4 days ago
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Review of Lola and the Boy Next Door
Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult fiction
Publication date: September 29th, 2011
I went into this book with mixed expectations. On one hand, there's a purple-haired girl on the cover, which is awesome. On the other hand, it isn't Anna and the French Kiss, which is an automatic mark against it (and most other contemporary YA). Plus, it's Perkins's second novel, which means it's subject to the Second Novel Curse. So I approached it with caution.
I quickly discovered that any comparison to Anna and the French Kiss was unnecessary. Lola and Anna are like apples and oranges. Lola is...crazy. Like, the kind of crazy that involves a lot of wigs and a dress made out of a sheet. She's also extremely dramatic. At points even the narration is over-the-top, Lola style.
In Lola and the Boy Next Door, the Bell family has just moved back into the house next to Lola's. Lola and Cricket Bell used to be almost-more-than-friends, until Cricket got weird and broke her heart. Now Lola is her own woman: she's got amazing style, a hot rocker boyfriend, and a life that does not need to include Cricket. It's hard to avoid him, though, when his bedroom window is only a few feet from hers.
The things I love about this novel are legion. First of all, Lola's family is very unconventional. She lives in the Castro in San Francisco with her two dads, one of whom is a professional baker. (The second thing I love is the pie. Every good book should have at least one pie in it.) Anna and St. Clair make an appearance, but the real story is between Lola and Cricket. He's awkward, sweet, a gifted inventor, and has great taste in pants (in Lola's opinion).
I was really impressed by how different Lola's voice is from Anna's. This novel didn't feel at all like Perkins's first, despite being just as excellent and satisfying. I think Stephanie Perkins is right up there with Sarah Dessen when it comes to comfort reads. I'm glad we have at least one more (Isla and the Happily Ever After) to look forward to.