Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton
ARC, 338 pages
Date Published: September 29, 2011
Description (Taken 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 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.

“You’re going to fall in love with Lola and the Boy Next Door. Madly in love! Every page sparkles.”
— Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Brookmsticks and Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) 
Lola, oh Lola, you astound me with your ability to turn me into a puddle of emotion. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the most perfectly executed and excruciatingly anticipatory love story I’ve ever read. Lola Nolan is – as I’ve dubbed her – badass chic. She loves to wear a frilly dress, but rocks it with combat boots. She dresses in costumes, not to disguise anything, but to be herself. And boy is Lola one hot mess of a girl. She has a sexy, rocker boyfriend named Max, but a strange and torrid history with her old neighbors, the Bell twins, who just happen to move back in next door. Unwanted feelings, ‘traumatic’ memories, and the best romantic tension ensue.

Lola is one of those characters that are impossible not to love. Everything about her made me love her more. Her outfits, wigs, the way she thinks out loud – literally, she says it all out loud without realizing it – and the way she loves so completely. Her parents mean the world to her and she’s not afraid to show it. Both of her dads are the kind of parents that YA is severely lacking and I loved their involvement in Lola’s life. In fact, every single character is fleshed out and has purpose in the story.

Andy and Nathan – Lola’s dads – a pie bakery owner (via the kitchen) and a lawyer, respectively, are like any other dads. They enforce called check-ins when Lola is out, make the 22 year old Max come over for Sunday brunch, and freak when boys are in Lola’s room. Norah, Lola’s birth mom, even plays a role, by forcing Lola to open her eyes to things she maybe isn’t willing to see. Lola’s best friend Lindsey is not nearly as sparkly and colorful as Lola, but she’s her best friend and is there for her whenever she needs her. Anna and Etienne St. Clair make an appearance or two as well, so if you loved Anna and the French Kiss, be prepared for some more fun from them.

Then there are the Bell twins. Calliope comes off as very cold-shoulderish, but her years of being cut off from normal teen life as a world-class figure skater plays into that a great deal. Getting to know her and  seeing her reasoning softens her a bit though. Now for Cricket. Yes, Cricket. Oh how I did not want to like him. Lola has a boyfriend and he’s sexy and a budding rock star, who suffers through double dad interrogation, and I really liked him. But then I LOVED Cricket.

How do you love a boy named Cricket? Read Lola and try not to. It’s impossible, what with his tight pants, enthusiastic nature, and constant smiles. He’s insecure, but somehow confident; a little geeky, but completely sexy at the same time; intense and funny and intelligent and selfless. He has this pureness and innocence about him that makes him perfect. But he’s perfect because he’s imperfect. His flaws – like Lola’s flaws – make him a great character.

There’s this part, towards the end, where Cricket tells a story and it killed me. KILLED ME DEAD. I loved it. I love him. I want to steal him away and keep him all to myself forever.

The romance in Lola and the Boy Next Door is absolutely, stunningly, delectable. Never before have I read something that creates so much tension and anticipation and that ‘pleasepleaseplease kiss’ sensation so well. That’s what Lola will do to you. You’ll fall in love with these characters, with their lives, and their hopes and dreams. I know I did. The contrast in relationships between Lola and Max and Lola and Cricket is done so well. The two boys are polar opposites and have such different effects on Lola. The story unfolds with so much tension and so much longing that I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. The journey that Lola takes to find ‘the one’ isn’t easy, but the hardest things give us the biggest rewards, right?

Stephanie Perkins has more than done it again with Lola. She has outdone herself, improved upon her previous writing, and given us a story that will resonate with every single person who reads it. If you don’t love this story, then there’s something wrong with you because there is nothing not to love about it.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is a wondrously written book that will cause butterflies, squeals of excitement, sighs of delight/contentment/I’m in love, a heavy dose of pins and needles anticipation, then massive explosions of yesyesyesyesyesyesyes . . . with a little tearing up and anger thrown in for good measure. It’s easily one of my favorite books. Ever.

Opening line: I have three simple wishes. ~ pg. 3

Favorite lines/passages: Pages 326-327 has my absolute favorite passage, but it’s long and spoilery, so not posting it here. When you read it though, you’ll see why it’s my FAVORITE!

There’s something about blue eyes.
The kind of blue that startles you every time they’re lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not blue green or blue gray, the blue that’s just blue.
Cricket has those eyes. ~ pg. 136

I had to share another one too:
Sadness. Desire. An ache inside of me so strong that I don’t know how I believed it had ever left. I stare at the back of his head, and it’s like the oxygen has disappeared from my room. My heart has turned to water. I’m drowning. ~ pg. 244

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy 

5 is not nearly enough! 5 billion is more like it
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Emily a.k.a WilowRaven : ) said...

So, I take it you like this book? hehe :) I have yet to read Anna but I own it and I want to read it soon! Lola sounds just as good - maybe even better?

Great review! I love your enthusiasm!

DforDarla said...

I was just thinking today that I need a sweet hot geeky guy in YA. Guess I found one. Now I need to go read Anna, like stat.

Wonderful review. I'm dying for Lola now.

Lori said...

LOVE your review!!! Makes me want to read it again...sigh...Cricket.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Emily - You seriously, seriously need to read Anna and Lola. They're both so, so good! I'm nearly positive that Lola is my favorite book of 2011, and I've read some great books.

DforDarla - Cricket is the epitome of hot, geeky guy in YA. He's my geeky guy perfection.

Lori - It makes me want to read it again too, hehe :)

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