Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 29, 2011
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin imprint)
Lola Nolan is a budding designer who doesn't believe in fashion. She believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. Even though her style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to the hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins return to the neighbourhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
So many expectations were met for me with this book. I wanted humour, I wanted struggle, I wanted confusion, I wanted awesome friends, I wanted love and romance. I wanted to breathe in the realism and believability. And I did. Reading this book made me happy, it made me smile and laugh and fall in love with all the characters.
This book was another journey, a journey for Lola. Her life is a perfect as she could want it, not counting the fact that her two dads don't really care for her older rocker boyfriend. Everything's wonderful, until the Bell twins move back in next door. Until she sees Calliope. Until she sees Cricket. The second she sees him, the structure holding up her perfect life crumbles and a whole mess of hidden parts are revealed, meaning Lola has to confront some harsh truths before she can move on.
I loved Lola. She was quirky and unique, completely comfortable with wearing outrageous clothes and costumes and wigs. I wish I had a friend like Lola when I was in high school. And it didn't hurt that her best friend's name was Lindsey (even though it's spelled differently). And Cricket was surprising but so sweet. After Perkins' last love interest, everyone knew this one had to be just as sweet and normal and amazing and perfect and flawed. And the gifted inventor part makes him so cool.
Books where the main character already has a boyfriend or girlfriend are rare. I didn't mind Max. What teen girl doesn't want an older hot rocker boyfriend? Sure, the age difference might make some parents a bit uneasy (her 17 to his 22), but it happens. So do overprotective parents who don't want their teenage daughter dating a guy who smokes and plays in a band and has tattoos and can totally take advantage of her.
The cameos of Anna and St. Clair. They could've been gimmicky, they could've been random glimpses, but here they were side characters that connected everything in this book to Perkins' first book. They were just as I remembered: sweet, funny, thoughtful, and totally in love.
Quirky, outrageously fun and outrageously complicated, Lola and the Boy Next Door gives Stephanie Perkins fans another helping of what made us fall in love with her in 2010. A unique girl, an adorably sweet guy, interesting friends and family, and more twists and surprises than you can shake a stick at. Or a book. Or a purple wig.
(I purchased this book, but this review is based off of an advance copy I borrowed from a friend/book review blogger. She dangled the carrot in front of my nose, and this time I took a nibble. I'll still be reading my finished copy when it arrives. And I have to mention that while the release date up top says September 29, it doesn't "officially" come out in Canada until October 4.)