YA Friday: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Friday, December 02, 2011

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA, contemporary
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile, 2011
Source: Library
Read for: Fun!

Lola is living a happy life in San Francisco. She has parents that love each other, a boyfriend she loves, and a passion in life -- costume. But when the Bell twins return to their home next door after a few years away, Lola's perfect world is shaken. Especially by Cricket, the sweet and geeky inventor who broke her heart later. What's a girl to do?

Lola, I had high hopes for you. And they were fulfilled. Stephanie Perkins has a knack of placing characters that I would love in my favorite cities. I'm interested to see where the character in Isla and the Happily Ever After ends up, because so far Perkins has hit my first favorite city, Paris, where I lived for a few months, and my second favorite city, San Francisco, where I got engaged, and where I might be living for the next four years. Anyway.

I think my favorite thing about both of these books is the presence of the cities in which they are set. Perkins never makes a pointed statement that she is trying to illuminate these cities, but in both of the books I could feel the presence of them so strongly, and I loved it. Even though I haven't had too many opportunities to explore San Francisco yet, I could feel the atmosphere of the city in the book. It made me feel like I was in San Francisco and I loved it.

And of course, we can't forget Cricket. I'm a little late to the party in reading Lola and the Boy Next Door, so I'm sure you've seen other reviews talking about how perfect he is, but really. Most boys tend to have a flaw of some kind. Cricket doesn't, and yet he is still believable. He treats Lola like a queen, and yet he isn't a pushover. He is supportive of his slightly psychotic twin sister, Calliope, even though her life severely impedes his own sometimes. He babysits his niece. And he invents things -- which is very strange, and very cool. And of course, a necessity for Lola, he dresses well.

We also get to see Anna and Etienne in this story, and I loved the role that they played. Often when a book ends, we are cut off from the story -- unless it is a trilogy with cliffhangers, but in that case we don't really get to see the aftermath either, because the story itself hasn't ended. I loved seeing these two characters and the way their relationship is without them being center stage.

The only (slight) downside to this book for me was Lola. I liked her, but at times she drove me crazy. I'm a pretty decisive person, and I tend to get impatient with people both real and fictional that just can't make up their minds about what they want. It seemed so obvious to me what Lola wanted, but she waffles and gets confused and goes through what seems like an unnecessary amount of pain before she makes up her mind. I know that in the same situation I probably wouldn't be so certain of my actions, either, but it got to me a few times. Lola was a fun character to read about, but I don't think I would actually want to be friends with her.

Overall, however, this book was great fun. It didn't quite live up to Anna and the French Kiss for me, but it was definitely a worthy companion. I am looking forward to the third companion book, which comes out in the fall!

4 stars

Warnings: Some of the page sensuality, some swearing


  1. This is one of the only books I have seen no negative reviews of on blogs I follow. It must be a great read...

  2. What a fun review! :D I'm so glad that you liked this one! I LOVED it! I super liked both Anna and Lola, but I think that I liked Lola better. Probably because I liked Cricket better :)

    And how awesome is it that they have both been set in favorite cities?! That's SO neat!

    What's your third favorite?!

  3. I loved Anna and the French Kiss. And one of my favorite things about it was the city of Paris. I agree with you completely, Perkins does a great job of making a city come to life. I didn't know that this was a trilogy (I guess that is what happens when you are away from the blogosphere for too long!). I am definitely going to be getting this book to read over break! It sounds like a delightful read. I live about an hour away from SF and I can see myself reading this book and then taking numerous trips up there to explore!

  4. @Sam - I quite enjoyed it and would recommend it!

    @Ashley - Cricket is definitely superior to Etienne... but I loved Anna! And Paris. I don't have a third favorite city unless maybe Boise, which isn't too exciting... but I might be moving to Phoenix so we'll see if that becomes a favorite.

    @Jennifer - Yes, you said it perfectly -- she totally gets the feel of the city. I am jealous that you live so close to San Francisco! I will be in Modesto over the break and I can't wait to visit San Franciso. :)


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