Publication Date: September 29th, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 338 pages
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 TAKE: 5/5 STARS
Lola, much like its predecessor, Anna, was romantic, funny and heartfelt. There is a certain depth to the character building in these two books that is unheard of to most of the novels that fall under this genre – based on my experience, that is. It’s also another one of those, once-you-start-you-can’t-stop reads.
I’ve been hearing a lot about the words character-driven plot being thrown in reviews lately and I guess up to this point, I didn’t exactly know what it means. Well, Lola and the Boy Next Door is definitely that. I’ve never been more absorbed about a character in a book than I have with Lola. Don’t get me wrong, the story held the same quixotic fervor and well-formed plot as Anna and the French Kiss, but I found myself in awe of how refreshingly unique this book is.
I’ve never understood how some reviewers opted not to rate the books they just read than I did now; because it really isn’t fair. I want to go back and reduce my rating of Anna and the French Kiss to four stars and give this book an extra star. That’s how much I loved this book.
First of all, Lola’s family is definitely the most unique that I’ve read so far in…ever. Her parents are both fathers – with one of them her biological uncle. Her mother is around – but only when she’s too drunk to go anywhere else or when she gets evicted from her apartment for the millionth time. But in spite of it all, or perhaps because of it all, she still grew up well-loved and adjusted. The key word here is, her family is present – supporting all of Lola’s idiosyncrasies and plight to find her identity.
I loved how Perkins makes something as inconsequential as rubber bands on a boy’s wrist, romantic. Don’t ask me why, but it was just one of the many Cricket quirks that made him even more loveable. I love how he uses his skin as a post-it note. He writes on himself to remind him of the things he was supposed to do. I love how he was constantly comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Lola’s and Cricket’s story was just as charming as Anna’s and Etienne’s. It was awkward in the most adorable way, sweet in a none saccharine way and utterly realistic.
If you ask me which literary character I’d most like to meet in person, then I’ll tell you point blank that this girl is it. She’s quite possibly the quirkiest, spunkiest, most original character I’ve ever read.
This book is one of the most highly anticipated books of 2011 and I’m one of the throngs of readers who eagerly waited for its release. I’m irrevocably in love with the writing, the well-rounded characters, and engrossing plot that Stephanie Perkins continually delivers. I’m positively impatient to read her next project.