Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2011
Pages: 348 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

Dolores Nolan (better known as Lola) is a seventeen year old budding fashion designer. Vowing to never wear the same outfit twice in a calendar year, her clothes are often somewhat eccentric but always an original. Her two dads hate her twenty-two year old on the verge of becoming a rockstar boyfriend, Max. Her birth mother is a fortune telling mess and the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope, with whom Lola has a feud have just moved back in next door. Senior year is shaping up  nicely… and it hasn’t even started yet.

Trying to navigate through family issues and wardrobe dilemmas, Lola is just trying to make it though. But Cricket keeps popping up all over the place. In the street, in stores Lola’s frequenting – Cricket even turns up at the cinema where Lola works! After what happened two summers before, Lola doesn’t know if she can trust him. But feelings become involved and Lola becomes conflicted. Should she choose the hot glamorous older rocker Max or Cricket – the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss and the main reason I picked up a copy of Lola was because I’d heard there was a guest appearance of Anna and St. Clair. I’m glad I decided to read Lola’s story because it’s just as adorable and sweet as Anna’s French Kiss.

Lola is fun. She’s quirky and adventurous  It’s not just her fashion sense that’s colourful. Her family life was such a delightful contrast to that of Anna’s – her dads set curfews, rules regarding boyfriends and keep an eye on just who is coming and going from their daughter’s bedroom. Her mother is an interesting character who had a very interesting relationship with Lola. I loved how they all interacted with each other – it felt authentic. Lola’s own personal conflict was more than just her love life. She becomes confused to whether it’s the girl who makes the costumes or the costumes who make the girl.

And then there’s the boys in Lola’s life. Max – whom everyone from her best friend Lindsay to her parents and even her colleagues at the cinema thinks is too old for her. I loved the contrast that he provided for Cricket. Oh Cricket. I have so many adjectives I could use to describe this character (who I absolutely adored) but I think the one that fits best is awkward. He’s delightfully awkward. In that way that makes him go from a nerd to geek chic in my eyes. I’m a sucker for romantic gestures and Cricket’s conversations and general adorableness was the kind that made my heart feel like it had grown five sizes from reading it. He’s just that dorky romantic soul that I love reading about.

Anna and St. Clair make a few appearances in this book and whilst it was great to see them again (and that was the main reason why I decided to read this book) there was something about their scenes that felt a little odd to me. It’s interesting to see a relationship that blossomed from their point of view to all of a sudden being on the outside looking in. They have certainly matured – both as people and with regards to their relationship. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy reading about their romance as much as I did in their own book but I thought it was a lovely way to tie their story to Lola’s.

This book was a joy to read. I loved the romance and the characters. The leads were sweet and fun and the supporting characters kept things interesting and the plot moving along. Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out in September and I know for sure that I’ll be purchasing a copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository