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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 29th 2011
Publisher: Dutton Books
Cute boys, great fashion, wonderful characters, and pie; what more could a gal ask for in a contemporary? I already regret waiting this long to read the second book in the Anna and the French Kiss Series by Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door. Not only is Stephanie Perkins a doll and quite possibly one of the friendliest authors I have met to date but her writing is also spectacular. I remember falling in love with Anna and the French Kiss last year when I read it for the first time, and thinking what incredible characters she always manages to come up with. Lola and the Boy Next Door was no exception.
o Lola: Also known as Dolores, Lola is what many might call eccentric, but which I found to be delightful. She feels her best when dressing up in costumes, whether it’s a picnic basket theme or as Marie Antoinette, and wants to go to school for fashion once she’s finished high school. I loved Lola so much and there was more than one occasion when I cried with her: heartbreak, mean kids, you name it! As someone who originally wanted to get a college degree in business fashion, I could really relate to some of the criticism Lola received from other kids her age teasing her about the way she dressed. I think any readers will be able to sympathize with some of the things she is going through in the book though!
o Andy and Nathan: Lola’s two dads who adopted her from her birth mother are downright hilarious and so easy to love! I’m not sure if it was their concern for their daughter or their easy manners that made me fall in love with these two, but I thought their personalities added so much to the family dynamic that I loved in this book. Even when Lola’s birth mother comes to spend some time with them later in the book, I still couldn’t help but feel so much respect and adoration for these two! One of my favorite scenes in the book was when Lola and Cricket stay home to help Andy get a rush order of pies done and delivered for his business.
o Cricket: AKA “the boy next door,” Cricket is one of Lola’s oldest friends whose family has just moved back into their neighborhood. Cricket’s passion is building things and he is always tinkering with some form of gadget or invention in his room when he’s not at Berkley studying. I loved his character in the book and his willingness to stick around and fix the mistakes he made with Lola before he moved away, despite the fact that she now has a boyfriend. It’s funny because my ships typically revolve around the “bad boys” but this time I fell for Cricket from the get-go. He’s the type of guy who is always more concerned with the people around him than himself, which I think is extremely charming! I had a hard time liking his twin sister Calliope though, whom Cricket would do anything for (and does), including following her around to all her ice skating events.
Other than the phenomenal characters in Lola and the Boy Next Door, one of my favorite parts of this book was the setting itself. I think this is one of the first books I’ve read set in San Francisco and I really loved it! After I finished the book I actually spent a lot of time browsing the Internet and reading up on the culture there and drooling over the cute Victorianesque houses. Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge has always been on my bucket list and reading this book made me want to visit that much more!
Although I certainly think you can read this book as a standalone, I am glad that I read Anna and the French Kiss prior to Lola and The Boy Next Door, because I was able recognize some of the references Anna and Etienne (St. Clair) make in the text. They played minor roles in this book (they work with Lola at the movie theatre) but they are in numerous scenes throughout. Knowing that they played a small role in this book makes me feel a little bit better about leaving Lola’s story to begin reading the next book in the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After, because I’m hoping that means Lola will appear in the next book from time to time. I wasn’t quite ready to leave her behind yet and I have a sneaking suspicion that Lola’s story might be my favorite in this series of three by Stephanie Perkins (although that remains to be seen as I have not read Isla yet). What about you guys? Which one of this series is your favorite?