Yesterday I finished reading Lola and the Boy Next Door (2011) which is the second book of Stephanie Perkins brilliant young adult romance series. This is definitely becoming one of my favourite series of all time. Here are my thoughts on the second book.
What is the book about?
Lola and the Boy Next Door is centered on a quirky and flamboyant young girl who wants nothing more than to make her grand entrance at the school dance in a self-made Marie Antoinette ball gown beside her hot rock star boyfriend. She thinks she has everything figured out when Cricket Bell returns to the neighborhood and Lola’s past feelings for the quiet and clever boy next door return. With her relationship with band member Max hitting rocky patches and with Crickets achievements still being clouded by his sister’s success, the two find themselves once again drawn to each other. Perkins tells us another adorable love story about what happens when Lola and Cricket see each other faces at their bedroom windows again.
SPOILER WARNING – THERE WILL BE MINOR SPOILERS
I am going to start by discussing the characters. Perkins creates the most wonderfully vibrant characters and I can always relate to them. For instance, the main character in this books, Lola Nolan, is faced with a lot of tricky decisions throughout the narrative. Should she stay with her boyfriend Max or should she consider her feelings for Cricket? Should she be lying to Max even if it will spare his feelings? Is she leading Cricket on? Can she help it? I am pretty sure most of us can understand that feeling you get when neither decision feels quite right. Until suddenly it does and in the end we feel assured that Lola has made the right decision.
I thought the descriptions of her crazy costumes were fun, not that I would consider wearing any of them in everyday life. But, I think it is great how Perkins makes each of her characters so individual. It is what makes them interesting and memorable. It is why this series of books works. The beautiful settings of rich and busy cities filled with exciting characters.
I think Cricket Bell is definitely believable as the love interest. He is shy and adorable as well as intelligent and caring. And he lives next door. And he was her first kiss. Of course, as soon as he moves back into town, she falls for him all over again. I did think Cricket was an extremely likable character, but he didn’t beat the charms of Étienne St. Clair in Anna and the French Kiss (2010). He is still my favourite so far, although I do think Cricket is perfect for Lola.
Furthermore, I love the way the characters in this series always have something they are passionate about:
Anna = film
St. Clair = history
Josh = drawing/art
Lola = fashion design
Cricket = inventing
Me = books
I think it so so brilliant that Anna and St.Clair are in this book. Since I love Anna and the French Kiss and all the characters, it is so cool that you get an update on them as well. I love the fact that Anna and St.Clair seem so happy together. I think all the characters so far appear again in the final book, so I am very excited for that.
This book, in fact all the books in the series (so far), are never boring. There is always something happening, things move fast and you have to keep up. But, that’s why it’s good. That’s how it feels in real life, like I said in the Anna… review.
I like the family elements of this book. The parts of the storyline about Lola’s home life, her fathers and Norah, her birth mother. When Norah comes to live with them after being kicked out of her apartment it throws Lola’s life into further disarray. At first she finds it awkward, she doesn’t know how to talk to her mother. I really like the scene towards the end where they start opening up to one another.
The bits of the story surrounding Max are very eventful and explosive. In the end, he really isn’t a very nice person at all. I felt so bad for Lola when she realises that her whole relationship wasn’t what she thought it was. Her boyfriend wasn’t who she thought he was. I really liked the way Lola has to take time to get over Max, Perkins is always so careful to keep her storylines realistic. She feels sad, she grieves the loss of her relationship instead of jumping right into something new with Cricket. Even though she knows it is likely to happen eventually. And Cricket is happy to wait for her which just makes him even lovelier.
The whole set up of Lola and Cricket having facing windows, opposite each other from their two houses, was so fun. The way he throws pins at her window to announce his presence. I love all the conversations between the two in this setting. It adds a sense of innocence to their relationship. I also love the way she talks to the moon.
This book is just as adorably perfect as Anna and the French Kiss and I cannot wait to read the final book of the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After (2014).
I am going to give this book 5/5 stars.