Book: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: September 29th, 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Anna and the French Kiss is adorably cute. So that’s what I was expecting from this book, too. However, where Anna is a book that, while is still quite realistic, still borders on fairytale-esque. It’s set in one of the most romantic cities in the world, and the love interest is a swoon-worthy British boy. In Lola, the book is realistic and sticks with its realism. It’s set in an ordinary neighbourhood and has a dorky, awkward, gangly-tall next door neighbour as the love interest.
And Anna and Lola are sooo different as protagonists! I loved that, and I totally applaud Perkins for being able to write two completely different characters in the same series. While Anna was quite a relatable character with a simple family dynamic whose only problem was she was sent to school in Paris, Lola has two fathers, and is so into fashion that she’ll wear a purple wig with a yellow sundress and red cowboy boots to school because that’s what she felt like wearing. And Perkins made this seem so ordinary, and everyone in Lola’s life found this so a given that I just loved it! Lola’s quirky fashion sense was her identity. If she wasn’t dressed to the nines and totally standing out from the crowd, you knew she was seriously troubled.
When Lola was little she was really close with her next door neighbours, Calliope and Cricket. And when she was fifteen she and Cricket grew really close, so much so that she spent a whole year waiting for him to make a move. But then he doesn’t, and moves house, and Lola is left broken-hearted. So she attempts to forget all about him by dating a new boy, Max. Max is the boy your parents warn you about. He’s a rock star in a band and does whatever he feels like despite the consequences. Yet Lola seems to be the only one who doesn’t see the unlikable qualities to her boyfriend (or she refuses to see them). But then Lola’s life is turned when Cricket and Calliope return home next door.
Things get complicated super fast as Lola tries to deal with her returning feelings for the boy who broke her heart while trying to convince her boyfriend that she doesn’t care for said boy.
Cricket is the total opposite to St Clair in this book. While St Clair was confident, cocky and loud, Cricket is shy and awkward. He found it very hard to verbalise his feelings toward Lola yet from his actions and longing looks toward her it was obvious how he felt about her. I found that quite annoying, and I unfortunately have to say that Cricket didn’t do it for me like St Clair. I'm just not into those passive, dorky boys. He was like Seth from Richelle Mead’s Succubus series.
I think my favourite part of this book was Lola’s friends and family. Her two fathers were (obviously) overprotective of their only daughter, and totally freaked out over her having a 22 year old boyfriend and whenever a boy was in her room. However I loved how much they cared for her and you just know they would go to any lengths to see her happy. Anna and St Clair also had minor roles in this and it was great seeing them so loved up and happy together. You just know they’re going to be together forever.
This book is super cute, but it wasn’t as cute as Anna. However I would still recommend it as there is some nice character development and the side characters are very entertaining. Something to pick up if you’re looking for a light read.