Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
September 29th 2011 by Dutton
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.
Happy sighs, twirls and twinkle lights. Loved, loved, loved this book. Loved it far more than it's predecessor, Anna and the French Kiss. Perkins writes amazing leading ladies, but Lola outshines Anna like a supernova does a light bulb.
Lola is 17 and in a relationship with Max, a 22 year old bad boy in a band. He's everything your mother wants you to stay away from...sounds delicious doesn't he? Her parents were far more tolerable than most would have been. She likes him for his, edginess, the rawness that comes across in his music. He likes her because she's a young thing dressed as a strawberry. Get your shotguns, dads.
But Max isn't her first love. A few years before she fell pink-wigged-head over platform-combat-boot-heels for Cricket Bell, the very tall, very odd, boy next door, you know, that boy, the one who broke her heart. Cricket and his family would pop in and out of the house next door; his sister's ice-skating career moving them frequently to different places around the country. It's been two years since the Bells have inhabited the lavender Victorian and despite the many wishes Lola has made that they never return- they've moved back in. And you know what they say about your first love...you never get over it.
Lola is such a quirky, unique character, with her flamboyant costumes and her life covered in glitter. Lola never plays at being whoever or whatever it is she's dressed as. She revels in the clothes themselves, her attire serving only to accent Lola. I grew insanely jealous as I read each and every outfit change, and her reasons behind what she wore. I'd love the freedom to randomly show up somewhere in a tutu, to rock a raincoat on a sunny day simply because I liked the color. She was so creative and imaginative. I missed her for days once the book was over.
Now, I have to be perfectly honest. Both Anna and Lola are terrific books. I'm so glad I read them because I know now I would have been missing something if I had not. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE her main characters. They are so vibrant and alive that I find myself wishing that I could call them up for a chat. But....and here it is: She's 0-for-2 with me on leading men. I would NEVER have let Etienne (in Anna) dick me around like Anna did and I would have kneed Cricket in what he clearly DIDN'T have and told him to grow a pair. Even with that in the back of my mind, it didn't alter my love for the story one bit. I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After !