By: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: TODAY!!
Genre/Age: YA Contemporary
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 ad 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.
This has been by far one of my most highly anticipated novels for the last several months. Ever since finishing Anna and the French Kiss I was ready to jump right back into another Stephanie Perkins masterpiece, and I’m so happy to say that Lola and the Boy Next Door does not disappoint. At all. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Everything about it is wonderful: the fun and quirky cast of characters (including the reappearance of two of our favorites from Anna and the French Kiss *happy squeal*), the setting of San Francisco (which I was lucky enough to visit for the first time earlier this summer), and a heartwrenching and smile-inducing story of old misunderstandings, teenage longing, and childhood friends finally falling in love (which caused a lot of excited squeaking and happy sighing on my part).
Just like in Anna, the supporting characters are all fantastic and made me wish the book was ten times longer so we could get to know each of them better. Lola’s two dads are such wonderful fictional parents; supportive and loving, yet firm and protective too. Even Calliope, though pretty unlikeable at first, ended up being quite an intriguing character, and I’m really looking forward to the possibility of seeing her (and others!) in the next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
Lola herself is fantastic, of course, and her fashion sense is SO FUN. She’s like a young, slightly toned-down Lady Gaga. And even though I could never BE her (the time and effort it must take her to get dressed every day! I’m exhausted already!), I absolutely loved reading about it. We could totally be friends.
Although if we WERE friends, we would definitely get in a fight over Cricket, that’s for sure. Oh my gosh, you guys, THIS BOY. Cricket is quirky and sweet and geeky and awkward and adorable and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Watching him long for Lola made my heart hurt (Psst, take me instead, Cricket!). One of the things I loved about Anna was how REAL it was, how realistically Etienne acted and how beautifully their friendship unfolded. Somehow, Stephanie has managed to kick it up a notch in the “real” department with Lola. Cricket is so real. And kind of perfect. He’s the kind of guy I would love to date. He’s the kind of guy I would love my daughter to date (I don’t have a daughter yet, FYI). Plus, he’s TALL. Like, really tall. (Sorry Etienne.)
It’s not that I don’t love my paranormals, but sometimes you just want to read a story that could actually HAPPEN. A story where you can shamelessly insert yourself into Cricket’s arms and know that it could be real life. Something sweet, painful, romantic, awkward, heartbreaking, and totally swoonworthy. The joy in reading this book isn’t in the mysterious love interest, the main character discovering she is a (insert supernatural creature here), or the shocking twist at the end, it’s in the sweet little moments that make you smile and sigh with happiness. It’s in bridges built between windows and conversations with the moon. And it has completely stolen my heart.
Reading Lola and the Boy Next Door was seriously the most fun I’ve had in ages. I literally had to put it down several times while reading so I could get up and do a crazy dance around the room because I was so giddy. I’m pretty sure there were happy squeaking noises coming from my room the whole time.
In addition to the adorableness of Cricket, a considerable amount of these fangirl reactions was thanks to Anna and St. Clair, who are in the book as actual characters, not just cameo appearances (yay!). There were several tiny little references to things from Anna and the French Kiss, which made me sooooo happy, and after casting several adoring glances at my copy of Anna on the shelf, it eventually just moved to the bed with me. Let me tell you, Lola, Anna and I had an AWESOME party.
I absolutely cannot wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After, although having to leave all these fantastic characters for the final time is going to be heartbreaking. If I could live in a fictional series it would totally be this one (except that all the awesome guys are already taken! :P Stephanie, write my life, please? Kay, thanks.).
Oh, and the best thing about Lola and the Boy Next Door? *points upwards* Check out that release date! IT’S OUT TODAY, PEOPLE! What are you waiting for? You don’t want another minute to go by without reading this book.