Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
Summary: 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.Stephanie Perkins’ first book, Anna and the French Kiss, was an amazing book and I adored it, so this book had a lot to live up to. And it did…but also didn’t.
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.
I’m going to split this review in two, because - I just have to, to explain the contrary did and didn't.
Lola and the Boy Next Door, as a book on it’s own, pretending it’s the first book of Stephanie’s I’ve ever read: I loved it. The book was awesome.
The characters felt unique and fun and I loved them and while the plot wasn’t exactly original, the characters and Stephanie’s writing added an edge of originality to it.
Lola bugged me sometimes, but in general, I thought she was totally fab. The only time she really annoyed me was her Max related issues - you’ll know what I mean, it’s one of those situations that you just know exactly where the story is going and it’s so blatantly obvious to everyone but the main character (reader included) that you want to scream at the book? Yeah, she was like that. The Max thing just felt like it was thrown in to add conflict…and I get that the book probably wouldn’t have worked without it, but it was kind of a cliché conflict (and she herself actually used an extremely similar variation of it in her first book).
I loved Lola’s crazy fashion sense and the fact that she’s outgoing enough to be that way. I loved that she has two dads as her parents (who were both awesome characters themselves). I loved the setting of the story, I loved character cameos from the first book (okay, so much for "pretending this was the first book of hers I read" thing, but it's a positive so...) and I loved Cricket. Cricket was just…*happy sigh*. It made a nice change seeing the nice guy in a triangle being the one portrayed as the most desirable.
So yeah…I loved the book. And it made me smile, it was a very feel-good-ish book. But something about it felt…unfinished. Or over finished. Or like it could’ve ended in a better way or had more too it. It felt like there was something missing when I closed the last page.
Which leads me to part two of this review:
Lola and the Boy Next Door vs. Anna and the French Kiss.
As I’ve already said, I loved Anna - it was amazing and it put Stephanie Perkins on my instant- read list. And maybe the something I felt was missing at the end of Lola was that feeling I got when I finished Anna.
Anna and the French Kiss was just better. I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door, but it didn’t leave me with the same wow-feeling that Anna did. After finishing Anna, my first thoughts were how amazing it is and how the mediocre cover and awful title don't do it justice and how it's sad that some people won't read it because of the title and cover and how much I want to force my best friend to read it (which I did and she loved it)...I didn't think any of those things with Lola.
It fit it's chick-lit-ish cover (granted, it is a better and more fitting cover than Anna's was, but still), I'm not too eager to force it on my best friend because I'm really not sure whether or not she'd like it (she has an aversion to chick lit unless it goes that extra mile like Anna did).
While I loved the characters of Lola, they didn’t get under my skin to the same extent as Anna's characters (although they were definitely more unique and quirky) and while I loved the setting of the story, Anna is set in Paris and there was something so enchanting about that and the way Paris almost became a character in itself in that book.
Lola definitely maintained Stephanie’s spot on my instant-read list, maybe even got her onto my favourite authors list, and I definitely loved it. Just not to the same level as her first book - and I genuinely can’t tell if it’s because Anna was the better book or if it’s just that Anna was my first Stephanie Perkins book and, uh, you never forget your first… (I know, I know, bad metaphor *face palm*) but you get what I mean. I have a tendency to favour the first books I read from authors that I love (John Green, Lucy Christopher, Melina Marchetta etc.), so this could be a case of the second book not being able to reach the pedestal of the first or it could be that it just wasn't as good, I genuinely don't know.
But anyway, if you haven’t read this book or Anna, then go read it and please, please, please do not judge the books by their titles or covers which are just…no. Do not approve. Although, as I said, Lola definitely suit’s the cover more than Anna’s does.