Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Dutton Books (29th September 2011)
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the 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 neighbourhood.
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: **** (4 stars)
Stephanie Perkins writes the kind of contemporary romance that I enjoy. Lola and the Boy Next Door is a companion piece to Anna and the French Kiss – which I loved (you can find my review here) – so I thought I’d give it a try, and I was NOT disappointed.
Lola is a character. I don’t mean it as a pun. I don’t think I know anyone – real or fictional – who is quite like her. Yet she drew me in from the start. I think Lola is actually kind of cool. I loved the fact that she was really into what she wore, but not in a fashion way – so I didn’t drown under labels – and the way that her costumes and wigs were described was very vivid. I also liked the fact that in spite of her costumes, Lola is actually pretty straight-laced and has a good relationship with her parents (who just happen to be gay – which I thought was awesome, as too often the heterosexual norm is followed).
The plot of the book is pretty much what I would expect from a contemporary romance, but Perkins pulled it off with style. It is a really enjoyable and engrossing read, and I found it really difficult to put it down. One of the things that I really loved about this book was the appearance of some of the characters from Anna and the French Kiss, as they worked with Lola. It was nice to get an update into their lives.
The Bell twins, and Cricket especially, are very important to Lola and you can tell this from the opening chapter. They have a history, and I found it really interesting to watch things unfold, as well as seeing how they were. Lola’s “hot rocker boyfriend” is … interesting; I’m not quite sure what to make of him especially in relation to Lola, and I don’t think he is either.
Lola and the Boy Next Door is a brilliant novel, one which I really enjoyed reading. If you like contemporary romance then I highly recommend it, but I would suggest that you read Anna and the French Kiss first – just so you don’t spoil yourself. I’m really looking forward to reading the third – and final – companion novel.