Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Read This: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins

The Short Story 
All Lola wants are three things: to dress as Marie Antoinette for her winter formal, for her dads to accept her 22 year old rocker boyfriend, and never to see her former next door neighbors, the Bell twins, again. But things get complicated when Calliope and Cricket move back. Lola's mix of feelings for Cricket challenge everything she thinks she wants. A cute story, but with a character that wasn't quite as developed or likeable as Anna from Anna and the French Kiss.   4.5/5

Come for the...
love interest. Does this make me a bad person? Undoubtedly, my favorite thing about this book is Cricket. When I couldn't really relate to Lola, or was mad at her for some of her choices, I loved the parts with Cricket. He's nice. Also slightly awkward, which just makes him more endearing to me. I get tired of YA boys acting like 35 year olds, or being jerky bad boys. I think the majority of teen boys (really, boys of any age) are generally nice, slightly awkward, occasionally pervy, and interested in other things in addition to girls. And, while Cricket is a little unrealistically nice and talented, he's one of the most real boys in YA. I think he'll battle it out with Jonah Griggs as the best book boy of 2011. And probably win.

But there's more to the story than just the boy. I love the supporting characters, like Lola's parents. I've never read a book with two dads before, but I appreciated that Perkins doesn't beat you over the head or make an agenda out of it. Lola's parents are involved and care about her, but aren't perfect. Her birth mom is flaky, but not worthless. Her friends Lindsey, Anna & St. Clair are supportive but call her on things when she's wrong. And San Francisco is a character in and of itself. Having just visited there this summer, I had a lot of fun reading about all the little quirks.

Stay for the
costuming & sewing; figure skating; Isla & the Happily-Ever-After, which I'm sure will feature lots of familiar faces.

Don't think about this too hard
  • I would have liked to see more character growth for Lola in this one. There is some, but for the most part, she doesn't really exist outside of her relationships with Max and Cricket. I don't mean to compare it with Anna, but Anna grew/learned so much in that book that it almost didn't matter if it worked out with St. Clair or not. Not so much with Lola.

The Big Three
Language: fairly regular profanity, with a couple f-words
Sex and Stuff: some kissing, some more-than-kissing (but not described)
Violence: not an issue


  1. A character who can stand his own ground against THE Jonah Griggs? I MUST read this book soon. I'm dying to read another love interest who's as captivating as Jonah.

    Thanks for the review! It's really the best one for Lola that I've read so far.

  2. I love your review; I have to agree, I wish there was more personal growth for Lola. Her relationship with Max, I see so much of my high school relationship in that and it makes me sad.

  3. I don't know if anyone can top Jonah Griggs for me, but I do adore Cricket. I totally agree that he's one of the most real YA boys I've read about in a while. I could actually believe he was 18 and not, like, secretly 30. Great review!

  4. You make it sound so good I'm sorta crushing on him ;)

  5. I'm trying to decide whether I should buy this one or not but I think I'll just get it at the day. ;)

  6. I think I'm failing in love! Cricket sounds wonderful and I love what you write about teenage boys :) Some might not have more interests than girls but most of them do have other things they care about as well.

  7. Penelope, thanks! I loved Jonah, too, but I think I loved Cricket more (maybe because he reminds me of people I've met?) I hope you like it.

    Jac, that's tough. I was pretty much too scared to talk to boys for most of high school, but I think a lot of people can relate to her relationship with Max.

    Karen, thanks. I loved that Cricket seemed his age, and not smooth at all. :)

  8. Juju, yay! I thought he made a great love interest.

    Jenny, as much as I loved it, I'd recommend the library. I don't know if you'll like Lola as a character or not (plus I'm really cheap, so I always recommend the free route) :)

    Mari, thanks! I hope you like this one.