Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Stephanie Perkins - Lola and the Boy Next Door
Published: September 29, 2011 by Dutton Books
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: 3/5

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the 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.
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Dare I say? Eyewash not required.

So it wasn't terrible. As I said, once upon a time, I'd been a huge fan of the ANNA trilogy. After Anna and The French Kiss debuted, I practically screamed when I heard there was going to be a companion novel. My sister preordered it for me from Stephanie's local bookstore - Malprops, the only book I ever preordered, BTW - and it arrived two days early. I finished it in the next two days and had to physically prevent myself from finishing it in one. I laughed at every punchline and swooned (sort-of) at every Cricket/Lola interaction.

Now? Not so much. But like I said, it wasn't terrible.

Lola's life isn't terrible in the slightest. She's dating the punk rock frontman of Amoeba, her essential dream man, Max, and she enjoys dresses up for a living (i.e. festoons her hair buns with feathers, wearing kimonos, Swiss Heidi dresses, etc.) No reason for this. She simply refuses to waste a day with void fashion, which is a fabulous reason.

The only problem in her life is her parents. Her two dads. They hate the age-gap between she and Max. Five years, which really isn't a big deal, to be honest. Lola huffs and puffs, but her parents refuse to relent, so she and her boyfriend must attend annual Sunday Brunch and Lola is forced to make "check-ins" whenever they go out.

After the next-door neighbor vacates, Lola prays, prays for the dreaded Bell family to not return. Spoiler alert: They do. Lola and the Bell son, Cricket, have long-term history. They were childhood friends. He's an inventor. He wears tight pants. He's the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell. The coolest shit, right? Well, he don't think so. Be real, Bell. Your name paid your tuition, prob.

Like any other Perkins-crafted boy, I originally loved Cricket. I thought his style was cute. I loved his knockoff-Houlihan's-bartender look, rainbow bracelets, and Jimmy Neutron hair. But in all realism, boys do not dress like him. If they do, believe me, it's rare.

Also, can we talk about his unnecessary walk?
"Cricket is striding across the street, his long arms swinging with each step. (...) His movements suddenly become exaggerated, and he hums an unrecognizable tune. Cricket Bell knows he has an audience."
Really, Cricket? Really? Stop fooling.

Honestly, it felt like there were scenes and conversations copied directly out of ANNA and into LOLA. Also, Anna and St. Clair frequently reappear. I'd say "cameo" but it's not even. They were almost always there. Even Lola was peeved by them. And if I didn't like St. Clair before, I definitely hate him now. He's become such a pesky prick.

And though Lola struggled to fight her attraction to Cricket, she sadly couldn't. She fought sinful thoughts and lied to her boyfriend. Like St. Clair, prob. Even though I hadn't liked much of Cricket, I thought he was too gawky and weird for me. Lola was willing to cheat on her boyfriend. Cricket had been trying to hold her off, all like, "No, please. Wait a few more weeks."

Overall, I couldn't handle the vast immaturity of this novel. I couldn't relate to anyone. I tried to relate to Cricket's sister, Calliope, but she's only a bitter mean girl. It was lovely to see the expanse of San Francisco and all its darkest corners. Though I'd consider this my favorite of the trilogy, I'd probably pass on it next time around.
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Comments

  1. I've read this one and Anna and I think I liked this one a little bit more, although, like you, I had issues with both of them. LOL I love that gif, it really matches that scene perfectly, and now if I ever reread this one that will be all I will be able to think about haha

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    1. Of all the books, I think this may be my favorite of the three. LOL. Honestly. I used to think Cricket was the ultimate babe and that walk killed me.

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  2. Ah. So I should read the first book and stop there? Quit while I'm ahead and all that? I'm not a big YA contemporary person anyway, but I've been debating reading one of Perkins' books. Great review, Peach!

    Have a wonderful week. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. LOL. Pretty much. Though I favor Lola of the three, I think you should maybe start with Anna, despite its occasional cringe-worthy moments. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Contemporary YA. Thanks, Alyssa! :)

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  3. I am so torn on whether I should read these! Your reviews have been endlessly entertaining, and I am excited for Isla's, but I am so on the fence about whether to bother. I mean, eye rolling is fun, right? Fluffy and I just don't get along. Ironically, there was a kid in my high school called Fluffy. Idk why, he just was. We used to be friends-ish. (That was random, it is late and I need sleep) Sorry that this wasn't as good as you'd remembered, but hey- at least it wasn't as bad as Anna! ;)
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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  4. OMG PLEASE DO. I actually reviewed ISLA a while back! It's up on GR, but I'm conflicted on whether to re-read it or not. You went to high school with a kid named Fluffy? LOL. No judging. I once went to high school with a guy named Molar. (Also, random. haha) Stephanie has a pretty cool short story in the wintry anthology, My True Love Gave To Me, too!

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