Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Speak
Release date: September 28th 2011
Pages: 368
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Source: Bought
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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.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorite romances, so of course I was really excited for Lola and the Boy Next Door. And maybe it's because my expectations were so high, but I just didn't love it like I'd hoped I would. I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either, and it most definitely doesn't compare to Anna and the French Kiss.

What made Anna and the French Kiss so great were the characters. And sadly, they're exactly what I found lacking in Lola and the Boy Next Door. Lola, to be honest annoyed me with her melodrama, which made it hard for me to get emotionally invested in the story. I found all of the characters to be underdeveloped.They're each only defined by one thing and seem more like personifications of those interests or qualities than real people: Lola is Fashion, Lindsey is Future Detective, Cricket is Geeky Science Guy, and Max is Older Musician Guy Your Parents Won't Approve of. For the most part, they stayed too one-dimensional and didn't show the depth I wanted them to. And while I was excited to see Anna and St. Claire again as secondary characters, their relationship with Lola seemed kind of forced and unnatural. I will admit, though, that I love how Lola has really bad vision! Strangely, that's almost never mentioned in books, so I really appreciated how important a role in the novel Lola's bad vision plays.

The other thing I loved about Anna and the French Kiss was the authentic, natural development of the relationship between Anna and St. Claire. And the romance in Lola and the Boy Next Door just didn't compare. The reader spends more time observing Lola in her (to me, annoying) inability to make up her mind about her feelings than we actually see interactions between Lola and Cricket. They didn't seem to have much in common asides from their shared history, and they lacked the spark that I loved about Anna and St. Claire.

What I did really enjoy about Lola and the Boy Next Door, though, is the setting. Stephanie Perkins has a knack for vivid settings and imagery of place: she does a great job of conveying the atmosphere of San Francisco, at least as far as I, as someone not from San Francisco, can tell.

I know I spent almost all of this review comparing Lola and the Boy Next Door to Anna and the French Kiss, so maybe it is just because of too high expectations that I didn't love this one. Either way, I'm still really looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After - maybe this one will have the same magic as Anna and the French Kiss, even if I didn't feel it with Lola and the Boy Next Door.


  1. Thanks for your thoughts. This book is on my to-read shelf. Hope to get to it soon.

  2. I loved this book, but not as much as I loved Anna. I think you're right when you talk about expectations. I've definitely had high expectations for books by authors I love, and when my expectations for those books aren't met, I'm always so disappointed--more disappointed than I would be if I hadn't had such high expectations. I hope we both enjoy Isla as much as we enjoyed Anna!


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