For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ARC Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, 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 move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - 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. (YA - 14 and up)

Prelude to a review: I was discussing on Twitter how it's often harder to write a review for a book you LOVE LOVE LOVE. @MarcellineCazz responded by saying "Cuz you want to share EVERYthing, but don't want to spoil ANYthing, and you want EVERYONE to read it, so you don't know WHAT to say!"

Perfect - just perfect. that's exactly how I felt when trying to write this review. I wanted to say it's so great when Lola _______, or ZOMG didn't you just fall in love with Cricket when he _______? There are so many quotable lines in this book I could get sued for plagiarizing or something if I reprinted them all. 

So what follows is my woefully inadequate review of Lola. It's wonderful. Pre-order it. Grab a cupcake and sit back and fall in love with Lola.....

*Note: Yes, I am aware I am doing the thing I hate most. Overhyping a book. Can't help it - I love it.

Lola! I love L-o-l-a Lola, lo-lo-lo-lo Lola! Or more precisely I love the "boy next door" but we'll get back to him in a minute (swoon)

In the companion novel to the wildly romantic and successful Anna and the French Kiss, author Stephanie Perkins introduces us to Lola, She comes on a little strong at first and while I liked her, I didn't love her immediately. She's very dramatic and quirky with a definite style of her own. Lola's motto is: "I don't believe in fashion. I believe in costume", But she's a good girl…mostly. She doesn't smoke or drink but she does have a much older boyfriend Max that her best friend and family don't approve of since Lola is 17 and Max is 22.

At first the book seemed to try a tad too hard at being topical and politically correct but once Perkins introduces everyone things settle in and the story starts to flow.

Stephanie Perkins is a master at writing the teenage experience in an honest way. We know that Max isn't right for Lola and that the age difference is an issue but we can also see where Lola is coming from. Max isn't written as a throw away villain of a boyfriend. He actually seems pretty nice (at first). We slowly start to see the chinks in Max's armor as the story progresses, just as Lola does. Max and Lola aren't cut and dry. They are both damaged by past parental experiences and I could understand their draw to each other just as well as I could see the damage they would cause to each other in the future. They have an intense, unhealthy relationship.

Then in walks Cricket. I love how Cricket "takes up space with his energy, with an enthusiasm he can't quite control." He doesn't walk in, he bounds in. He doesn't glance at Lola, he turns and faces his whole body to her before he speaks. He has a "difficult equation face". He's shy and holds his feelings close but when he reveals them it all comes tumbling out inonebigsentence! He's nerdy, he's cute, he's smart and I'm totally, TOTALLY in love with Cricket Bell!

For fans of Anna and the French Kiss you're in for a treat. They are both present in Lola. Not just as a quickie - oh look Anna & St. Clair! They play an integral part to Lola and Cricket's story which I love.

Reading Lola made me feel like I was surrounded by a million happy things..…cupcakes and puppies and kittens and rainbow's and balloons! I read it three times before I had to pass it on to the next person. I almost cried….I did not want to let my precious….I mean … friend Lena's book go. I have a copy on pre-order because this ones a keeper!

Favorite scene: "naked tiger woman" - Read the book and get back to me. That whole section is one of my all time favorites of any book.

Rating: 4 out of 4 Hands down my favorite book of the year.

Find Stephanie Perkins: Website, Blog, Twitter

Source: The AWESOME, fantablulous & did I mention AWESOME? Lena Beana from Addicted 2 Novels (thank you so much for bringing reading joy into my life!)


  1. Great review and um thanks for sharing it with me. I truley enjoyed seeing Anna and St. Clair and Cricket. wow he is a good boy.

  2. I can't wait to read this one! I just finished reading Anna and the French Kiss this weekend, and absolutely LOVED it!!

  3. OMG. Is this out or did you just get lucky and get an early copy. I'm soooo jealous. Off to Amazon with my fingers crossed so I can get a copy!

  4. OMG!!! Karen, I must read this NOW!!! it's on my to buy list :)

  5. As Keanu Reeves would say, "Whoa!"

  6. It looks like Stephanie Perkins has done it again. I'm so excited for this book!

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  8. I can't WAIT to read this one! I'm glad you really liked it. And it's okay to over hype a book if it really deserves it.

    - Amanda

  9. ah I knew you were going to kill me with this review. Sounds even better than Anna...hmmm interesting. I hope I get the chance to read it.

    "Reading Lola made me feel like I was surrounded by a million happy things..…cupcakes and puppies and kittens and rainbow's and balloons!" LOL looove it!

  10. @Lynette - I got VERY lucky! A friend got the ARC and let me borrow it. Lola comes out September 29th.

  11. Wow, you really sold me. Might make a nice change from all the horror I've been reading lately.

  12. Fantabulous review as always!

    <3 Cricket <3 AND I LOOOOOVE the Naked Tiger Woman scene.

    BTW, AWWWW, thanks for your sweet words!!! *TEAR*

  13. Umm, I SO love this review! :P I just read this the other day & had to reread my favorite parts before mailing it one. :)

  14. @ Thanks everyone! I really loved Lola.....really.....really loved.

  15. New follower!!

    OMG!! I have never looked forward to a book SO much! I feel like a giddy teen (never under estimate the power of a swoon) I LOVED Anna, it made me want to go to the Travel Agent and book a trip to Paris. I am super excited because Lola is set in San Fran, and I am going there next year...I am hoping it will evoke the same emotions, Stephanie Perkins is an absolute favourite...Bring on September!

  16. @C.J. - Thanks for following! I have to say the setting didn't play as much as a roll in Lola but I found it enchanting in other ways. I would LOVE to go to San Francisco. Have a wonderful time!