Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Book description (from Goodreads) –
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.
Lola is content with her life; she has a boyfriend that she loves, a best friend that she adores and a passion for designing clothes. Lola is happy…isn’t she?
When the boy that Lola used to have a crush on – Cricket – moves back into the house next door with his family, Lola begins to realise that maybe she isn’t so happy after all. The return of Cricket into Lola’s life brings issues to the surface that Lola thought she had burried. Lola’s life soon begins to unravel and she is about to discover that the hardest person to admit the truth to is herself.
Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, and while you don’t have to have read Anna first to read Lola, I highly recommend reading Anna and the French Kiss – it’s a beautiful, romantic novel. Anna and St. Clair, the main characters in Anna and the French Kiss, make appearances in Lola and the Boy Next Door, and it was really nice to see them again and to see how their relationship was going. While Anna and St. Clair feature in the novel Lola, they don’t take the spotlight away from her – it’s definitely Lola’s story.
When the reader is first introduced to Lola, we meet a quirky girl who loves to dress up. Everyday is a new opportunity for Lola to create a new costume – one day she may dress inspired by a strawberry, the next, fire. Glitter, sparkles, costumes, bright wigs – Lola loves it all.
Lola is a fun and likeable character, but I did find it a little hard to relate to her at times. I sometimes felt that I didn’t really know who Lola was, and I think I felt this way due to the costumes she was always wearing. It took me a little while to figure out if she wore costumes to hide from the world and maybe herself or if it was just her personality to express herself through costume.
Lola lives with her two dad’s, and I loved the Sunday brunches that Lola had with her dads and her boyfriend. Max, her boyfriend, is older than her by a few years and it is very clear that her dad’s are not happy with who she is dating. Lola does her best to try and help everyone to get along, but when your parents and your best friend don’t like your boyfriend, it is a very uphill battle.
There are problems within her relationship with Max, and Lola has her rose coloured glasses on – she doesn’t want to see it. When Cricket enters Lola’s life once again, her life begins to unravel. Her problems with Max reach the surface and she can’t ignore them any longer…but she tries too.
Cricket has a very kind heart and says some beautiful things to Lola that I think many girls would love to hear. He adores Lola and wants to be with her, but Lola is with Max; problems arise when Lola begins to re-ignite her friendship with Cricket. Lola is caught between the past, the present, and her indecisiveness about the future. She is confused and begins to lie – not only to Max, Cricket, her best friend Lindsey and her parents, but also to herself.
I could understand why Lola was lying to those around her and to herself. Sometimes when in love, it can be hard to admit that the person we are with isn’t the right person for us. I could see why she felt that it was too hard to pull away from Max.
There are many sweet, romantic, funny and sad moments in Lola, making it a very charming novel. I also felt that it was very realistic. Life is messy, love is messy and this comes across heavily in Lola and the Boy Next Door.
I enjoy Stephanie Perkins writing style and I’m looking forward to reading the final companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss – Isla and the Happily Ever After.
A very clever contemporary novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, highlights that sometimes it is when our lives begin to unravel that we find out who we are and what we really want.