March 24, 2012

Review: Lola & the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: September 2011
Publisher: Penguin | Speak
Pages: 338 pages
Source & Format: Birthday gift; Kindle e-book
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from 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 invetor - 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.

Thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next Door
Oh gracious, this book. I read this book at the beach after a series of disappointing books, so I was beyond happy to dive into some Stephanie Perkins. I'd already read and loved Anna and the French Kiss, so I knew that this would be a really fun read.

Lola is perfectly happy with her life in San Francisco. She loves her parents, and she's crazy about her boyfriend, Max. And then the Bell twins move in next door. They've been neighbors before, and Lola has been dreading the day they'd return. She kept hoping they were gone for good, but that might be a little too much to ask for. Cricket, the geeky boy twin, broke her heart and she's been happy avoiding any reminder of him for the last few years.

I just loved that Lola lived in San Francisco because it was if she was made for that city. Her love of costumes and her flair for the dramatic were perfectly matched by the quirkiness of San Fran. It was like a silent character in this charming story, and that made my heart really happy. I've only been to San Francisco once, but this book had me dying to return.

Anne and Etienne played a small role in the story, and it was fun getting to see how they were doing since the first book ended. I didn't feel like they overshadowed Lola at all, which made me really happy. When I realized they were in the book, I got nervous that they'd totally steal the show. I should have known Lola was her own kind of show.

Speaking of Lola, I didn't love her. I really liked reading about her though. She'd probably drive me crazy if I knew her in real life, but I was happy to spend a few hours getting inside her head. I did want to smack her a few times and tell her to make a decision already! There was a long stretch of time in the book where I felt like she really knew what she wanted but was afraid to go after it. And I was really ready for her to go after it. Like beyond ready. Also, her dramatic costumes also turned into a little bit of an attitude a few times. It rubbed me the wrong way, but not to worry, I still loved this book!

I've saved the best for last: Cricket. Serious swooning. He is beyond precious with Lola. He's like the nicest twin brother imaginable. He's a good dresser, a comical inventor, and he's just got that whole nerd cool vibe totally down. And I seriously loved it. I think there's a good chance that my love for him was heightened by the fact that I'd just finished at least three books with lame-o heroes so he was a welcome change! Talk about breath of fresh air.

To support my swooning, I found this totally adorable illustration of him by Simini Blocker. He totally matches the picture I had in my head!


Well, hello there...

Anyway, back to what I was saying. The writing is awesome. The characters are adorable. The love story had me smiling for hours after I had finished. I devoured this book so quickly and was actually mad that I hadn't paced myself better.

I had a few minor quibbles with it, but I don't even feel like mentioning them. They were just that: minor.

I'm so obsessed with this book (and Anna and the French Kiss if you haven't read that yet) and think you should read it, too. Just trust me.

So Quotable
"And his laugh. I'd forgotten how easy it is. The four of us are lagging about something dumb in that silly way that happens when you're exhausted. Cricket tells a joke and turns to see if I'm laughing, if I think he's funny, and I want him to know that I do think he's funny, and I want him to know that I'm glad he's my friend, and I want him to know that he has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known. And I want to press my palm against his chest to feel it beat, to prove he's really here."

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