Review: Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

 Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
How I received: My lovely friend Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit let me borrow it!
On Sale: September 2011
Warning: Fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead…..every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can’t with certain books.
 
Let’s just put this out there right now – I was hella excited about Lola and the Boy Next Door but I was a bit scared to actually read it because I loved Anna and the French Kiss something fierce. I kept thinking that, while there is a good chance I’ll really enjoy Lola, I’m never going to feel the same way about it that I did with Anna. It would be like the replacement goldfish that your parents try to convince you is just as great as the one you had to flush down the toilet. It’s not the goldfish’s fault…but it’s just not the same as the one you really loved.
 
The verdict?  I’m going to boldly say that I loved Lola from my head down to my toes….I actually think I liked it even better than Anna. I can’t believe I’m saying it but it’s true.  Stephanie Perkins brought the awesomeness and somehow created a story that could top Anna and the French Kiss for me — the amazing characters, the romance, a compelling storyline, the great setting. It’s all there. While the romantic city of Paris really propelled the story of Anna and St. Clair for me in ATFK, Lola truly is the shining star in Perkin’s second novel.
 
Lola is just one of those unforgettable characters. I instantly connected with her — she’s different and I can appreciate that as someone who has always used clothing as a way to set myself apart…especially in high school. It was something I could control amidst the chaos that was my life. I can’t say my wardrobe was even a fraction like hers but I still understand her mentality. I can truly say I felt like I was reading the character of Lola as a little sister. I was protective of her, I wanted to hug it out with her during both crappy moments and awesome moments and I just wanted to tell her what an amazing girl she was.
 

Ok…I’ll address the big fat elephant on the blog. The Boy! I know…you want to know if the boy is as wonderful and amazing and swoonworthy as St. Clair. Yes, ladies. Eat your heart out. For those of you who loathed St. Clair (yes there are people out there that do — one of my fave ppl of all time and I had a friendly banter about St. Clair at BEA when she revealed this to me), you will be so thrilled about the new crush that Perkins has handed to you on a silver platter. There are seriously not enough “nice guys” in YA lit…but Cricket is leading the army against all those douchenuggets that seem to be in the “in” thing. I want to see more guys that are super nice, but not pushovers, and actually have a personality. He was sweet and sensitive and honestly the type of guy I love and I truly felt as though he complemented Lola so well. The thing I loved most about him (aside from his adoration of Lola) was how he was SUCH a real teen boy to me. Sometimes I find that most of the guys I read are always written so much more eloquently and more mature than teen boys actually are. They always seem to take on these hot, underwear model characteristics and always are suave and dashing. But Cricket was just so real. He’s got quirky hobbies and interests and, hell, he’s got his awkward, stupid boy moments. So refreshing. I love me some Cricket.

 
All of the secondary characters really felt so lively and real to me — Lola’s parents were incredibly supportive and definitely NOT absent. I really liked Max in the beginning and even though my love for him fizzled…he still felt very real. I LOVED how Perkins incorporated Anna and St. Clair into the novel without making them centerstage. PERFECT roles for them and I was ecstatic to see what had become of them.
 
I don’t want to give away ANYTHING about this book but I honestly loved the whole story, the romance, the tension that was present in different threads of the story, and the ending! I felt myself charmed by San Fransisco and swept up in Lola’s life. Anna’s story was somewhat dreamy and escapist for me but Lola’s story felt so realistic to me and I really appreciated that. Lola persevered through a lot in the story and I really believed in her progress and the path that Perkins lead her on. Lola was not overwrought with emotion and drama but perfectly captures the complicated nature of love and relationships with family and friends. It also shows the joys that come with the pain, awkward moments and general confusion of being a teen. I love that about this book — it captures the teen voice in a genuine way with out being too “OMG this is a teen book” that actually doesn’t accomplish the teen voice…like when your mom or dad tries to act really hip and up on the lingo.
 
I typically don’t make bold statements like this but I’m going to because I feel so strongly after reading Lola: Stephanie Perkins is on auto-buy for me now. If she writes it, I’m going to beat down doors to get it. If I were my 13 year old self, I’d be bedazzling shirts proclaiming the awesomeness that is Stephanie Perkins and making a shrine in my room dedicated to her. Um yeah, I totally did that for certain boy bands back in the 90′s.
 
Stephanie Perkins, after two novels, has become my go-to for wonderfully written contemporary YA with swoonworthy romances and unforgettable characters. She infuses so many quirky elements into her books and the little details are so wonderful. Lola is certainly no exception — from an awesome reference to one of my favorite bands (Phoenix!) to having an incredibly cute dog named Heavens to Betsy..I just found myself smiling at the smallest details and it added SO MUCH to my overall enjoyment of the story. Perkins writes the perfect contemporary novel for me. It isn’t so distorted of a reality that it too far-fetched for me but it has just enough drama that keeps you reading….because, let’s be honest, if realistic novels were TOO realistic we’d be bored and feel like we were reading about our own lives. She writes things I felt as a teen and still feel now at 25.  And oh my gosh, PLEASE PLEASE  read the acknowledgments at the end of the book to her husband. SO CUTE. I had to read it out loud to my boyfriend because I just was so moved by it…and then I proceeded to gush about it on Twitter.
Review On A Post-It:
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. HEIDI JUST SENT ME THIS TODAY AHHHH! Cannot wait. You know ANNA wasn't my fave, but Stephanie's writing was just delicious. Yum. More, please! We will have to discuss when I'm done.

  2. AHH! I CANNOT WAIT! I want to read it over and over again. Seriouslyyyy. You will love Cricket. I just KNOW it!!

  3. I Eat Words says:

    I love this book. I love Cricket. I love St Clair. Thank GOD for Stephanie Perkins! This review just captured everything perfectly! Gahhh I want to reread it!

    Farrah

  4. Omg Farrah…I NEED to reread this. I don't care if I am going to be on a really long book buying ban (so I can save for the wedding) but I am running out and buying this the minute the store opens. Grab your children or elderly because I'll run a bish over!

  5. BETTER than ANNA? Holy crap. I only just recently finished that, and fell in love. I can only imagine the love I'll feel for LOLA now. Can't wait! :D

  6. I was already desperate to read Lola, and now your review has actually turned me into the 13 year old version of myself (who totally bedazzled crushes names across shirts and built shrines to boybands too. *nods*) – I feel like squealing! So a taste of what I'll be like when I can finally read it then! ;-)

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Yaseena@Sweetunrest says:

    Great review! Each early review I read about this book makes me that much more excited to read it! I have a feeling that like you, I'll love it more than Anna…can't wait!!

  8. I LOVED Anna and I truly can't wait to read Lola. I love how you totally gushed about this one. And any time my students want romance, I'm directing them right to Stephanie Perkins, the most awesome writer with the blue streak in her hair!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  9. We Heart YA says:

    LOLZ omg this is the best review ever. "Douchenuggets"?! "Replacement goldfish"?! We heart you.

    However, this doesn't make waiting for September any easier… :P

  10. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    LOVE this book. So freaking much. Your review is pure perfection & give it the attention it so deserves.

  11. My 5 Monkeys(Julie) says:

    Great review and I lOVED Anna and LOVED Lola. It was perfect followup book and loved all the quirkness too.

  12. Meredith says:

    Can't wait to read this one! You're such a lucky duck for getting to read it! :P Awesome Review! Can't wait to meet Cricket! :)

    -Meredith

  13. wereadtoknow says:

    Now THAT is a great review, and I'm literally slobbering over the idea of the book now. I read ATFK FOREVER ago, pre-blog, and kinda forgot to keep a lookout for another from Perkins. But it sounds like she's back with a vengeance and the description of Cricket alone is enough to make me want to read! Thanks for a fantastic review.

  14. Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) says:

    It feels a little like cheating when I say that I loved Lola more than Anna. But it's true because Lola and the Boy Next Door has everything that made Anna wonderful and then makes those things 1000x better. The tension was soooo good. I loved it, I loved Lola, I loved Nathan and Andy, I even loved Max in the beginning, and I definitely ADORED Cricket. He's such an endearing character and Perkins handles the Lola/Cricket relationship perfectly.

    Now I must read it again!

  15. dovereader says:

    Oh my god! I must say you have been very lucky to get hold of the book. I love Perkins too! Anna was just too good and I cant wait to read Lola!

  16. Arrgh as if I wasn't already excited enough – you say it's better than Anna and more swoon-worthy than St. Clair! I need to read this book NOW!

  17. Allison says:

    oh man, I hate you. Impossible as I thought it was, I want this book even more now! I was literally drooling by the time I finished reading your review.

    Heavens to Betsy is an awesome name for a dog.

  18. I haven't read this yet, but this and Name of the Star are the two books I want most out of all the upcoming fall releases. I find it hard to believe that any book can top Anna, but I guess that just means I'll have to read it and find out!!

  19. Chachic says:

    Seriously can't wait to read this! All of the reviews that I've seen have been really positive and everyone loves it just as much, if not more than, Anna. I'm going to pre-order and hope like crazy that it wouldn't take long for the Book Depository to ship a copy to the Philippines.

  20. I really can't wait to read this!

  21. Karen @ Book Light Graveyard says:

    I'm so glad this book rocks! I loved Anna, and I can barely hold my horses for this one!

  22. Meg @ A Bookish Affair says:

    I'm so excited to read this book!

  23. Wow great review!!!!!! I cannot wait to read it, your review just makes me want to get my hands on it even more.

    New follower:D

  24. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    I am very excited to read this. Also, I should find you pictures of the bedazzling lengths I went to for certain boy bands in high school.

  25. Perkins is definitely a master of the contemporary genre. I, too, enjoyed Lola but have to admit that I loved Anna more. I'm very excited for Isla to show her face so we can see what elese is in store!

  26. quirky girls says:

    I JUST finished reading Anna and the French Kiss last night. I have heard nothing but rave reviews so I finally had to check it out for myself. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I am so excited to hear the companion novel is equally good.

    -jehara

  27. I got caught up in the hype and Anna didn’t wow me. I thought it was cute, I enjoyed the Paris setting, but didn’t get the fuss. So I didn’t go into Lola expecting wow, but then I got it! I LOVED Lola and Cricket. I loved her Dads and Lindsey. So Awesome!

  28. Loved, loved, LOVED Anna. And I loved Lola! And I can’t wait for Isla! <3333 Great review of an awesome book by the super talented Stephanie Perkins. :D

Trackbacks

  1. Ruby's Reads says:

    [...]  Lola and the Boy Next Door. There are only a few reviews that are insanely, incoherently nothing but fangirly gushing. This is one of them. It’s my favorite because I had so much fun writing it and letting myself forget about writing a proper review. Sometimes the crazy fangirl just can’t be contained! 3. Best discussion you had on your blog?  [...]

  2. [...] know my love for Anna & The French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. If Stephanie Perkins was a boy band and I was teen Jamie in the 90′s I’d have [...]

  3. [...] 8. Lola & Cricket from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola & the Boy Next Door: I love the whole childhood friends turned lovers thing! I do! Plus Cricket is just the sweetest. But I love how people and grow and change through the years and then find their way back to each other. (review of Lola and the Boy Next Door) [...]

  4. [...] from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I so would have gone for him in high school. He’s interesting and sweet and EFF YAH for [...]

  5. Top Ten says:

    […] Al and Bert because both had such an impact on Lucy & Ed. They both left an impression on me) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Lola’s dads are MY FAVORITE EVER. They are so supportive and wonderful. I also want to give […]

  6. […] Best Person To Bring Home To Mom & Dad Char from Ella Enchanted – he’s just so sweet and nice and adorable!  […]

  7. […] Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: If you are looking for a sweet romance with a good guy…Cricket Bell is your man! Lola is a […]

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