Review: Lola And The Boy Next Door

lola  Title: Lola And The Boy Next Door

  Author: Stephanie Perkins

  Release Date: September 29, 2011

  Publisher: Dutton Books

  Description: 338 pages, Young Adult Contemporary

synopsis

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.

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Out Of Darkness And Into The Sun

Contrary to my earlier belief that this book would remain subordinate to its critically acclaimed predecessor, I found myself relishing in this one more than I did the first. Not only did it gain ground in terms of the synergy between the central characters, but it thoroughly impressed me with the alluring plot and the consistent pacing. Suffice it to say, my curiosity for each passing milestone and predicament skyrocketed as I progressed through successive chapters. Despite the fact that I found it hard-won to relate to Lola’s obsession over ribbons, laces, false eyelashes, and anything out of the ordinary (and still harder to sympathize with her in lieu of her hot rocker boyfriend, loving parents, and aptitude towards dress work), I found her realistic and unfeigned, at least in terms of her clashing feelings towards her equally inventive first love. The book itself was a notably exciting read, featuring an abundance of shocking revelations, unpredictable outcomes and ardent spectacles that left me wanting more even after the inexorable, yet disparaging flips over the last few pages. And in a superfluous attempt to coerce you into reading this one if you already haven’t, I do believe that with a title as electrifying and rip-roaring as this one you can never really expect to go wrong.

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The Girl Who Talked To The Moon

Lola herself was the most authentic and relatable character I’ve had the almost evanescent joy to come across in a deep stretch of time. Notwithstanding the fact that she constantly second-guessed herself and found it hard to reconcile her feelings for same boy next door, I could see myself in her and in her endeavors, and as such understood what it was that she had to go through. Lola was far from the perfect heroine, because of her alacrity towards embracing depression and the fact that she constantly succumbed to defeat. In defiance of this, however, I was able to overcome that particular notion and instead realize that I would have done much the same, were I in continual uproar against my bitterest enemy (which in fact, would have to be myself). In contrast to the toxicity of Anna and Etienne’s previous relationship, Lola’s friendship with Cricket felt more deep-seated, and sterling, if I do say so myself. Her boyfriend Max seemed to me the only character that I could hardly stomach, because he felt bogus, domineering, and outrageously schizophrenic– he was sweet one second, and completely insufferable the next. Despite this, I loved how Lola treated their delicate relationship with utmost care and consternation, withholding information from him if only to avoid his inevitable hurt. Even in the face of rashness and indecision, I adored how the story progressed, and presented me with a chain of events that unfolded through the point of view of a character whose perfection lay in the fact that she simply wasn’t.

At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he’d wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who’d turned on the floodlights.

The boy did. By thinking about the girl.

 

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Love and Legacy

Cricket was a different story altogether. As opposed to Etienne, who was gorgeous in that he practically shot arrows through unsuspecting hearts with his lopsided grin and English accent, Cricket Bell was gorgeous in that he was awkward, over-the-top, affectionate and brilliant rolled into one. He wasn’t your typical sex god (and thank goodness), although he was swoon-worthy and provocative simply because of his resplendent personality and uncharted devotion. He genuinely cared for Lola and supported her love for art, respected her taste and the fact that she was single when he left and then not at all when he returned. He used his penchant for invention to help her out, as well as her family and his own, which told me that he wasn’t unnecessarily fixated on a girl that wasn’t his, and was capable of keeping his feelings in check, and his hands to himself for that matter. Not once did he act without careful thought and consideration, and I loved how he could make me fall in love with his simple yet earnest gestures of friendship. Even without the abs and painfully attractive smile, Cricket to me was the perfect love interest mainly because he wasn’t all that perfect either.

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Modern Day Marie Antoinette

Overall, the book was a riveting and heart-rending read, one that unquestionably exceeded my far-reaching expectations. The struggles each character faced were light in comparison yet realistic, and the story itself smoothly transitioned from one turn of events to the next. The characters themselves were charismatic, and the secondary ones– Lindsey, Andy, Nathan, Norah, Calliope and Max– were characters whose personalities and interactions with the main protagonist were explored, and as such did not feel so much like plot devices as they did feel like real people. Though the sequence of events by the end of the book seemed rushed, the conclusion itself was well laid out, and the book remained highly satisfactory, altogether captivating, a roller coaster ride of raw emotion, a tidal wave of struggle and resolution, and a heartbreaking, yet simultaneously romantic account of a girl’s journey towards herself and towards the boy who was her ‘once upon a time’ and who, with a little magic and no lack of self expression, could truly become her forever after.

If you are thence looking for a light read perfect for lazy days or summers, yet one filled with adventure, romance, friendship and reconciliation, I highly suggest giving this book a go (or at least until you’ve read the prequel of course!)

“So do you believe in second chances?” I bite my lip.
“Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right,” he adds.
“If the person is… Lola?”
This time, he holds my gaze. “Only if the other person is Cricket.” 

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5 hearts

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!
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10 thoughts on “Review: Lola And The Boy Next Door

  1. I loved Lola just as much as I did Anna. The scenery in both books makes me fall in love with the story, and the relationships between the characters always have me grinning. I agree that the characters are so real and flawed and complex that it never feels forced.

    I can’t wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After!

    • Me neither! It’s probably the one I’m looking forward to the most, next to Ignite Me and What I Thought Was True, of course! But I really miss Josh from Anna. And I really love Stephanie Perkins’ characters! I’m happy you agree 😉

      • I WANT IGNITE ME NOW. And What I Thought Was True is another pick that I can’t wait for. Isn’t Josh from Anna going to star in Isla and the Happily Ever After? I hope so because I think he is a very interesting character. 🙂

      • Yeah, Josh is probably one of the main reasons why I can’t wait for Isla’s book 😀 And YES for Ignite Me! If that book does not exceed expectations, my heart will seriously be blown to smithereens. So no pressure to Tahereh! XD What I Thought Was true has a pretty confusing synopsis (is the boy’s name really Cassidy? :O) but Huntley Fitz is auto-approved for me now (+ gorgeous cover!!) so this book definitely fits the bill. Cannot wait 😉

  2. Awww I’m smiling like an idiot just from reading this review!!! I need to get my hands on this one… I waited long enough to read Anna – I will not take that long to read Lola’s story! Hit me over the head if you have to, Jasmine 😉

  3. *visual, painless head hitting* READ NOW KAYLA!! Haha XD Oh if you loved Anna, I am positive that you will adore Lola ❤ and now I can't even wait for Isla!! Gahh books are torture sometimes, especially when they're not out yet. But still… you have GOTS to read this one first before you move on to my predicament. (Cricket is motivation. OH YES HE IS)

  4. LOLAAAAAAAAA!! I loved this book so, so very much. Both of them really and I’m sure Isla will be just as fabulous. I think I thought Anna was cuter (although not by much) and I laughed out loud more often, but I liked the story of this one better, I thought it had more depth to it. Great review!

    • HAHA I’m glad you like it (both the review, and the book)! I think I liked Lola more, marginally, but Anna was pretty cool too. I just loved Lola’s chemistry with Cricket way better 😀

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