Review: ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ by Stephanie Perkins

For a girl with only three wishes in life, she sure chose two near-impossible ones. Lola Nolan is a high school junior who can’t wait to make costume design her career path. Making a historically accurate Marie Antoinette costume to wear to her Winter Formal is is the easy wish. Making her dads like (and trust) her 22-year-old rock star boyfriend? Not so much. Then her third wish gets eviscerated when the Bell twins move back in next door.

They used to be friends, of course; but one day, Calliope ended their association. And, though Cricket was so likeable and amiable, he always did as his sister said. Calliope is a professional skater, so the family has always followed her dream of making the Olympics. They moved in and out over the years, trying out different coaches. But now they’re back in San Francisco. Lola has a boyfriend who loves her and is an awesome rock god, so why should she care about what happened before Cricket left the last time? She has convinced herself that he never was interested her when he broke her heart, but it sure seems like he is going out of his way to see her, even though he is now in college in Berkeley.

On top of everything, Lola’s birth mother is in trouble again. They can’t ignore her, since she’s the sister of one of her dads. Looks like she is going to have to live with them until they can figure out what to do. Then Max’s band starts playing more gigs, Cricket hangs out more with Lola with major approval from the dads and Lola starts questioning her relationships. Is she really hiding her real self behind her unconventional clothing and accessory choices?

What she does know is she can’t continue to hang out with Cricket while Max is out of town with his band. But Max is gone more often, while not. And once a huge misunderstanding is ironed out, souls are laid bare, and Lola can’t say she has no feelings toward Cricket, she knows she has to make a decision.

First and foremost, I must say, if you haven’t read Anna and the French Kiss by the same author, it would be much more fun if you read that one first. Let’s just say that there is some most excellent character crossover in Lola, and it will mean more if you know these characters already. Also, if you do decide to read Anna after reading this book, there might be some unintended spoilers.

I loved Anna and I love Lola, too. Ms. Perkins has quite the way with tension, romance, unrequited-nosity and quirkiness. Her characters are well developed and don’t seem to make any false steps with regard to their actions. Nothing bothers me more than when action happens only to further the story, but is not something that normal people/that character would do. The secondary characters, too, are fully fleshed out and believable.

Lola learns that love takes many forms. Sometimes, it’s romantic; sometimes, it’s trusting; and sometimes, it’s caring when you don’t feel someone is worthy. And when Cricket tells Lola the story of the moon, and the perfect girl, and the boy who loves her, and the stars he whispers her name to, and he says

I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.

you will understand why Lola can’t forget about Cricket.

4 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)

Genres: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up
You might want to know: Some sexual references.
Related review: Anna and the French Kiss

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins was published September 29, 2011 by Dutton Juvenile. The final companion in the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After, will be out in 2013.

Other Reviews:
School LIbrary Journal
Novel Thoughts

Find the Author:
Author’s Website/Blog
Author on Twitter

Buy the Book:
Abe Books
Barnes & Noble



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