If you think Anna and the French Kiss is fabulous, then you'd be delighted to know that Lola does not disappoint!
Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: October 3rd 2011 (AU) / September 29th 2011 (US)
Published by: Dutton
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Tina!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Summary (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.
Lola and the Boy Next Door has all the familiar Stephanie Perkins style we have all come to love. The magic of her writing, I have to say, is still there. But I am pleasantly surprised to find out that Lola has something to offer that is not in Anna. It's like two worlds colliding and having this two completely different story lines meshing together. Yes, the lovely French boy and the film geek is back, and they play a big part in Lola and Cricket's story.
Two years ago, Lola fell hard for her next door neighbor, Cricket. Two years ago she also had her heart broken, and just when Lola thought her life was going smooth, Cricket comes back along with the ghost of the past. But Lola's different now, right? She's got a cool rocker boyfriend, Max, whose way older than she is, and the Bell twins arriving next door shouldn't bother her. So why is Lola afraid of letting the Bell twins come back into her life now? And why does Cricket seem so different yet so familiar?
Lola's family is so dysfunctional! Dysfunctional, but perfectly normal. She has two fathers, and she's proud of having Nathan and Andy in her life. They're gay, but they're the best parents one can have. I think nothing about Lola or her life is typical, but despite all of that she came out as this unique, intriguing person with such a strong appeal.
I didn't know it would be possible to love the whole book so much and not be a fan of the protagonist. Lola wasn't the best role model there is out there, and I often find myself disagreeing with a lot of her decisions in life, but that didn't stop me from adoring her a little bit. Lola is a very complex character, with a lot of issues. But she's got a lot of spunk, like a younger version of Lady Gaga. She expresses herself through dressing up, she's creative, oftentimes adorable even. But Lola is painfully crappy at one aspect of her life: Love. Max is one walking disaster she should have seen a mile away. And I have such a thing for pining for the underdog, the other guy, which is Cricket.
Cricket, on the other hand, is a different story. It was painful to read about him. He's this genuinely nice guy, maybe too nice to the point that he just get stepped on and took advantage of by everyone because they knew they'd get away with it. Cricket's life and along with his family revolved around his twin sister's dream. The Bell siblings are all talented, but Calliope is exceptional. Cricket thinks he's not. He's the type of person who sees the good things in everyone except for himself. I think I agree with Lola in her assumption that Cricket is too good for her. But love is anything but perfect, and whatever Lola lacked, Cricket compliments, and vice versa. It just felt so unfair at times about how Lola seems all confused with her feelings, leading Cricket on and Cricket has to suffer all the time. It doesn't help that he's also painfully shy and naive, most of the time. But Cricket Bell is a guy who is attractive for all the unusual reasons. Lanky, extremely tall, has a penchant for wearing striped pants and yet so achingly attractive!
Lola and the Boy Next Door just seem to have it all. Quirky characters, as evident with Lindsey, Lola's wanna be detective best friend, the best gay parents in the world, a homeless mother who isn't as heartless as Lola thought she is, jealous twin sisters, tons of great and not so great childhood memories, sparkly dresses, automatons, loud music and a heart warming, fantastic story.
Stephanie Perkins has a knack for torturing her readers with such a complicated and difficult love story. It's a wild, excruciating roller coaster of emotions, frustrations, misunderstandings, and making tough decisions before finally seeing the light and getting your own happy ending. Love isn't easy, and the journey to happiness is rough, with bumps and twists and bents along the way, and Stephanie Perkins wrote about that in such exquisite fashion. Exquisite, I tell you! Peppered with her trademark hilarity and heart melting, breath taking moments, Lola breaks the curse of second novel flops. It's just as good as Anna, and it reminds us of every single thing we loved about Stephanie's writing.
Now all we have to do is wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.