Lola and the Boy Next Door; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: September 29th, 2011

Number of Pages: 384

Rating: 3/5

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. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

“Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.”

I smile. “You don’t think I’m perfect?”

“No. You’re delightfully screwy, and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”

Review:

Lola and the Boy Next Door is bound to be enjoyed by many readers. It’s quirky, witty, and cute – all the things we know Stephanie Perkins excels at.

However, I found it somewhat disappointing. It did not seem as jaw-dropping-ly awesome as Anna and the French Kiss did. I never flipped through pages frantically. I never squealed or yelped or made other embarrassing sounds. Essentially, it didn’t make me feel as crazed with love as Stephanie’s first book did.

Perhaps the reason for this was that this book didn’t depart much from what the first book was, and I didn’t feel like the author enjoyed writing it as much. That’s not to say it wasn’t super cute at times. It just seemed less natural and a bit forced. Even some of the lines that I knew were supposed to make me laugh/tear up/giggle/ failed to do so because they were awkward.

Aside from all that, though, there were some truly wonderful parts of this book, too. For example, Lola’s dads are incredible. They’re deliciously weird and so protective that you can feel their love for Lola with every grounding. It was so much fun to live under their roof for a while. Plus, I have a soft spot for dads who love pie.

One of the best parts of the book was the presence of Anna and St. Clair. ANNA AND ST. CLAIR, PEOPLE. It would hurt to love them any more than I already do. It might even require that I make some sort of blood oath with my copy of the Anna and the French Kiss. They are simply awesome, and I am so happy they play a part in this book, too. They didn’t always “feel” like I remember them, but that’s okay. I was just happy they were there.

I can practically hear you tapping your fingers as you wait for me to get to the good stuff: Lola and the romance.

Lola is great, you guys. She’s quirky and talented and funny. She’s no Anna, but she’s definitely got stuff going for her. Her voice and cute habits (like talking to the moon) make her endearing. Her troubled relationship with her birth mother and the way that resolves (for lack of a better word) are clear markers of her development as a person, and the Lola at the end of the book is definitely a better one than the girl at the beginning. I appreciate when I can see the progress a character has made in his or her relationships with other people, and Stephanie executed this well. But I never felt that I had a deep understanding of her fears/desires/etc, despite the fact that they’re mentioned in the book. In some ways, there were parts of her character that I’d seen too many times before.

The romance! Cricket gets some points for having a really great name and being tall (I like tall guys). However, I spent most of the book comparing him to other fictional boys. He’s kind of girlish and soft, which is cute sometimes but can get kind of old. He also reminded me of a certain fictional boy most people have some pretty passionate feelings about that I will not mention for fear of being attacked (but he has bronze colored hair and pale, cold, rock-hard skin…). Cricket was cute, had some good lines, and did the trick, but I wish he’d been stronger – and funnier. Overall, though, I think he’s a nice kid who deserves a happy ending.

When I finished Lola and the Boy Next Door, I had to admit to myself that I was less than I hoped it would be. Anna and the French Kiss was so incredibly awesome that it’s spoiled me. I’d recommend it to people who haven’t read any of her books, and if it weren’t for a few spoilers, I’d recommend reading this one first (so you’re not spoiled). And despite my slight disappointment, I recommend this to all those who love Stephanie Perkins and her quirky voice and characters, because they’re still here and as adorable as ever.

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