Written by: Stephanie Perkins
Published by: Dutton
Release date: September 29th, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: 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
Stephanie Perkins is amazing. Anna and the French Kiss got me out of my genre comfort-zone of scifi/paranormal and helped me better-define my preferences as a reader. It’s not genre that makes me love a book, though that does play a part in my reading choice. It’s the characters, the relatability (or just an ability to sympathize), and the amount a book can make me feel, that really defines what I’ll think of it in the long run.
That being said, I think I went into Lola and the Boy Next Door expecting the same level of Feels as Anna, and on that front, I was a little disappointed. I still really enjoyed it, though.
My main “issue” (if you can call it that) was that I wasn’t able to relate to, or feel for, Lola as much as I did with Anna in French Kiss. Lola is a great character – she’s spunky and unique. But I didn’t feel connected to her, which made me less invested in her story. She seemed kind of unbelievable at times, and often acted a lot younger than her age, in my opinion. She was also sort of annoying at times, especially when it came to anything to do with Max (her current boyfriend when the book opens). I really, really didn’t like Max, and found him to be a total jerk most of the time (and not in the attractive bad-boy sort of way). I couldn’t fathom why Lola was so smitten with him and why she hung on to him for so much of the book. When I find myself mentally yelling at characters for making bad decisions, that’s not something I usually enjoy.
However, setting the whole annoyed-with-Lola-and-Max issues aside, the rest of the book was really fun. When I wasn’t annoyed with Lola, I did enjoy her personality, and Cricket is adorable and super sweet (but I can’t get over that name! UGH whyyyy, lol). I loved Lola’s dads – they were actually a highlight of the book for me. The San Francisco setting was fantastic – at first I wasn’t sure how great it would be compared to Anna‘s Paris, but it was really well-realized.
This is a pretty short review compared to my others, but I really don’t have tons to say about Lola and the Boy Next Door. It was enjoyable, but… I hate to keep comparing it to Anna, but I really can’t judge it totally separate from Anna, either. I just didn’t find nearly the same relatability or emotional depth in Lola. I think my emotions switched between entertained, annoyed, and amused. There weren’t any really high points that had me grinning from ear to ear, and there weren’t any sections where I felt deeply for the characters either. It was definitely a lighter read than Anna.
But, I am super excited for Isla and the Happily Ever After. I’m especially excited to read more about Josh, who struck me as a character with huge potential in Anna. Unfortunately, the release date has been pushed back until 2014… But I’m willing to wait as long as it takes, for what I’m sure will be a stellar conclusion. <3