouble, you couldn’t find two more different guys who are equally lovable in certain ways. But she definitely made the right decision in the end.
I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door and if Isla and the Happily Ever After turns out to be as good as its predecessors, then Stephanie Perkins could easily become one of my favourite authors.