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About the book
Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second YA novel from Stephanie Perkins. The book was published by Dutton Books on 29th September 2011 and it is 384 pages long.
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 neighbourhood.
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.
What I thought
Stephanie Perkin's first book, Anna and the French Kiss was one of my favourite books of last year and I've been dying to read this one ever since. I had high expectations for Lola and the Boy Next Door though before even opening the first page. I made the bad choice of deciding to read a couple of chapters before bed one night and that turned into staying up until gone 1am to finish it.
On first impressions, I loved Lola. She wasn't afraid of making a statement with her clothes or rather, choice of costume for the day. I admired Lola for not caring what other people thought about the way she dressed as it showed a lot of strength. As a character, she is quirky and cool and very different to most female characters in YA books. However, I didn't completely love her like I did with Anna in Anna and the French Kiss. Lola was always the center of attention and came across as a whiney teenager a lot of the time when she didn't get her own way. Lola's two dads are quite strict but Lola just seemed to disregard most of their rules... all of the time.
It wasn't all bad though when it came to Lola. She had a very interesting home life and a great back story. Her birth mother is a complete wreck and her two dads struggle with disciplining Lola. Also, Lola has some great friends, especially Anna and St. Clair from the previous book. Then there is Lola's boyfriend Max who is disapproved of greatly by the dads. There were many little things about Lola's life that made the whole experience of her very enjoyable but without these, I'm not sure that I would have liked her much at all.
Then we have love interest Cricket, who, apart from the ridiculous name, I loved! He was insanely cute, had a love for inventions and science and had all kinds of other little things about him which I adored. Cricket had a habit of writing things down on the back of his hands and wearing rubber bands which would match his outfit. He was also incredibly sweet but lacked a bit of experience with girls which made him nervous and worried quite a lot. These aren't bad qualities though as they are what I liked most about him. He was the perfect contrast to Lola's boyfriend who was somewhat of a bad boy.
Lola and Cricket's story was extremely sweet although I can't agree with the way that Lola treat either of the boys at times. I really enjoyed getting to know why Lola was so scared about Cricket coming back to the neighbourhood and what had happened before with them. Their back story was great to read and it helped to make more sense of quite a few characters. The development in their relationship happened at realistic times and there was no sudden falling in love which is something that I hate in books.
While Lola and the Boy Next Door was a good read, it wasn't as good as Anna and the French Kiss for me. Still, I can't wait to read the final companion book in this series when it gets released next year.