Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA contemporary
In Six Words: Stephanie Perkins has my undying love!
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.
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
I gushed and squeed in my pants and generally embarrassed myself in how much I loved Anna and the French Kiss. So, I do not think it really comes as much of a surprise that I had to read Lola and the Boy Next Door next. And while yes, I absolutely adored Lola, I enjoyed Anna more. I think I just connected with Anna more than Lola, or it was simply what was happening in my during that time. Doesn’t really matter, though — I am now fully in love with Stephanie Perkins and all her books.
Oh, this book! You know how I hate love triangles? I don’t know what it is about Stephanie Perkins’ writing, but I find myself all twisted up and turned inside out and adoring every minute of it. Well, if I had any complaint about Lola it would be the relationship with Max. Not even the relationship itself, but the age difference. It brought out my adult side. No one wants that. But I did love Cricket (perhaps even more so than St. Clair), and a big part of that had to do with how much he reminded me of my own boyfriend, who actually does wear rubber bands on his wrists (and has blue eyes and is six four and can be delightfully awkward).
Every character in Lola is just so real. Lola. Her dads. Cricket. Even Lindsey and Calliope and Norah. They are the kind of characters that you want to be real so that you can experience them for yourself. I loved that Anna and St. Clair made an appearance in this book. It was nice to see them again. Sometimes I wanted to shake Lola, but her costuming and general flamboyance was incredibly endearing. She feels like a real teenager. I think what I love about Stephanie Perkins’ books is that her characters feel authentic. And I say that as a 27 year old. But. I don’t say that about many YA books, so I think it has to count for something.
The lessons (if you will) of this book just hit that spot inside me that wants to yell out, “YES! THIS!” Like the idea that we aren’t perfect, but that there is perfection in imperfections? Like there is someone else in the world who will fit our puzzle piece. Not completing us, but complementing us. Imperfections fits imperfections so that they become perfections. One of the reasons why I loved Anna so much was that there is so much to take away from the book, and Lola is no different. There are valuable lessons to learn, but at the same time, they are buried underneath an incredibly entertaining story.
If you’re looking for a dip into the YA contemporary pool, I highly suggest picking up Anna and Lola. Stephanie Perkins has a way with her characters that transcends comfort zones, and I am pretty sure she is now on my “auto-buy” author list. Which, if you know me, is quite the accomplishment. My auto-buy list is not very long at all.