Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the 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.
It’s a relatively short review this time folks. It’s probably not a good idea to read two or more books alternately, but I couldn’t resist putting my curiosity to rest. Stephanie Perkins is a favorite in the young adult community, and what excuse do I have for not reading her novels any sooner?
However, it was a mistake to start with this book. Bite me if you must, I had no idea this was part of a series. It’s a good thing the installments have independent stories. Well, let’s talk about my regrets a little later. Let’s discuss that rating first.
Background: Lola is content. She has great parents, a decent job, a dream to fulfill, and a very cool boyfriend (even though everyone claims he’s too old for her). She could not ask for more. Well maybe her parents’ approval and the disappearance of her biological and homeless mother couldn’t hurt. Things could definitely get better.
But things don’t get better, especially not when her first love comes back with his twin sister who for some reason has obviously harbored some feeling of resentment towards her. But Lola wasn’t bothered at all. She shouldn’t be. After all, she is in love with Max. So why does her heart race when someone mentions Bells?
Lola and the Boy Next Door is as fresh and as enjoyable as having a tea party with your friends. It’s just the right pick-up read to soothe cravings for something light and easy.
So what’s there to like?
The characters are quirky and adorable: Lola is probably one of the best female leads out there. She loves making costumes. She dresses the way she wants to. She cares little about how people see her. She has a dream and she’s on her way to fulfill it. She’s one of those rare, lovable female leads in YA.Cricket Bell is also one of my favorites. The nice guy doesn’t always get as much spot light as the cool stud, or the bad boy, but this novel just made Cricket Bell raise the bar for all the nice guys who are terrified of making a move. He’s cute, awkward, and incredibly good-natured (he can’t help it!). His slowness is also surprisingly one of his good traits.The rest of the characters are very refreshing and come on, I would bash anybody who claims to hate Andy and Nathan’s parenting. They’re awesome.
The encounters between the two leads are sweet, NOT cheesy: It’s predictable, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, trust that the book won’t spoil you with sweet moments, so when they do come, it’ll feel electric.You’ll absolutely find yourself grinning like a lovesick puppy.
Character developments and resolutions are placed in timely situations: In other words, they don’t look forced at all. You’ll understand what I’m saying when you read about Calliope, Max, and Lola’s parents. The timing is perfect – just enough build up, enough frustration, and just the right amount of problems.
Lastly, this novel captures teen romance accurately: It’s very, very accurate if I may say so myself. Teen romance should be sweet, predictable, and innocent. This novel sticks to the same formula, but for some bizarre reason (the unpretentious writing, I presume), it ends up more bearable, even more enjoyable, than the occasional young adult read. My praise goes to Stephanie Perkins for this.
- The only regret I have is not reading Anna and the French Kiss first. I felt detached whereas I know I should have felt fuzzy and warm while reading snippets of Anna and St. Clair’s relationship.
- I hate Max. You should too.
Note: I’m going to be adding this next part (recommendation) instead of lengthy conclusions in my reviews, with the exception of mind-blowing stories (which I won’t be able to stop talking about when the time comes).
Read this book while drinking coffee or tea or while walking your dog in the park. A sunny weather should add to its refreshing vibe. Music suggestions include upbeat songs c/o S club 7, Hilary Duff, or Atomic Kitten. Some Spice Girls would do too. You can add in some figure skating music to the bunch when Calliope’s chapter comes up.
Favorite Quotes from Lola and the Boy Next Door
Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.
“Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.”
I smile. “You don’t think I’m perfect?”
“No. You’re delightfully screwy, and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”