Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss
Published: September 29th 2011 by Dutton Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♡
I was excited about reading Lola and the Boy Next Door having read the awesome Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss which is easily in my Top 10 favourite YA books. I was looking forward to more relatable protagonists and swoonworthy romantic interests and Lola certainly did not disappoint.
Lola Nolan is a girl who has life sorted. She is happily dating her boyfriend Max, who just so happens to be a few years older and a sexy rocker to boot, and busy cultivating her outrageous and original sense of style. Her only concerns are bringing her parents around to accepting Max and creating the ultimate costume for her winter formal. At least that is until her old (and incredibly gorgeous!) neighbour, Cricket Bell, waltzes back into her life reawakening old feelings and memories Lola thought she had long since buried. Soon Lola finds herself juggling her jealous boyfriend Max, her crazy family life and of course her confusing relationship with Cricket Bell. It isn’t long before she realises that some feelings refuse to be silenced so easily…
Although Lola is the second in the Anna and the French Kiss series, it did not feel like a rehash of Anna. Lola is very different personality-wise to Anna and I found that really refreshing. Lola is louder and more confident but just as lovable. And she had an awesome sense of style that made me want to be more experimental myself. Check out this snippet for an idea of her wacky outfits:
“Today I’m a strawberry. A sweet red dress from the fifties, a long necklace of tiny black beads, and a dark green wig cut into a severe Louise Brooks bob.”
Lola’s narrative is incredibly honest and forthright and I loved that about her (“I’m encouraging him. And I can’t stop.”). Some of her confessional thoughts about Cricket are downright hilarious and very realistic (“Don’t stare at his body. Do NOT stare at his body.”) Most importantly, Lola is portrayed with flaws which made me warm to her a lot and I think this is something that sets the book apart from some other YA fiction where the female protagonists have a tendency to be just a little too perfect.
Cricket was very genuine and it was adorable how considerate he was of Lola’s wishes even when her actions may have been contradictory. It was hard not to fall for him – he was incredibly romantic and reliable. Stephanie Perkins dealt with unconventional relationships wonderfully in Lola and showed that being different is never a bad thing, whether it’s your family structure or your dress sense that doesn’t conform to convention. I loved loved loved Lola’s parents and her relationship with them whilst her friendship with Lindsey was a great portrayal of how opposites attract.
One thing I absolutely adore about Stephanie Perkins’ writing is how much location practically becomes a character in its own right in her novels. I plan to visit Paris again soon and do it as Anna and St. Clair did it and now I want to do the same with San Francisco. I found myself googling the Castro and the Haight to get a better idea of what they were like although Perkins’ descriptions were wonderfully detailed.
Finally, for anyone who goes into this having read Anna, you my friend are in for a treat. Their cameos and dialogue are so wonderfully SQUEEE that they had me grinning from ear to ear. It was nice to get a little insight into how their relationship was progressing! I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes a funny, lighthearted contemporary romance that you could read in one sitting.
Have you read Lola and the Boy Next Door? Or do you have a brilliantly eclectic dress sense like Lola? Sound off in the comments below 🙂