LOLA and the BOY NEXT DOOR
Companion Novel to: Anna and the French Kiss
hardcover, 338 pages
Published: September 29th 2011 by Dutton
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.
*Review May Contain Spoilers - Read At Your Own Risk!*
My Review Breakdown:
Story / Plot: 5/5
Total Score: 21/25
Story/Plot: I've written and rewritten this section and I still can't find the right words. So for now I think I'm just going to say that you need to read this book because it's just great. I laughed, I teared up, I wanted to yell and scream and got weird looks when I read it in public, lol.
Characters: I don't even know where to begin. Every character was so individual and quirky!
Lola: Oh, Lola, how I love thee! Lola is truly inspirational. She is fantastic and so comfortable with herself and who she is and what she wants in life. Lola proves that you can have a crazy family, batty friends, and frenemies for neighbors, but you can still come out on top. Lola talks to the moon for advise, and wears wigs and crazy outfits and truly embraces individuality.
Cricket: The boy-next-door science nerd turned swoon-worthy heart throb! I'm not a huge fan of the name but I can over look that! Cricket is such a sweet, gentle character. He loves to help out those he loves, including Lola, and will do absolutely anything for anyone in his life.
Nathan & Andy (and Norah): Lola's gay parents. Lola was adopted by Nathan and Andy after her birth mom, Norah, gave birth to her as a teen mom. Norah is Nathan's sister. They were cute and helped show a good balance between two males in a relationship raising a teenage daughter, as well as the relationship between birth mom and daughter when there has been estrangement between the two for seventeen years.
Max: I hated Max, but understand the appeal to Lola. Who hasn't at one point had a crush on the uber-rock star-bad boy type? Hello, we all have! He sports tatts, drinks, smokes pot, and plays in a band. Oh yeah, and he's five years older than Lola, and lives with a roommate. I didn't get the skeezy pedophile vibe that others on Goodreads have mentioned. In my opinion 17 and 22 aren't that big of a difference, and Max, at one point, tries to appease Lola's parents by doing a weekly Sunday brunch with them. But the way he treats Lola when she goes back to his apartment to apologize? Not cool man, not cool.
Anna & Etienne St. Clair: I loved Anna and the French Kiss but in Lola and the Boy Next Door they just plain flat out annoyed the *bleep* out of me. Oh we are just so perfect, and so in love, and are so co-dependent on one another that we can't even spend two minutes apart! Um, yeah, not digging it.
Writing: Perkins melts my heart, she truly does! Her writing is fantastic. It never feels forced or out of touch, and it is very quickly paced and engaging. I can't think of any parts where I really wasn't into the book, and couldn't find any scenes that the writing failed at. She handles scenes with grace and force, and it's so easy to picture myself back in my seventeen-year-old shoes! Perkins writing portrays real-life scenarios, and she handles them perfectly. Her characterizations make you feel like you live in Lola's world, like you know all of these people personally, and her visualizations are wonderful as well.
Ending: The thing with Perkins is that she will give her characters their "happily ever after" but you better believe that they're going to work for it! After all the crud Lola dealt with throughout the book, she lived, she learned, and she got the prince in the end. It wraps up neatly and perfectly which is Perkins style.
Cover: The cover is very simple but captures so much. Lola and Cricket can look through their bedroom windows into the others bedroom. Therefore finding Cricket and Lola on the cover sitting in a window makes perfect sense! Lola's wearing a wig and costume jewelry but in the book she wears much more crazy and outlandish outfits so the one on the cover seems pretty demure for her; and Cricket with his rubber bands and bracelets and marker drawn on his hand.
"I know you aren't perfect. But it's a person's imperfections that make them perfect for someone else."
"Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring."
I smile. "You don't think I'm perfect?"
"No. You're delightfully screwy, and I wouldn't have you any other way."
"And if I'm the stars, Cricket Bell is the entire galaxies."
"And I hold my head high toward my big entrance, hand in hand with the boy who gave me the moon and the stars."
"And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated."
Final Thoughts: I want to go back eleven years, become 17 again - and be Lola for day! Really, I do! Perkins has created this amazing character in Lola, someone who falls down but picks herself right back up, brushes herself off, and continues on conquering the world in her costumed-fabulous way! Lola inspires you to follow your heart and dreams, and to be whoever you want, because the real you is perfect just the way you are!