Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 29, 2011)
Source: My Choice; Own
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.
I've been dying to read Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins ever since I succumbed to Anna and the French Kiss. I loved, loved, loved Anna and the French Kiss! I knew Lola's story would be different than Anna's, so I was also worried I wouldn't like it as much. Lola and the Boy Next Door was one of those books I was worried that I'd been anticipating so much that I'd be disappointed when I finally read it.
I wasn't disappointed. :)
It was, however, a very different story than Anna's. If I were to make a comparison, I'd say reading Lola's story would be like reading Etienne St. Clair's side of Anna's story, though it's still much different. Lola has a boyfriend at the beginning of Lola and the Boy Next Door. Max may not be the ideal boyfriend in her friend's or parent's eyes, but Lola loves him and so did I.
That always makes it hard. I liked both Max and Cricket, but I knew one of their hearts would be broken by the end. Of course, through the course of the story, I got to know them both better and I began to prefer one over the other. Regardless, it's still hard when there are feelings for multiple people involved.
I really appreciated Lola and the Boy Next Door because it was obviously a companion book to Anna and the French Kiss, not only because Anna and St. Clair make appearances (yay!), but in the way the story was told. However, it also wasn't a retelling of the Anna story with different characters. Lola is very different from Anna and her story is her own. I really liked that.
If I'm being picky, I'll say I did prefer Anna's story to Lola's but that's also because Anna's fits more with a traditional falling in love story. Lola's love story is more complex, so my feelings while reading were more complex. I always knew I wanted Anna with St. Clair. I didn't always know who I wanted Lola with.
As usual, Stephanie Perkins wove a full and rich story, where all the characters came to life. I love how she could address so many topics and it didn't feel like a gag or a like paying lip service to a topic. For example, Lola's parents are a gay couple. This fact is not brushed off as nothing, but it's also not a focal point. Perkins gives it just the right amount of attention. I'm astounded by all the details Perkins puts into her stories. It's what makes the characters, settings, and stories come to live. Perkins is definitely an author who crafts her story, not just writes it.
Overall, I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and I'd recommend it to everyone...though it does cater to a more feminine crowd.
Final thoughts: Buy it!