Stephanie Perkins – Lola and the Boy Next Door
101. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (2011)
Length: 344 pages
Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
Started / Finished: 31 July 2011
Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
Why do I have it? I was thoroughly charmed by Anna and the French Kiss so I definitely wanted to read Perkins’s next book.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 13 July 2011.
My next-door neighbors
were always old ladies; where
was my Cricket Bell?
Summary: Lola Nolan thinks life is going pretty well: supportive family, promising future career as a fashion designer, and a hot older boyfriend who’s in a band. But then her next-door neighbors – the twins Cricket and Calliope – move back home, and suddenly Lola’s life is thrown into turmoil. She’d been friends with Calliope – and maybe more than friends with Cricket – a few years before, but things had ended badly before they’d moved away. Lola had thought she was over it, but now that Cricket’s back in her life, she’s wondering if she might still have feelings for the boy next door… and if she does, what on earth is she going to do about them?
Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door is a quasi-sequel to Anna and the French Kiss (the plots are unrelated, but Anna and Étienne do show up as minor characters), and it’s very much in the same vein: a cute (if somewhat predictable) contemporary teen romance that I devoured in less than 24 hours. It manages to be sweet without being syrupy, and romantic without losing its realism. I didn’t like it quite as much as Anna and the French Kiss – that’s mostly down to Lola, who I found less relatable than Anna; while she was fine as a narrator, I would find her completely insufferable if I had to deal with her in real life – I still had a good time reading it, and was in a good mood by the time I finished.
My only real issue with the book was the same one that I had with Anna and the French Kiss: the unlikeability of the third party in the relationship (Étienne’s girlfriend and Lola’s boyfriend). While everyone who’s ever read a romance knows who the protagonist is going to wind up with by the end of the book (it’s right there in the title!), all the hand-wringing about not wanting to hurt the person they were with at the beginning of the book would have a lot more emotional impact if said person were not an unrepentant asshole. But the love interest is charming, the romance is sweet, the dialogue is well-written, and there are plenty of funny parts, and that’s really about all I can ask for. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Recommended for days when you need a pick-me-up from a cranky mood, or when you need a light break from more serious, heavy fiction.
First Line: I have three simple wishes.
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