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

Posted November 17, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Published by Dutton on September 29th, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 338
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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 negihborhood. 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.

4 Stars

With Isla and the Happily Ever After selected as our October book club book, I finally got around to reading Lola and the Boy Next Door. Cute? Definitely. Swoony? A little. Enjoyable and refreshing? Hell yes. Stephanie Perkins is the place to be for wonderful contemporary romances.

What stands out most about Lola and the Boy Next Door is its main character. Lola is quite the quirky little character. She reminded me of Jeane from Adorkable, in that she marches to the beat of her own drum. The crazier the fashion, the better. In fact, she designs her own clothes, which is super awesome. Crazy patterns and color combinations are what give her life, and she always has the right neon colored wig to go with it. There’s no one quite like Lola. Though I loved her individuality, quirkiness, and the ensuing conversations about being true to yourself and not caring what other people think, I found her voice the hardest to relate to of all of Perkins’s characters. It was special, but it didn’t really resonate with me like Anna or Isla’s voices did. (Maybe because Jeane is so dear to my heart, and this seemed like a less relatable version of her.)

But let’s face it: we’re here for the romance, and we’re here for the boy. The boy in this case is Cricket – the boy next door. Literally. He and Lola grew up next to each other, with their bedroom windows facing each other. They hung out quite a bit, and before long, Lola had an adorable little crush on him. However, Cricket’s twin sister didn’t really like that and sort of kept them apart. After years away, following his sister’s ice skating career, Cricket is back in town – in the house next door – at least on the weekends, when he’s back from college. The whole childhood romance, reminiscing about past crushes thing was adorable, and Cricket is pretty much the golden boy. It’s not hard to see why Lola would be so fond of him. Their chemistry and their interactions are all of the adorbs. Srsly, there are window conversations and notes, and it is just too cute for words.

However, their romance is not uncomplicated. Lola is actually in a relationship already – with the bad boy in a rock band, Max. He’s older, much older, and seems a bit too good to be true for being into a high school girl. Right away that relationship didn’t sit right with me. I mean, obviously I knew that he wouldn’t be THE SHIP. But it was just unhealthy from the start. I mean, let’s be real, this is a toxic relationship with an imbalance in power. Admittedly Lola is careful and smart, and she doesn’t really let Max overtly take advantage of her or manipulate her. But those warning bells are still ringing all over the place. And that’s why this will be my least favorite Stephanie Perkins book: it was obvious Max wasn’t the guy for her. It was obvious that Cricket was. And still it dragged on for so long, with Lola refusing to let go of Max. I wasn’t drawn in by her internal struggle because to me the answers were so obvious. The feels were therefore much less intense, sadly.

What I do still have to praise though is Lola’s parents – her two gay dads. GAY DADS GUYS. And they are super adorable. I’ve talked about how I get all the feels from father-daughter relationship and here I got two for the price of one! I loved the dynamics in the home. Though Lola is quirky and has this bad boy boyfriend, her dads don’t try to stifle her with rules. They celebrate her creativity and try to find middle ground. Best parents award, fo sho. And Lola’s complicated relationship with her biological mother touched my heart a little too. The family dynamics here were so different, but definitely interesting and a win for diversity.

There’s also a fair amount of Anna and St. Clair in this book – characters from Anna and the French Kiss – and I have to say that I LOVED that too. Since I reread Anna and the French Kiss just before I read this one, those characters were still so dear to my heart, and I loved seeing their interactions. I also loved how they all became friends – Lola, Anna, Cricket, and St. Clair. Stephanie Perkins creates such wonderful characters – even when they’re in secondary roles.

Summing Up:

Like I said, this will likely always be my least favorite book in the series, but that doesn’t mean that Lola and the Boy Next Door wasn’t extremely good. It was! The feels were just less heavy and I related to the main character a bit less. But the ship is adorable and I did swoon for them. And ultimately, Perkins’s romances will always be about so much more: subtle character growth, wonderful family dynamics, and great secondary characters. This is a great pick-me-up read for anyone in need of a healthy dose of fluff.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Fans of the boy next door! Obviously. *runs off humming You Belong With Me*

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8 responses to “Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

  1. Huh, I didn’t think of Jeane from Adorkable at all. Now that I do, there’s definitely some crossover, though their personalities are so different. For some reason, though, Anna’s the heroine I related to the least, though I should have been with her on some things.

    I also loved what a weird goober Cricket was. They fit together so well. I agree that the swoons were minimal, but so cute!

    Hmmm, I actually liked her relationship with Max. Not in the sense that I thought they were good together, but I liked that she had a past and I felt like he was the sort of mistake a teen girl might make. He also said a lot of the right things. He had the best quote of the book even.

    YESSSSS, LOLA’S DADS! So cute and supportive.

    • Jeane is so so so important to me, so yeah, I couldn’t shake the parallels. They are different personality-wise, but I guess Jeane’s snark made her more relatable and fun to me. Like, I should have been able to relate to Lola, I guess, in the sense of yay individuality, but nothing in her voice really SPOKE to me, you know? This is such a bullshit subjective critique I just cannot even with myself right now.

      Bahaha, Cricket was adorable, for sure for sure.

      I just never cared about Max. At all. Like, okay, I like that she was in this mature relationship thing, and that even though it is questionable, it did kind of work for a while, but I just didn’t care. Again subjective and ridiculous but whatevssssss. I suppose I need to go look at your “favorite quote” part of your review now because I honestly have no clue what you’re talking about xD

      The dads were possibly the very best part of this book, ngl.

  2. You did a good job of capturing my thoughts on this one too haha definitely my least favorite of the three but definitely still great. The Max thing annoyed the heck outta me and I didn’t get what took her so long to be ready for the adorable and perfect Cricket!! C’mon girl

  3. This is also my least favorite Perkins’ book. I liked it, but I really didn’t like the whole relationship with Max. I loved Cricket, though, which surprised me because I didn’t think I could love anyone more than St. Clair. Although I don’t love Cricket more than St. Clair, but just as much!!

  4. Wonderful review! I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Anna, either. (I haven’t read Isla yet.) I think my favourite part of this book besides Lola’s uniqueness and Cricket were her dads – they were awesome. Max definitely put a downer on things for me, too.