Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins {Amanda’s Review}

Posted 16 July, 2012 by Amanda / 36 Comments

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins {Amanda’s Review}Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
four-half-stars
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. 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 has my undying love!

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.

My Thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next Door

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.

four-half-stars

Filed under: Contemporary, ESR: 9, Review: Amanda, YA,

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36 Responses to “Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins {Amanda’s Review}”

  1. Every now and then, and it’s rare, a love triangle works. It’s when they’re shoved into a story for the hell of it that they don’t, but when they feel as though they come naturally to a story they can be wonderfully immersive.

    Well Amanda, I’ve been considering giving YA contemporary a try and you’ve convinced me to give Ms. Perkins a try. *tips hat*

  2. Oh, I completely agree–her characters are just so authentic and REAL. I feel like I could walk down the street and run into a Cricket (um, you have your own Cricket? NICE!). Her writing is sweet and so are the stories. Dang. Now I want to re-read Lola and Anna.

  3. I had to read both of your reviews first LOL I love that you two are generally close together on my google reader!

    YEAH for the WIN that this series has turned out to be for you :) I am so glad that it makes you happy!

  4. Shucks. I guess I’m still in the minority of those that didn’t feel this one.

    Nevertheless, great review. I love catching myself during those “adult side” moments because right after I’m always like, Oh god. I sound so old. :P

  5. I am trés excited to read this which will happen when I catch up on some review books :)

    I am not a big Contemp YA reader but if Stephanie Perkins wrote it, there’s a good chance I’ll read it.

  6. Yay I’m glad that you really enjoyed this one. I have to say I loved Lola’s story where I only liked Anna’s story so we are opposite on that aspect. I guess I just liked Lola so much more because of who she was and she didn’t know it all and seemed a bit younger and had room to grow. I guess with Anna I didn’t really see the room to grow because she seemed to be already older and more mature than how Lola is in this book.

    At the end of the day Cricket is awesome, I loved him and the last scene in this book was what pushed me from liking Lola and Cricket to all out LOVING them.

    Thanks for the great review!

    • I think Anna was more similar to me and so it was easier for me to identify with her than Lola, because Lola was so different from who I am as a person. I still loved her, though. And Cricket. :)

  7. “Like the idea that we aren’t perfect, but that there is perfection in imperfections?”

    YES!! That’s exactly what I love about her books! You walk away with this delightful message, but you’re spared having the message thrown in your face like you watching an episode of Full House when the dramatic music comes on and the week’s lesson is fully explained. So glad you love her work as much as I do!

    • I think her stories themselves are lessons, and you don’t HAVE to read deeper into them if you don’t want to (though I always do, especially when the lessons are as awesome as these ones).

  8. I haven’t read this one yet, despite my great enjoyment of Anna and the French Kiss. I’m kind of afraid it won’t live up to the hype. Also, people seem to adore Cricket, but don’t feel so great about Lola.

  9. I loved both these books but I think I enjoyed Lola more all because of Cricket. I’m 5’9″ so Etienne was a little on the short side (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) for me, but Cricket totally grabbed my heart. Have you read If I Stay and Where She Went? Adam from that series is a great YA hero as well.

    • I really adored Cricket, and I do have a thing for tall guys (hence my own 6’4″ boyfriend) even though I’m only average height. :)

      Yes! I have read both If I Stay and Where She Went. I loved Adam!

  10. Can I use this post as an excuse to completely gush over how freaking awesome Cricket Bell is. He might be my favorite guy in YA fiction. He’s just so adorable and tall and sweet and tall and awkward and tall. I love tall boys…

  11. Vanessa@Bookborne

    I think love triangles can work only if the person choosing between two others is also making a big life decision with her choice. When Lola chooses between Cricket and Max, she’s also making a big statement about who SHE is and what she wants out of life. I loved this book so much.

    • Excellent point, Vanessa. If it had been a love triangle for the sake of having a love triangle, it definitely would not have worked. But the beauty of Stephanie Perkins’ work, I think, is that there is a lesson in everything (or that the books are a character’s journey about what he/she wants out of life). :)

  12. “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.”

    YES YES YES.

    But as for liking Cricket more and St.Clair? ACK! DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE. I adore adore adore Cricket because I connect so deeply with his awkwardness and nerdy side and… oh, I ADORED him… but St.Clair. My heart still skips a beat every time I think of him :D

    And as for the authenticity? YES. I mean, 27 or not (ack. i’m 28)… it’s not just that they’re authentic teenagers, but authentically HUMAN.

    And oh yes yes yes yes! The bit about our imperfections making us perfect for someone else? I may have cried…

    I don’t know why, though… but I just couldn’t love Lola as much as Anna. I ADORED the characters (though connected more with Anna–I relate to her paranoid/neurotic side :P), but… yeah. ANYWAY! I AM SO GLAD YOU LOVED THIS SO MUCH AMANDA! It was AMAZING, and I so so SOOOO can’t wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After :)

    • lolololol. Okay, I won’t make you choose, Sarah! (I’m still choosing Cricket, though, due to his obvious resemblance to my boyfriend)

      Authentically human is a perfect way to say it.

      So excited for Isla! :)

      ♥♥♥