Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: September 29th, 2011

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Stephanie Perkins is a gifted YA Romance writer.  She understands teen angst and insecurity, while at the same time is able to make a happy ending something you can believe in.  I am such a fan, and a year ago, I would have never believed that was even a remote possibility.  I am not the biggest fan of the YA Romance genre.  I usually find the books sappy, lame, and completely unrealistic.  I do have a few that I have loved, but in the past, I have almost always passed them over.  That was until I read Stephanie's amazing debut, Anna and the French Kiss.  For months, I'd read gushing review after gushing review, had numerous blogger and Goodreads friends tell me that it was a "must-read", but still I pushed it aside in favor of something else; I didn't like the lame cover or title, plus it was a Contemporary Romance... Finally, in the mood for something light, I caved and read it... I was an instant fangirl!  I finished it and immediately wanted to read Lola and the Boy Next Door- and had to wait because it wasn't out for several more months... :(

When Lola and the Boy Next Door finally came out, I was so excited!  I ran right out to buy it, and then had it was hijacked by my daughter... When I finally got it back, I read it in one sitting.  I enjoyed it as much as Anna and the French Kiss, and possibly a little more because of Cricket; I liked Etienne (from Anna), but he wasn't crush-worthy for me (too short- yes, I'm THAT shallow), but Cricket? *swoon*  He was my teenage dream-boy.  Cricket wasn't  the only character I loved though.  I really adored EVERYONE.  Hell, even Calliope grew on me.  Stephanie has a way of making even the antagonists in her stories at least somewhat likable.

As for the story itself, I just loved that while is was a Romance, it was so much more.  Lola had other issues to deal with.  To her, boyfriend Max hung the moon, but I thought he was kind of a douche most of the time (although I do give him credit for the brunch thing, even if it was more self-serving than not). Lola had put him on such a pedestal, that she couldn't see the issues in their relationship, and the ones she did see, she always seemed to make them her fault.  Until Cricket came back... Then there is the family dynamic.  Lola's dads were amazing parents, but even in San Francisco, it can't be easy to have two dads and an absentee mom.  Kids can be cruel.  Add to that Lola's quirky wardrobe, wigs, and thinly veiled insecurities, and you have a nightmare on your hands as far as a social life is concerned.  Even so, I loved Lola.  I loved how she grew into herself and discovered who she was and who and what were best were best for her.  I loved, loved, LOVED this book.  It was one of my favorites of 2011, for sure.  I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After to come out sometime next year (no, there isn't even a date yet!).  I will be sure to pre-order the second I can!

If you have not read Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door, do it!  Now!  Even if you're like me, and don't particularly like YA Romance as a genre, do it anyway!  You won't be sorry you did!

My Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+

Grade Level Recommendation:  Very sweet story.  Lola does talk about losing her virginity to Max, although it's not a graphic description at all.  Also, Max and his friends smoke cigarettes and pot.  Generally speaking, I would say this is for grades 7 and up (ages 12+), but that is very discretionary.  Because I have no illusions about the things my 5th grader is aware of (teen sex, drug use), I allowed her to read it because these things are mentioned in passing and are not what the story is really about.

**Don't forget to enter my international GIVEAWAY for your chance to win a SIGNED hardcover copy of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins!  Click HERE to enter!**


  1. I also reviewed this in my blog!!! I would give more than 5 stars for this book. It's just...wow!! Great review! Both Anna and Lola are my favourite and I just can't choose!

  2. Stephanie is such a talented author I can't wait to get to this one! I LOVED Anna and everyone is giving great reviews to Lola as well! :)

    Xpresso Reads

  3. I really enjoyed this book too. I didn't love it as much as Anna, if only because I didn't like Lola as much as Anna. But I still can't wait to get my hands on Isla. Why do we have to wait almost an entire year!

  4. Loved this book. I discovered Anna in march, and I became obssesed with it. During this year, I read it like four or five times, and I knew that I would love Lola. I read it when it came out, and well...love it :) Stephanie Perkins in my opinion, have a lot of talent to write YA books. I'm very anxious for Isla now!
    Sorry for the english, I'm latin!

    Saludos (:

  5. I really can't wait to get my hands on this book! I loved Anna, and I hope Lola is just as good!


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