Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anna and the French Kiss last year and I’ve been looking forward to its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, since last year. I pre-ordered my copy from the Book Depository and I’ve been waiting for it to arrive once I got the notification that it was dispatched. It didn’t help that so many reviews kept popping up in the blogosphere, which made me more curious about this book so I dived right in as soon as my copy arrived.

Here’s the summary from Stephanie Perkins’ website:

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.

I like how Stephanie Perkins writes contemporary YA – they’re light, fun and easy to fall into but are more complicated than what you’d initially expect. While Lola and the Boy Next Door wasn’t as swoon-worthy as Anna and the French Kiss, it has its own merits. Can I just bring this up real quick: “lola” in Filipino means grandmother although it’s pronounced differently, with a short vowel “o” instead of a long one. Just found that funny. 😛 Anyway, I think it’s awesome that Lola expresses herself through her daily outfits. She’s passionate about her costumes and she wants to continue doing that kind of thing for the rest of her life. That kind of enthusiasm and determination is always admirable. I also enjoyed reading about Lola’s dads because I think they’re really cool parents. And Anna and St. Clair were minor characters in this book too, they didn’t just have cameos. However, my favorite character in Lola and the Boy Next Door is Cricket Bell. A cute, nerdy, thoughtful guy who dresses well? My kind of guy! Cricket is someone who I can totally root for. It doesn’t hurt that he’s into science and inventing things. I used to say that I love science and math but they don’t love me back, otherwise, I wouldn’t have such a hard time with them. So yay Cricket for being smart in those fields. I love that Stephanie Perkins’ male leads have been nice guys so far, I hope that’s something that will carry over in her next novel.

All is not well in Lola-land when the Bell twins move back in the house next door. She’s not in good terms with Calliope, and Cricket broke her heart right before they left. And she shouldn’t even be concerned when it comes to Cricket because she’s currently in a relationship with someone else: Max, who plays in a band and is five years older than she is. Okay, I get why Lola fell for Max. He has that bad boy, older guy appeal and he was willing to exert effort for their relationship to work – he put up with her dads’ rules like having brunch with them every week. But still, I didn’t really feel like the things that he did for Lola were enough. I think that if he really loved her, he would have been willing to do so much more. One of the themes of this book that I really liked is love requires energy and effort but it should be easy if you’re with the right person. So was it a bit frustrating that it took a while for Lola to figure out that she wasn’t with the right guy? Yes, but everyone makes mistakes and falling for the wrong person is one of the most common out there. Did I want her to break up with Max so Cricket can bring on the swoon for her? Yes, but I think that Lola’s relationship with Max and her confusion about her feelings for Cricket made Lola and the Boy Next Door more realistic. Overall, I still had fun reading this book even though I had issues with it. I recommend this to fans of contemporary YA. I will still be looking forward to Stephanie Perkins’ next novel, I’m hoping I’ll like it just as much as her debut.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Angieville
The Crooked Shelf
Good Books and Good Wine

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16 thoughts on “Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

  1. Haha I pretty much disliked Lola by half of the book. I felt so, so bad for Cricket and how he pined for her and yet Lola kept pushing him away and then leading him on again. </3 I actually couldn't relate much to Lola, so I was kind of indifferent with her. I just wanted her to make up her mind. Oh, but Cricket. </3

    I think as far as story goes, Anna and the French Kiss was more fun, but yes, Lola is more realistic.

    • I had problems with how Lola handled things but I didn’t dislike her. I just wasn’t as into her story as I was with Anna’s. I could relate more to Anna than Lola. I felt bad for Cricket too because he’s such a great guy. I wish there was less of Max in the book so there would have been more of Cricket. 😛

    • Lola did seem a bit immature – it felt like Cricket, St. Clair and Anna had the same level of maturity while Lola was a little behind? Not sure if that makes sense.

      Cricket is awesome! He totally made this book worth reading.

      • LOL I think it would have been better if Max was a less of a jerk, it would have been easier to understand why Lola didn’t want to break up with him.

        Yes, exactly, you can’t help but love Stephanie Perkins. 🙂

  2. Aww, I’m sorry you didn’t like this as much as ANNA. As much as I liked St. Clair, I prefer Cricket in the end because he’s more my type. Lola’s mistakes never annoyed me or made me dislike her though I can see why people have gotten hung up on her. I’m glad it was still worth reading though.

    I cannot wait for ISLA! Stephanie Perkins is definitely an auto-buy for me. 🙂

    • Cricket is more my type too but I guess I could just relate to Anna more than Lola. Maybe if I was more of a creative type or more of a fashionista, I would have really understood Lola. I wasn’t really annoyed but I just think it would have better if Max was out of the picture earlier in the novel. It felt similar to how long it took St. Clair to break up with his ex before he got together with Anna.

      Me too, really can’t wait for Isla! And I agree, Stephanie Perkins is an auto-buy author for me too.

      • Makes sense. You were really clear about that in your review. I can see how it would be worse coming from the main character (Lola) rather the love interest (St. Clair) but I remember wondering what was taking so long for his breakup as well.

      • I guess it would have been better for me if Stephanie Perkins used a different kind of problem for the relationship not to happen, does that make sense? I don’t know, it just felt too similar to what St. Clair went through and I still couldn’t understand what took so long for the previous relationship to end.

  3. I adored Cricket Bell too! I was really annoyed with Lola throughout this book because I felt like it took her way too long to break up with Max. She strung Cricket along too and that irked my nerves. I liked Anna better than this book and it was great to see both Anna and Etienne in this book (and not have them take over the book too!). It was good but not as good as I was hoping.

    Like everyone else, I’m anxious for Isla’s book, oh man!

    • I agree, it really did take way too long for her to break up with Max. I mean we already knew that she was going to break up with him eventually, I just wanted it to happen already. I felt bad for Cricket too because he’s such a great guy. Yep, I really enjoyed reading about Anna and St. Clair in this one and I think it’s awesome that their relationship helped Lola understand how things should be between a girl and her boyfriend.

  4. So I think I may have had more sympathy for Lola than I otherwise might have because of the predatory nature of her relationship with Max. It certainly went both ways to a degree, but I understand how hard can be for a girl her age with her personality to break away from that kind of toxic relationship. I was so very, very glad she had Cricket. I wish every girl had a Cricket.

    Nice review, Chachic. As always. 🙂

    • I wish I had a Cricket! 😛 I did understand that Lola had a hard time breaking things off with Max but I just felt bad that in majority of the book, Lola was in a relationship that I couldn’t root for. I would have enjoyed the book more if I could have been happy for her, instead of worrying about how things will end.

      Still, I can’t wait to read Stephanie Perkins’ next novel!

  5. Pingback: Lola and the Boy Next Door | One More Page

  6. Pingback: Isla and the Happily Ever by Stephanie Perkins | Chachic's Book Nook

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