Tuesday 8 November 2011

REVIEW: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publication Date: September 29th 2011
Publisher: Dutton
Hardcover, 338 pages

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.

God only knows how much I wanted and how eagerly I was waiting for Lola and the Boy Next Door to arrive at my doorstep!Well,not only God,but whomever - and that probably is many - has read and adored Anna and The French Kiss like I did,probably knows exactly what I'm talking about!Now that I read Lola... well,I can't really say I'm that excited anymore.

Let me make myself clear...First of all,I really liked Lola,I found it a fun and enjoyable read and so well written that technically,I have no reason whatsoever to complain.But being me,and always loving to complain about something,I just have to say it:Lola was not Anna.Perkins's writing style might be as amazing as in her debut,the story sweet and romantic and all,but I wasn't left awed when I finished reading it nor with that stupid grin in my face or with the total feeling of loss,that after Lola I just can't read anything until my mind calms down.Cause all I described above,where the aftereffects of reading Anna,while when reading Lola..., not so much.

First of all,I just couldn't connect with Lola and Cricket and especially with Lola.She was a fun character but I couldn't see in her not even one aspect of myself,or anyone I am acquainted in real life that is.She was way too dramatic,way too enthusiastic and couldn't always get why she acted the way she did.Nor why she lied so much,especially to herself.But even though I couldn't connect to Lola,I read her story easily.And that's how brilliant a writer Perkins is!
Cricket on the other hand,is a sweet guy but too quiet for my taste,although I could connect with him and see him as a real person,but still the romance between the two of them was indifferent to me.You see,I may have liked the thought of the two of them ending up together,but I wasn't consumed by their story.To be completely honest,I couldn't care less if they ended up together or not.I know many will disagree with me,but still,that's how I felt.Lola and Cricket's story just passed me by.But still,I enjoyed the book.Really enjoyed it.And let me not mention again,that this is purely because of the way Perkins writes.Even if her characters didn't "speak" to my heart I managed to enjoy their story.

Another problem I had - and that's purely personal - is the love triangle.I'm not a big fan of them.In most cases,when just two boys or two girls struggle for the attention of the hero/ine I usually don't mind.When someone though is in a relationship and we have a triangle,that's where I get a bit sensitive.Or rather not sensitive,but in those cases I seem to have some problems accepting the triangle.
You see,Lola,has a perfectly good and dreamy relationship with Max before Cricket enters the picture.Before Cricket appears,Max is a perfectly good guy with whom Lola plans to spent her future.All is good and Max is amazing!Cricket enters the story, Max starts behaving like a jerk but still Lola wants him.Cricket expresses his feelings to Lola,Max is a jerk and Lola doesn't know what to do.But stays with him until the point of no return.And honestly,how much of a jerk Max is when she keeps lying to him in his face?Granted,until the ending we have no doubts how much of a bad guy Max is but see where's my problem?Before Cricket, Max was good and dreamy,after Cricket why should Max become the jerk?So Lola can take an easy decision?Or to justify the fact she wants to dumb him and that makes everything easier?
It's a whole different matter if Max was a jerk from day one,and only Lola couldn't see it,but still I find it more honest to just say sorry,I have feelings for another guy,end of the story.That's the way a heroine I would connect to would behave.Not lying to everyone and mostly to herself.

Anyway, enough with the triangle!I may have had a number of problems with Lola and mostly,those problems are purely personal and have to do with the way I perceive things.As I said in the beggining,despite my issues I really enjoyed Lola and I mean it.I may didn't like Lola as a character or agree with her but still her story was fun to read and for someone who doesn't mind the things I stated above,Lola will be a mindblowing read!Because Perkins is a brilliant writer,one that can grasp the feeling of first love and make her readers remember how it felt to be in love for the first time!Her characters are well developed,whether you like them or not and have their own personality!And for all that,I couldn't help but ultimatelly enjoy Lola and the Boy Next Door!


  1. EEPP! Glad you like it. I still have not had the chance to read it!

  2. Great review Anna, and it sure sounds like a mustread.

  3. I think it is a little hypocritical to say that you didn't like that Lola already had a boyfriend when Cricket came into the picture. This was the exact same freaking case in Anna and the French Kiss. St. Clair was dating a girl when he started to like Anna, then his girlfriend suddenly wasn't good enough and he got rid of her to be with Anna. So if you loved Anna but didn't love Lola because of the triangle then that is a little strange.

  4. Hi, Anna! You make a good point about Max's character doing a 180, it sounds like, for the sake of plot and suspense. And Lola's behavior doesn't sound very admirable either. Thank you for your review.

    New follower~

    Stephanie ~Misfit Salon~

  5. @Alexa
    It's my fault I didn't mention it in my review, and I know it was the exact same thing but with two major differences for me:
    1. We didn't read about the abouts and exacts of St Clairs relationship so that for me leaves much room to speculate.I didn't know much about St Clair's girlfriend and what happened in their relationship so I can't judge.
    2. There were clear indications that St Clair had many problems in his relationship almost from day one in Anna.
    Honestly,maybe they had so many problems because of Anna,as was the case in Lola but it isn't stated clearly like in Lola,who has problems with Max as soon as Cricket arrives.
    I don't know if it's hypocritical,but for me those differences were crucial.Maybe it's hypocritical of me to choose to assume that Cricket had other problems with his girlfriend regardless of Anna,I don't know.And if I had the chance to make the same assumption in Lola,believe me I would.
    But I should have stated it in my review,so thanks for pointing it out.

  6. @Anna @Alexa I think that in Anna St.Clair and his "girlfriend" were in an on /off relationship which makes it problematic from the start, whereas in Lola, Lola adored the ground Max walked on and was certain that Max was THE one.

  7. @Anna
    I'm sorry if what I said sounded harsh, I liked Anna's story but I didn't love it and when you mentioned that Lola had a guy then it became perfect that she dump him when Cricket came into the picture it just reminded me of how St. Clair did that in Anna's story. I loved Lola's story but you are right that she does suddenly stop liking Max when Cricket shows up.

  8. Though Lola and the Boy Next Door is not set in Paris like its companion novel, Perkins does an excellent job at bringing the rich San Francisco setting alive, from Lola's street full of row houses (guess whose bedroom windows are directly across from each other?) to the fun theater Lola works and the exotic tea gardens. The setting and the characters are what really stand out and make Perkins' second novel so much fun. This is romantic, hilarious, and smart chick lit that every girl who picks it up will be compelled to share.


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