Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publication Date:  July 9, 2013
Publisher:  Dutton
Series:  Anna and the French Kiss #2
Pages:  338
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Synopsis:  Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the 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:  Lola and the Boy Next Door is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss.  The titles may be cheesy, but don't let them fool you.  These books are fun and adorable, the kind you just fly through.

As much as I enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door is much more realistic and relatable.  It is down to earth, while Anna's story leans toward the more whimsical, daydreamy style.  The downside is that, sadly, it is extremely predictable.  You spend a lot of the book waiting for Lola to come to her senses and pick the boy you know she is going to end up with.  Not to mention the endless amounts of clich├ęs.  Now, I'm not one for romance books, but there are other issues thrown in that make it easier to stand, such as Lola's birth mother and some minor confidence issues.    

Lola, first of all, is quirky.  She believes in costume, not clothing, which is extremely entertaining.  I love her spunk, but not her overreactions.  Her immediate response to every situation that does not turn in her favor is to run away and cry, which gets really old, really fast.  In fact, Lola acts pretty young for her age, more like a thirteen year old than a junior in high school.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy her character, but I wish she were a little more mature.  But, in the end, she is a well-rounded and likable character who really accentuated the charisma of this book.     

Cricket Bell is sweet, humble, and an inventor.  My only complaint about him is that he's a little too perfect.  The romance between him and Lola is the cutest thing in the entire world, like rainbows and puppies and tiny animals.

Lola's boyfriend, Max, though, is a different story.  There is a big deal about how he is twenty-two and Lola is seventeen.  Yes, I understand she is underage and all, but five years isn't that huge a difference, and Perkins makes it seem as if Max is a world apart from Lola.  But the thing that bugs me the most is how Max is kind and considerate at the start of the book, only to be suddenly turned into a total jerk in order to make it seem alright that Lola has feelings for Cricket.  I think the whole situation with him could have been handled better.  It just didn't flow naturally the way the rest of the story did.  

The setting is San Francisco.  I've never thought of this city much, but this book has made me want to hop the next plane to California. The city plays a more subtle role in the plot than Paris did in Anna and the French Kiss, but it has a certain energy to it that really matches the characters.  Oh, and there's that thing about how Anna and Etienne being minor characters?  It is really cool to see characters from the previous book involved in Lola's story.  But their constant togetherness comes off as a little odd.  In their own book, they are displayed as being independent, but in Lola and the Boy Next Door, they seem to have become codependent, which is a little regressive, character development wise.

Anyway, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a light and breezy story full of mindless fun.  There's no deeper meaning than being able to experience a charming book, which is great to enjoy once and a while.  

3.5 Keys

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