Friday 16 December 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Ive been putting off writing this review for so long.

I think its because I was expecting to be all ZOMG THIS WAS THE GREATEST BOOK EVERRRRR, like I was with Perkins' first book, Anna and the French Kiss. I had, really, really high expectations of Lola and the Boy Next Door. So thats why it's so hard to say I was kinda disappointed.

Eep! Did I really just write that? See, this is why I didnt want to write this review. Everybody seems to love this book so much – some even said it was BETTER THAN Anna, which is a massive call. Im almost embarrassed that I dont feel the same. Dont get me wrong, I did really like it. I just didnt love it - no matter how much I wanted to.

It was a really cute story, about a dramatic teen named Lola, who lives in San Francisco with her two gay dads, adores her older boyfriend Max and has big plans for her formal costume (yes, costume). Then her next door neighbours, the Bell twins, come back to town after a few years away, and her complicated history with them messes up her life big-time.

I think the let down for me with this book were the characters. One of the things I adored about Anna was that the two main characters and the supporting cast were all really well drawn, realistic and likable. With Lola, I appreciated that she was unique and liked her well enough, but I couldnt quite relate to her or the way she acted in certain situations. I felt that Max was almost too likable for the first half, and then did too much of a turnaround. Calliope Bell fell a bit flat – she was a bit of a cardboard cutout mean girl – and Cricket well, he was pretty adorable, but he just didnt do it for me. I know a lot of people love him (please dont hurt me!), but from the way he dresses to what he says and how he acts around Lola, I just found him a bit, erm, campy. Not that campy is a bad thing - I just saw him as being more awesome as a friend than a boyfriend. I didnt feel any chemistry or sexual tension between him and Lola, which I think was the most disappointing part of all.

One thing I did really love was Lolas parents. I liked how Perkins portrayed their sexuality as incidental, not some Big Thing, and showed them as a normal, loving family. I also enjoyed her best friend Lindsay, who kinda reminded me of Lane in Gilmore Girls, and anything that reminds me of Gilmore Girls gets automatic bonus points.

Overall, and all gripes aside, I had a lot of fun reading Lola. Once I started, I found it hard to put down. Perkins is a fantastic writer and with just two books shes cemented herself as one of my favourite authors.  Id definitely recommend it for fans of contemporary fiction, YA romance and, of course, Anna.

Rating: 4/5

Eye Candy
There wasn't a lot of description about Lola herself (the focus was more on her OTT outfits), but I pictured Lucy Hale when I started reading and she seemed to fit. Cricket was kinda hard to "cast" - he's meant to be tall, with crazy hair that sticks up all over the place and "startling" bright blue eyes. I couldn't think of any actor who looks remotely close to that (can you?), but the description of Cricket's style brought to mind the way Darren Criss dresses - at least in Glee and in photo shoots. And we all know how much I love DCriss, so he became my Cricket.

Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2011 by Dutton
Get It: Fishpond


  1. Aww, well, it's good you could air your honest opinion! I'm one of those people who loved Lola. I wouldn't say it was really better than Anna, but it was just as lovely for me because it was different in a good way :)

    And great casting choices! Works for me!

  2. You are not alone, sister!
    And 4 stars was too generous :P

  3. I don't have huge expectations for this book so hopefully it wont disappoint me.

  4. @Alexa - I did like that it was different from Anna, and it was still good... I think I just had too high expectations!

    @Anonymous - lol! Well, glad it's not just me then :)

    @Jenny - It is a fun read, I hope you enjoy it!

  5. I haven't read this book yet- but it is on my list. I think 4/5 stars is still very promising. A very honest review!


  6. @Fairday - I look forward to hearing what you think!

  7. It's weird - this isn't my usual kind of thing at all, but I'm dying to read it! I may even have to purchase a copy with my Christmas money :)

    And God, I love Darren Criss. I'd read ANY book with a character that even VAGUELY reminded me of him!

  8. @Hanna - Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? They're both great (though as you can tell I liked Anna a little more!)

  9. Without revealing too much, Perkins takes what could have been a conventional romantic story in a different direction with the pacing and structure of the story as well as some clever diversions with other characters. Combined with Lola's obvious transformation throughout the story all of that makes Lola and the Boy Next Door a book well worth checking out.

    1. Interesting point. What did you like about the pacing and structure in particular?

  10. Hmmm,okay,in this one I don't agree that much in some points,like,I think Cricket is the best character in the book!He is cute,smart and,most of the time,very happy (super turn on,in my opinion hahaha).I find interesting the neighbor love that starts when they were little and since that time,still is lived in their hearts,if you understand me.My commentary was very confusing,but I hope you understood it hahaha