Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Synopsis: 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 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.
First of all, I’m so happy that I decided to continue with this series despite disliking Anna and the French Kiss because I really loved this both as a YA novel and as a super adorable romance and renewed my faith in Stephanie Perkins because I really feel she addressed some issues that I had problems with in the previous book. This still doesn’t get a 5 star from me because I don’t think it’s a 5 star book, I don’t even think it’s a 4 star book but I really loved it.
In this companion novel we’re introduced to Lola who is quirky and original. She owns tons of wigs, lives in the gayest street in San Francisco with her dads who quickly became my favorite parents in YA ever. Nathan and Andy are just pure gold, they acted like parents should act and even her birth-mother Norah became rich with dimension and I think really helped Lola find closure to her bitterness towards her. Our story with Lola begins when the Summer is ending and she’s dating a much older guy, Max who is a musician and the quintessential bad-boy. I found it was realistic, Max is the first guy that shows interest in Lola in a straight-forward way and I can completely understand why she fell for him the way she did. She’s seventeen, he’s 22, in a band, he smokes and drinks and lives on his own and of course our girl is going to fall for him. Her life is disrupted when her childhood neighbors move back in to the house next door. Twins Calliope (but for real.) and her brother Cricket are quite a pair. Calliope is a professional ice skater who used to be friends with Lola when they were young then turned into an ice bitch. I think Calliope was the one character I had the most trouble with but I was willing to overlook it because I still enjoyed the story so much. Then we have Cricket, an inventor nerd who is too-tall and he was Lola’s first love but broke her heart when they moved away the Summer before high school. Cricket is the nice guy who just stole my heart because he’s so well written. He still does stupid stuff like teen boys do but he’s rather clueless about it and truly honestly cares and loves Lola just as she is.
I think Stephanie Perkins is fond of the ‘but I’m with someone else’ angle in her books because just like Anna and the French Kiss we have people who stay in relationships despite being in love with someone else however in this book they don’t act on it which I appreciate it. On top of that it’s addressed by her parents and we’re told that it’s wrong to string people along like that and had Andy not had that conversation with Lola I would have been very dissatisfied with it but he did and he did it in the perfect way. (Andy is fave, btw. Total fave.)
The worst part of the novel was Anna and St. Clair’s constant appearance, I just can’t like those 2 characters for the life of me, whenever they were in the scene I scowled but I was able to overlook it because Lola. Lola was great and Cricket even better and did I mention I loved Nathan and Andy along with Lindsey, her sane best friend? Just a really nice cast of characters.
Sex is happening in this novel so I would say this is for more mature audiences but it’s not graphic in the least. I would be OK with a teen reading this, maybe 14 and over. I will try the final book, Isla and the Happily Ever After and hopefully it goes the way of the Lola instead of the way of the Anna.