Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

If you read my review on ANNA and the French Kiss, you would know I basically ate crow and fell head over heels in love with YA Contemporary. I gobbled up Anna and within hours of finishing it, I started LOLA. Before this book the only LOLA I knew was the showgirl referenced in that classic Barry Manilow song. But unlike Anna, I had been to the city of San Francisco, in which the story of LOLA takes place.

Lola is anything but your average teenager. Her wig collection along is impressive. She lives with her two gay dads and her dog in a Victorian house in the Castro District, even better! My cousin took me on an architecture tour of San Francisco when I visited her there and I loved all the varied styles of housing.

Early on in the novel, I really liked Max, Lola’s bad boy rocker boyfriend. I thought he had a vibe that made him stand out from the usual bad boy and made him more mature and endearing, considering the fact that he endured Sunday Brunch so he could be with Lola. Later on in the novel…let’s just say Max and I had a falling out.

Then….CRICKET BELL enters. I didn’t think much of Cricket at first, but I became quickly enamored with him. His lankiness, his geekiness. His rubber bracelets and his tinkering hands, always building and inventing.The heartbreak Lola suffered by Cricket intrigued me and I really wanted to understand the devastation she felt and why. And then they start to talk again….wow. Cricket was such a fresh contrast to the harsh Max. He is like that old reliable sweater you thought you outgrew but it looks even better on the second go-around. My heart melted as Cricket spoke to Lola at Amoeba Records. Can someone please ask me out in the same manner? Seriously, get a copy of Lola, memorize the passage, dazzle me! I digress.

I loved the fact that we saw Etienne and Anna again as they both go to school in San Francisco now after they graduated from SOAP. Etienne was even funnier in this book, especially with his interactions at the movie theater where Anna and Lola work together. I like Anna as a mentor figure to Lola, despite the two-year(?) age difference between them. I adore Lindsey, Lola’s best friend, she was just as spunky and interesting in her own way as Lola.

Once again Stephanie Perkins provides swoon-worthy romance and an irresistible setting. I also laughed even more during Lola than I did while reading Anna. The part where Cricket Bell accidentally shoots his rubber bracelet at the windshield of Lola’s Dads’ car while going to the forest was the single most hysterical part I have EVER read in a novel. I practically rolled off of my couch I was simultaneously laughing and crying so hard! But then again, I have  twisted sense of humor.

This book met and exceeded my expectations for a companion novel. The only complaint I have is that it was too short. While I think that it had a great stopping point, it left me wanting more. This doesn’t mean I felt dissatisfied, I just wanted even more time with Cricket and Lola.

If you want a book that promises you “the moon and the stars”, and delivers them, please give Lola a chance. You will laugh, cry, and fall in love with Cricket Bell, and it’s worth it! I promise!

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