Review: Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton
Where did you get the book: Bought
Release date: Out now. UK Release date: 11th October

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.

*Blurb taken from author’s official website*

The day finally came. I was literally counting down the months for this release because how I so loved Stephanie Perkins debut novel, Anna and The French Kiss (click here for the review). Stephanie Perkins is such a talented author, and I couldn’t wait to see how her second novel panned out. Lola turned out good, but not great for me, so it’s with a tiny bit of sadness that I’m going to have to write some things I didn’t like about Lola. But it’s still a very enjoyable read, and I still have no hesitating in book pushing Lola onto others. Lola is the companion novel to Anna, and whilst it has no direct story that relates to the first, Anna and St Clair feature which was fantastic. I don’t want to go straight into the blurb again, so I’ll crack straight onto the review.

I liked Lola, but her see-sawing emotions became annoying for me when it came between her boyfriend Max, and her sort of ex Cricket. When Cricket and his twin sister arrive back next door to live, Lola’s old feelings for him return and she’s very confused as Cricket seems the same, but so different. I think Lola has a much younger tone in the story, and more young teenager angst compared to Anna, and Lola’s reactions are that very much of a confused teenager as she sort of plays both Max and Cricket on — but not in a malicious way.

Lola was very much a creative spirit, and her family life was just fantastic with both her dads, Andy and Nathan, a gay couple, who were such delightful characters. It was so cute and funny seeing them be so protective over Lola when it came both to Max and Cricket. For me, I never saw what Lola saw in Max, other than he was older, and a ‘rocker’, and he was pretty much an ass as far as I was concerned. Cricket on the other hand was such a sweetheart, and he was such a little oddball but in a inventive and eccentric way. His little contraptions that he built just added to his character, and he really was so sweet that I kept mentally shouting at Lola, how could you lead on sweet Cricket when he was trying so hard to stay away from you because he was honouring the fact you had a boyfriend. The fact that Lola wasn’t doing it in a purposeful or malicious way stopped me from disliking her, because she owns up to the realisation of what she was doing.

The secondary characters in Lola I don’t believe were strong, except for Lola’s parents Nathan and Andy. Lola’s best friend, whilst there, seemed to fade in the background, and other than being told they were best friends, I didn’t feel the connection between them. The same goes for Cricket’s twin sister, who at first was so snotty, but really was quite protective of her brother. I didn’t know quite what to make of Cricket having to sacrifice his childhood for his twin’s professional career as a skater, and I thought it was quite heartbreaking that his parents never put that much effort into his ambitions and happiness. And again, Nathan and Andy saw this and they were so sweet when they started inviting Cricket over so he wouldn’t feel so alone.
Lola and Cricket when they were together were so cute, but for me personally, I disliked that Lola was with Max through most of the novel because there was just too much teen angst for my liking. And it’s the first time where I felt that this book is definitely suited more towards teenagers. I did like that Lola’s reaction to Max towards the end was quite grown up, and she did think about her actions and feelings. What I found fascinating was her relationship with her birth mother, Norah, and how Lola was so mature about it, and that whilst she cared for her, she never had an inclination of wanting Norah to be her mother. And Norah had no inclination of wanting to be a mother, but they still both cared for one another.

Lola and Cricket towards the end of book were just fantastic, and how I so wished that it happened on earlier in the story because Cricket whilst innocent, is not so lily-white when it comes to Lola *grins*. And again, I loved that we saw Anna and Etienne again and whilst they featured in quite a few scenes, they never took over the story of Lola and Cricket.

All in all. Lola is a very good read with a very strong heroine, and a sweet cute beta-hero in Cricket. I didn’t love it compared to Anna, and because I found the tone to be younger, and I couldn’t get into the story as much as I would have liked. And yes, once again, I’ll be counting down the months until the third companion novel is released by Perkins.

I give Lola and The Boy Next Door a B.

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