Thursday, May 31, 2012
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
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.
If you didn't read my review of Anna and the French Kiss, let me get you up to speed: I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT. With that in mind, Lola had some very high expectations to live up to. Luckily it did; using the same wit and romantic formula that Anna did, but it didn't ever feel like a rerun. I loved how the book served both as a stand alone title as well as a bit of a catch up on the lives of Anna and St. Clair; giving the reader a taste of their lives after Anna, without making the book all about them. The new characters were Lola and Cricket, along with a whole new cast of secondary characters. I really loved Lola in particular because she pulled off her zany spirit without looking overdone or exaggerated; she was realistic and fun to read. Cricket was a great character as well due to his quirks and interesting features; he was the most original character I've read about in a while. He wasn't built to be the perfect, idealistic version of a boy that the media portrays, he was far more interesting and complex than the stock type love interest. The relationship between the two was entertaining and had a lot of background and history: not instant love.
The story began with the meat of the story and used flashbacks to catch the reader up on missing details that were crucial to the strength of character relationships. With the utilization of these flashbacks, the characters grew in leaps and bounds, allowing for a well rounded plot to occur; it felt as though you were truly there with them. This fact may also have to do with how well Stephanie is able to write; she just knows how to please her readers while still making them feel a large range of emotions. Altogether, I give Lola and the Boy Next Door a 5/5 for being an excellent read that I'd recommend to anyone even remotely interested in Young Adult books.